What is a soldier's greatest fear

Occupation soldiers in fear

The increasing frequency of attacks on US occupation forces is increasingly worsening the morale of the approximately 150,000 US soldiers stationed in Iraq. Add to this the constant heat and exhaustion for those who have been away from home for months. Living conditions that stir up fear and stress in mostly very young men and women.

The US soldiers are exposed to anonymous dangers that are not recognizable to them, "says Reinhard Mutz, analyzing the situation in Iraq." This in turn increases their nervousness. And their aggressiveness, "continues the director of the Hamburg Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy. Such dangers seem to lurk around every corner: Resistance fighters attack transport vehicles and patrols with grenades or bazookas, a sniper can crouch in every house.

The war is not over

The haphazard US troops barricade themselves in their camps while chaos breaks out outside. Once they venture out, their nerves are so cold that incidents like the one in the Iraqi city of Tikrit occur. According to the local hospital director, US soldiers shot several people in a market on Friday (8/8/2003).

Attack on the Jordanian embassy

Experts see a leap in quality in the challenge against the USA in the recent bomb attack, in which a car bomb in front of the Jordanian embassy left several dead and injured. The attack is seen as proof that the rebels are coordinating their actions and taking the initiative. In particular, the US occupation troops are apparently no longer facing a small, more or less spontaneous resistance struggle, but are in an almost armed conflict.

Occupying powers do not differ

Tension is growing especially in the interior of Iraq, in the region around Baghdad, Tikrit and Fallujah, which is also known as the "Sunni triangle", while there are almost no military casualties in the areas controlled by British occupation forces . "However, this is by no means because the British have more sensitivity in dealing with the population or have been more successful in restoring infrastructures," believes the author and Iraq expert Joachim Guillard.

Even Reinhard Mutz does not attribute the calmer situation in the south to a different way of dealing with the population between the two occupying powers. "The reconstruction efforts of the British and the Americans are no different," says Mutz, "neither in terms of creating political structures nor in restoring technical infrastructure." Mutz attributes the fact that the US troops are comparatively more unsuccessful to the fact that the US occupiers are dealing with the less cooperative part of the Iraqi population.

Political weakness or calm before the storm?

Occupiers in southern Iraq are still uncritical about it

The British occupiers, on the other hand, encounter a population in southern Iraq that is far less critical of the allies than members of the other religious groups. "Ambitions for active political participation at the state level are not as fully developed from the Shiite understanding of religion and the world as is the case, for example, with Kurds and Sunnis," says Reinhard Mutz. In addition, the largest section of the population in the country disagrees about how they envision their political participation in the country.

"However, the situation in southern Iraq could also represent something like the calm before the storm," warns Joachim Guillard. Local authorities, he admits, are currently able to ensure calm in most Shiite areas. "But even here there are already areas that the occupation forces do not dare to venture into, and here too there is a demand for greater political participation by the population." If the occupying powers do not comply with this demand soon, massive resistance could soon form in the Shiite areas as well.