Misreporting Of Iraq War By Western Media

Posted in | 06-04-2003 | 4481 viewed | Category: () | comments:(6 )

NEW DELHI (ANI) -- Dr. Waiel S.H. Awwad, a Syrian war correspondent who went missing in Iraq, said on Friday
the most difficult job for the coalition troops will be to win the trust of Iraqi people once Baghdad falls. New Delhi-based Awwad, reporting for Al Arabiya television, a part of Middle East Broadcasting Corporation, went missing along with two crew members in Iraq on March 22 until he contacted home last Sunday.

Awwad and his crew were ambushed on the third day of coalition attacks as they were proceeding to Zuber,
20 kms north of Basra, to talk to Iraqis in the town, which the British claimed had been "liberated".
Recounting his nine-day ordeal, Awwad, who was embedded with a US maintenance division, said it was
the mere "presence of mind" which saved him from the jaws of death.

"You know, it became a capture, a big capture like they thought we are really Americans. And they started
shouting slogans, firing in the air, "Saddam Zindabad, Saddam, Saddam". I said fine, we took the (video)
shots, we took everything. Then they said no, you have to come with us to the Ba\'ath headquarters in Zuber
and there in the Ba\'ath headquarters, we were interrogated, we were asked why we came with the
Americans? You are not supposed to be a part of the Americans, these are the invaders and all sort of
things," Awwad said.

Awwad said coalition troops made long claims in the initial days of war and the unexpected resistance by
the Iraqis was often misreported in the western media. The Arabic-speaking journalist said they could have
been branded "traitors" and killed for being embedded with the "enemy" but he was smuggled out by a
compassionate tribal leader, who was also a member of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein\'s ruling Ba\'ath
party. "There are bad people in Iraq and there are good people in Iraq.

That is the story which nobody believes. And while we were there more than 20 British soldiers were killed
in Zuber when the British were only admitting two soldiers were killed. When I saw it with my own eyes,
three tanks were blown (up), three vehicles were blown (up) and six Prisoners of War were caught. Now who
could give such facts from the ground if we were not there," he said.

Awwad said he witnessed a zealous fighting spirit among Iraqis during his accidental reporting from both
sides of the war. He said the Iraqi people did not approve of Saddam\'s regime but for most of those
fighting coalition forces, it was a choice etween "the lesser of the two evils".

"The Iraqi people have suffered at the hands of Saddam Hussein, I tell you (there is) no doubt about it and I
am sure there will be lots of stories coming after the war (is) over because people will come forward and
tell you, Yes, we did this and that but Iraqi people also learnt from the Britishers, the Britishers were
not a good colonial power in Iraq and they have suffered enough on their hands. So they have to choose
between the two devils and they prefer Saddam Hussein.
They said, Saddam Hussain, we know him for 30 years, we suffered at his hands but these are colonial
powers, they have some reasons to come and take oil.
So the genuine fighting among the people comprised more than a regular army," Awwad said.

He said even the common Iraqis fought coalition troops, some out of fear of Ba\'ath party\'s informers
which happened to be even in their families, and others for gaining "rewards" proportionate to enemy\'s

Awwad, who also reported from Afghanistan during the war on Taliban and al Qaeda, said unceasing
bombardment of Baghdad a nd other pockets of resistance could lead to dislocation of civilian
population and also harm the goodwill the coalition troops hope to win over.

"I believe the human catastrophe has now been set up in this area, Why? While we were in jail, we were
detained in a house, the way the bombardment was taking place, so much devastating that even (at) the
place we were sitting, we were so scared that we might die because of the shaking of the place. I know it
from Afghanistan when the B-52s used to come and bomb, the whole ground shook under our feet. So the psycho
war on the Iraqi people was so much and there is influx of refugees going out of Iraq now, out of
Basra, out of Zuber. People saying, OK fine you took our president, we don\'t want him but why you make us
look so demoralised, so much we are sitting here, why?
Now I believe if the Britishers are not in a position to regain the confidence of the Iraqis, there will be
more casualties to come," he said. wwad hoped the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq would set in
motion a new era of development for the Iraqi people, among the most educated and innovative in the Arab

Added By : Dr. Waiel Awwad

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