Professor has personal reason to follow war

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(Host) One University of Vermont professor has a very personal reason for following the war in Iraq and it’s effect on the Iraqi people.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) Iraqi-born Abbas Alnasrawi is a professor emeritus at UVM. He left Iraq after college in the 1960s and hasn’t been back for more than twenty years. But Alnasrawi has many relatives still living in Iraq, including several in Baghdad. Now that city has come under bombardment from U.S. led forces, Alnasrawi is anxiously following the news. He says he last spoke with his relatives a month ago. At the time, their attitude toward the impending war was one of resignation.

(Alnasrawi) “Their response was, ‘we leave it in the hands of God. People in Iraq are caught between the government, which is merciless, and between the bombing.”

(Zind) Alnasrawi says mixed with concern for his family is a sense of dread about the future of Iraq. He says after years of oppression by Saddam Hussein’s Ba ath Party, Kurds of Northern Iraq and Shia Muslim’s in the south may seek revenge.

(Alnasrawi) “The Iraqi people have been under the boot of Saddam for thirty years and my hope is that the war that we are waging now, will not lead to a civil war after the war has stopped.”

(Zind) Alnasrawi says while the Iraqi people will be glad to see Saddam go, they don’t want U.S. forces to stay long. He opposes the war because he believes UN weapons inspections had the effect of weakening the government. Eventually, Alnasrawi says, Saddam would have been overthrown.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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