Skip to comments.Iraq Guerrillas [Syrians] Target 'Traitors' Working for U.S.
Posted on 08/21/2003 1:45:41 PM PDT by TastyManatees
Iraq Guerrillas Target 'Traitors' Working for U.S.
Thu August 21, 2003 05:01 AM ET
By Andrew Cawthorne TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - Guerrillas followed an Iraqi translator home and put a bullet through his head because he worked for U.S. occupiers, the American army said on Thursday.
The killers left a note by the corpse threatening to attack more Iraqi "collaborators" after Tuesday's killing near the town of Samarra, north of the capital Baghdad.
"This was cold-blooded execution. They view all these Iraqis working with us as traitors," said Major Bryan Luke of the U.S. army's 4th Infantry Division.
Iraqi guerrillas have killed 62 U.S. soldiers since major hostilities were declared over on May 1, but are also targeting locals working with the 132,000 American troops here.
Translators are particularly at risk because they are often helping the U.S. soldiers with intelligence about supporters of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
In Tuesday's attack, some half a dozen men followed the interpreter in a car on his way home near Samarra, opening fire into his vehicle from behind with a machinegun, Luke said.
"After stopping his car, they walked up and put a bullet in the back of his head with a note saying 'We are going to kill collaborators'," he added at 4th division headquarters in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown north of Samarra.
The Iraqi was the third interpreter to die since July in five deliberate attacks on locals working with Americans in the three provinces the 4th Infantry Division controls north of Baghdad, Luke said.
"There are increasing attacks on their own people," he said.
Although there are no comprehensive figures available, some murders of translators and other Iraqi workers have been reported elsewhere in the country.
The reconstructed Iraqi police force is also a target as it works under American supervision. In Ramadi near Baghdad, seven policemen died in a bomb attack in July.
Luke said the Iraqi interpreter killed on Tuesday was the son of a local Sunni Muslim sheikh who had been helping the Americans on security matters.
SHAME AND DISTRUST
"This guy knew the risks but thought he was protected because of his father. He used to go downtown by himself, hang out, talk to people, basically leave himself exposed."
The risk to Iraqis working with the Americans is particularly high around Tikrit, a bedrock of support for Saddam during his rule and now a focus of resistance.
About 100 Iraqis work at the 4th division's base, some translating for U.S. soldiers, others helping with construction work, clearing rubble or installing air-conditioning.
The Iraqis are carefully screened before being allowed to work at the base, but the American soldiers remain suspicious of possible infiltrators and guard them closely.
"We know they don't trust us completely," one Iraqi translator told Reuters, on condition of anonymity. "We face shame among our own people for collaborating with the invaders and suspicion from the Americans that we are Saddam's spies."
The translator said he wanted to help reconstruct a new Iraq, free of Saddam's men, but added: "They pay us real good, compared to what I used to get." The U.S. military offers some Iraqi workers protection." We give them weapons and escorts sometimes," Luke said.
Military officers attended the wake of the interpreter killed near Samarra "to show our respects in accord with local customs," he added.
This action challenges a.) our ability to protect Iraqi innocents and b.) the commitment Iraqis have to protecting themselves.
Arm the "moderates"...