Iraqi Mayor Praised by Bush Flees Iraq
Jon Landay of McClatchy has a depressing catch. The mayor of Tall Afar, Najim al Jabouri, whose bravery President George W. Bush singled out for praise two and a half years ago, has fled Iraq for the United States. Yes, this is supposed to be a time of declining violence in Iraq, but Jabouri’s decision would indicate otherwise.
“There was no other choice,” Jabouri, 52, a retired Iraqi army lieutenant general, said in a recent interview that was translated by his eldest son, Omar, 21. “I had been serving my homeland, the Iraqi people and Iraqi soil my whole life. I decided I had to do something for my own family. I saw that their lives were in great danger.”
Jabouri risked his life for three years working alongside U.S. and Iraqi commanders to maintain communal calm after helping to quell ferocious atrocity-fed fighting between Shiite and Sunni Muslims that was fueled by al Qaida in Iraq.
His decision underscores the fragility of the relative calm that’s settled on Iraq, obscuring the unresolved ethnic and sectarian tensions, political infighting and anger at the U.S. occupation, economic paralysis and continuing terrorism.