«We want to fight and we expect to die. There is no other option. A special death unit, the Siriya, will be positioned behind us. They are there to kill anyone who tries to flee.»
Soldat som deserterte fra Saddams republikanergarde i februar og flyktet til kurdisk Nord-Irak, til The Times/Times Online:
Reflecting the delusions and twisted logic of his Baghdad leadership, Akram, 26, depicts a force that doubts the ability of the Americans ever to wage a war, yet is prepared to self-destruct in order to inflict as many casualties on Western forces as possible.
«For 13 years the US has threatened Iraq with an attack,» he snorts. «Each time they hold back. Most of the US speeches are lies. We have our weapons and they know this and fear us. And what about Israel? If attacked, Saddam can hit them with missiles and kill so many.»
Time and time again during his three-hour interview with The Times, his language spins into an anti-American rant in which he extols the virtue of his abandoned Guard division: more the mark of an indoctrinated soldier than a Kurdish propaganda «plant».
According to Akram, the fighting spirit of the Republican Guard is 2_kommentartained through a mix of religious and political indoctrination, perks and fear. The average Guard soldier receives 11,000 dinars month — 4,000 more than a conscript — plus privileged accommodation and rations.
«Most of the soldiers are Shia Arabs,» he says. «They don’t like Saddam but most don’t hate him. They are happy to spend their lives in the Republican Guard with Saddam in power. If they die in battle with America they are told they will become martyrs. Our officers tell us that if America invades we will be their slaves. They will shame us with the rape of our women. We have many lectures on this. Sometimes one a month, sometimes several each week.»