IRAQ UPDATE: May 11, 2003 10pm/2 pm EDT


May 12, 2003
IRAQ UPDATE: May 11, 2003 10pm/2 pm EDT

As reported to Doug Pritchard

Jerry Levin reported that he and Sis had arrived safely in Amman, Jordan,
and plan to leave for home on May 16. The trip from Baghdad was uneventful.
Most war wreckage has been removed from the highway and some gasoline
stations are open. Jordanian authorities searched them very thoroughly for
war souvenirs, military and otherwise.

He said that some UN staff have arrived in Baghdad and have scheduled a
first briefing for May 13. Looting continues and is audacious. Stolen goods
are sold openly on the streets, including UN vehicles. Schools continue to
open but girls in particular are reluctant to attend because of security
concerns. A shortage of perishable medical supplies continues. Squatting is
an increasing problem. Tempers flare frequently on the streets and
especially in the very long line-ups for the limited gasoline available.
Shooting incidents continue.

There are daily protests over the U.S. occupiers' hiring of former Baathists
for high government positions. Frustration is growing. People believe that
freedom of speech means little if no one listens.

Jerry was told that Saddam Hussein had accepted and subsidized 100,000
Palestinian refugees, and had evicted Iraqis from their homes to accommodate
them. Now those Iraqis are evicting the Palestinians, who have become
homeless as well as stateless.

U.S. Major Coleman of the Civilian & Military Control Centre did not reply
to the team's written questions by May 8 as he had promised. He referred
the team to the new Humanitarian Assistance Control Centre and promised the
answers "soon."

Lisa Martens and Stewart Vriesinga arrived back in Baghdad from Basrah