- BAGHDAD -- What is the difference
between most government buildings in Baghdad and the Ministry of Oil?
- All but the Oil Ministry have been looted, burned or
destroyed in the past weeks.
- Most other public buildings are unguarded but the huge
Oil Ministry headquarters on Palestine St has been ringed by more than
70 US troops.
- A dozen armoured personnel carriers guard the site.
- That glaring contrast has convinced many angry Iraqis
that Washington's invasion was motivated by its own interests and the state
of international oil markets rather than its professed concern for the
- Iraqis had long been told by Saddam's regime that any
US invasion of Iraq would be motivated by oil, and the special protection
of the Ministry of Oil has become a public relations disaster.
- Growing scepticism about US motives is now the greatest
threat to its chances of installing a new Iraqi government with popular
- Middle-class Iraqis have complained bitterly over the
past week that the looting of ministry buildings will have to be paid for
- Muslims have been deeply offended by the failure of US
troops to protect mosques like the 1200-year-old Abu Hanifa Mosque which
had its cherished clock tower blasted in a US attack.
- People only have to use their eyes to see what the Americans
are really interested in, Hayder Daoud Salman said yesterday.
- "Everyone is looking around at what the Americans
are protecting and what they are leaving to the Ali Babas [looters] and
knowing why they came here," he said.
- > Salman, a television repairman, was working yesterday
as a spokesman for armed Shi'ite Muslims protecting the Kindi Hospital.
- "I think it is a message that their only interest
is oil," he said.
- But Major Paul Kanopka yesterday said the US military
had no regrets about its handling of law and order.
- © Mirror Australian Telegraph Publications