Christian peacemakers leave Iraq

Christian Peacemaker Teams left Iraq yesterday, on the advice of their co-workers in the country. They are currently in Amman, Jordan. In a statement they said that the recent actions by the US and Coalition Forces throughout Iraq and especially in Fallujah had created "widespread suspicion and fear of the intentions of these foreign armies. This suspicion puts all internationals at risk."

Reports from Fallujah indicate that 60% of the fatalities in that city are women and children. The US has bombed one hospital there and confiscated another for use as an emergency command centre for its troops. Coalition Forces are detaining massive numbers of people throughout Iraq and Iraqis are afraid that residents of Najaf will soon experience the same treatment as the residents of Fallujah have.

"CPT's most trusted Iraqi partners have urged the team to leave, saying that the current situation will make it impossible for the team to engage in normal, honest engagements with Iraqis or fulfill their mission to deter violence. They have also suggested that CPT's presence might actually endanger their local Iraqi partners in the emerging violent chaos.

"The team will be watching the situation in Iraq from Amman, where, according to CPT director Gene Stoltzfus, they "will be taking a well-earned rest." CPT has been in Iraq since October, 2002.

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