Dec 25, 1990 STANDOFF IN THE GULF; Iraqi Diplomats Fly Back for Quick Talks
President Saddam Hussein has until January 15th to meet a UN deadline for the unconditional Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. The Christians in Iraq are not hopeful, and are having a dreary Christmas. Christians make up 1 million of the 17 million people in Iraq. They are not spending money on frivolous Christmas gifts, but they are lining up to buy Christmas trees on Christmas Eve. Hussein says that his first target will be Tel Aviv. The effects of the US embargo is having a huge effect on the poor. There is a chlorine shortage to put in the water, so children are drinking impure water and getting sick. Iraq says 2000 children have died as a result of a lack of medical supplies and clean water. The US disputes this. North Korea, which used to be Iraq’s enemy, is talking about sending military aid. Russia, on the hand, is moving its military advisors out of Iraq.
But by all accounts, the capital’s merchants did not fare well with holiday shoppers, who limited their purchases to essential items. Many Christmas trees were left standing at the end of the day.
“People are not spending their money, and they’re staying in their homes,” said a woman from a prominent Baghdad family. “Last night we had a blackout. How do you think that makes you feel at Christmas?”
Meanwhile, 300,000 American troops are gathering in Saudi Arabia. Bob Hope, Aaron Tippin, Johnny Bench, the Pointer Sisters, and Marie Osmond are the Christmas entertainment – but first their show has to pass Saudi Arabian religious censors. There will be two religious services for the soldiers – a protestant one and a catholic one. There is also a Christmas Eve Bible Study. Worship must be discreet so as not to offend Saudi Arabia religious leaders. The Pentagon refuses any press coverage of these religious services. Christmas evening troop entertainment includes a showing of the movie “Born on the Fourth of July”.
December 25, 1997
Eight years of economic sanctions are taking a huge toll on the Baghdad Christmas. Christmas cards are now considered a luxury item. Large pictures of Saddam Hussein are ubiquitous. Alcohol in public places has been banned since 1993. Some Christians have left Iraq so they won’t have to endure uncertainties of life under the sanctions. Most businesses and banks are staying open on Christmas day and Christmas celebration is much more limited than before the war. The minority Christians are still giving small gifts to their children on Christmas.
December 25, 1998 – It’s no life in Baghdad, women say.
Massive inflation caused by US economic sanctions have caused woman’s working income to be about $2 a month. They work just to get out of the house, and not for the money. Women have suffered the most from the sanctions. Working is about the only legally acceptable way that women can show their face in public so they are willing to work for almost nothing.
December 15, 1999 Next Steps in Iraq Unsigned editorial
Iraq must let the UN inspect and monitor its weapon arsenals to make sure that Iraq is not building chemical, biological and nuclear arms. The United States must let the UN carry out these inspections, and it should also suspend some sanctions before the inspections to show good faith.
December 25, 2002
President Saddam Hussein uses a speech of holiday greetings to the Christian minority to denounce the United States. The UN is working on Christmas day inspecting Iraq’s weapons. Hussein refers to the peaceful teachings of Jesus in this speech against the United States.
December 25, 2003
Guerrilla fighters bomb Bagdad on Christmas eve and Christmas day, including the American compound at the old Republican Palace and the Sheraton hotel. 4 GIs and 6 Iraqi Civilians are killed. Christians move Christmas mass from midnight to late Christmas afternoon for safety reasons. Children died in the fighting on Christmas day in 2003.
”Our wardrobes shook and the children started screaming,” said Hussein Satar Jabar, 17, who lives next to the landfill. ”If the resistance fighters or the soldiers would come to warn us an hour or two before it all starts, we would leave.”
December 25, 2004
Defense Secretary Donald H Rumsfield tells the troops that the United States will prevail over the insurgents while visiting wounded soldiers and rallying the troops on Christmas Eve.
He also went to Falluja, where he told marines who wrested control of the city last month from insurgents that “you folks have made a name for yourselves.”
“The whole world was watching,” he said, “and you did your job.”
The Christmas Services in Baghdad are barely attended. The Christians who do come are very jumpy. Many Christian churches have cancelled their Christmas church services or did them in the day rather than at night. Instead of thousands of people coming, only 50 come. A police car is parked in front, to give the impression of protection. 17 or 18 churches have been bombed since August, and the bombers have not been brought to justice. Christmas trees are barely selling at all.
December 25, 2005
90 candidates are disqualified to run for office in parliament according to an Iraqi court because of their close ties with Saddam Hussein. The United States is holding more prisoners than it can handle. It will not turn them over to the Iraqi jail system.
December 25, 2006
Baghdad roadside attack kills 3 American Soldiers
There are some letters to the editor on how President Bush has utterly failed in both New Orleans and Baghdad and has shamed what was once the “greatest country in the world”. President Bush has failed the neediest this Christmas. The NY Times says that 2006 is marked as the year of deterioration of the situation in Iraq.
The war has degenerated into a civil war.
December 25, 2007
2/3rds of all Christians have fled Baghdad. 120 depressed Christians attend church on Christmas. 400 normally come. The pastor preaches on how they should be glad that Jesus has risen. They sing songs in Aramaic, Jesus’s native language. The pastor asks for an end to the war and an end to the hunger.
December 25, 2008
Things are finally better for the Christians in Iraq! For the first time, Christmas is an official holiday in Iraq.
There are much fewer attacks on civilians than in past years. The Iraqi’s have asked the United States to begin leaving.
Bush and Obama, its time to bring the troops home!