Thursday, November 09, 2006

Juba....the real Splinter Cell

I remember first reading about Juba in a Guardian article about a year ago and of how, unlike the criminals who target the Iraqi civilians, he insists on only attacking occupation troops in and around Baghdad. This morning in the Independent, Patrick Cockburn and Jerome Taylor wrote an article dedicated entirely to the concept of snipers in Iraq and interestingly the cult of heroism surrounding the sniper. Central to this article is Juba, and he seems to have come a long way with regards to resisting the occupation of his country. Above the raging streets of Baghdad, another type of battle is fought in the shadows, and it looks like the American's are losing that one too. Juba has become almost iconic within circles in Iraq, especially with regards to his refusal to target the innocent civilians. Incidentally, the Independent points out that his actions could endanger the very civilians he has promised to protect:

"It has long been evident that US snipers have been picking off people who use their mobile phones close to a US position and are suspected of planning to detonate a bomb.
I myself once stopped my car to use a satellite phone on an apparently empty road north from Baghdad when a single shot rang out and a bullet hit the road just in front of us. Looking around I saw it had come from a US position 800 yards away that I had not noticed."

The sniper has long been a hero in US popular culture, and there are many Hollywood films, video games and books regarding the subject which portray a grisled, tough US soldier taking out the "evil" target. Juba is iconic because he has put the Americans in his sights and not the other way around. The last paragraph sums it up quite nicely I think.

"The cult of the sniper is captured in the motto "one shot - one kill". The phrase perfectly captures the accuracy, patience and the ice-cold killer's instinct needed for the job. But the table has been turned in Iraq, as Juba's videos reveal."

Somehow I doubt Tom Clancy will like Juba very much.

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