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No guarantees

"No guarantees" Continued...

Issue: "Lord of the Rings," Dec. 20, 2003

Nevertheless, residents here believe they are safer than they were a few months ago, and certainly than they were under Saddam. "In the small towns there is already more control. Baghdad is bigger and has more immigrants, it is more insecure," said Mr. Almashmos. Like most Iraqis WORLD interviewed, he believes bombings are coming from foreigners with ties to al-Qaeda. "Iraqis don't kill other Iraqis like this," he said. He and others support the aggressive efforts of U.S. forces to go after terror cells.

"Every day you see people going to school and going to the store. They are fighting for their way of life. They are wanting to be normal," said Ghada.

Mr. Yacoub once worked as a teacher and his wife was a dentist. Both also participated in Christian outreach ministries. They were forced to flee to Jordan in 1998. Saddam cracked down on groups suspected of Western ties, and their ministry in Baghdad was specifically targeted. After more than five years in exile, they could have lived on in stable, more prosperous Jordan. But both say they have no regrets about their decision to return this month with their young girls.

Every day Ghada gets a thrill putting local Iraqi cheeses on her table. Relief at resettling in her homeland and once again living across town from relatives overwhelms the frustration of daily shortages and other hardships. "There are so many rumors that are not true," she said. "You can unlock your doors. All day my door stays open, and I can go to the store. It's very safe."

More importantly, even when the lights go out, one thing is guaranteed. The dictator will not be back.

Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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