Peacekeeping: July 17, 2003


U.S. Marines in Iraq were assigned to pacify towns near the Iranian border after the fighting stopped in May. They soon noticed Iranians organizing and leading demonstrations against the Marines. The Marine commander hired Iraqis as security guards, specifically to keep the Iranians away from the Marines. This was no problem for the Iraqis, who, in general, don't like Iranians (because so many Iraqi families lost at least one member during the war with Iran in the 1980s.) But the Iranians stayed around, and appeared to be armed and ready to fight if the Marines tried to run them out of town. So the Marine commanders had heavily armed patrols move past the compound where the Iranians were staying. The patrols operated 24 hours a day, and at night made enough noise to awaken the, by now, nervous Iranians. After a week of not much sleep, the Iranians left town without a fight when the Marines broke into their compound.


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