Straggling refugees report electricity, water virtually gone in Iraq, Kuwait WAR IN THE GULF


RUWEISHID, Jordan -- Refugees from Iraq who trickled into eastern Jordan over the weekend reported that the allies' accelerated bombing campaign in Iraq and Kuwait had stripped many cities and towns to the bare bones, with electrical and water supplies often completely cut and food becoming increasingly expensive.

Some Jordanians, straggling home after years of working in Kuwait, said they had finally chosen to leave because the experience of daily life had become more than they could tolerate.

"We had hopes that it would all be over soon," said Mohammed Abdul Rashid, who had lived in Kuwait for 30 years and worked for the Ministry of Public Works. "I honestly did not think it would get this bad."

But he and other refugees insisted that Washington was miscalculatingif it thought deepening hardship alone would force Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait.

Despite U.S. assertions that Iraqi morale was sinking, the refugees said that spirits remained high and that anger against the United States was nearly universal.

"They are very angry at Bush because he is leading this attack," said Jhasoun Rami, a Jordanian who was a journalist in Kuwait. "Their morale is good. They believe that God will make them win."

But one high school student said that some Iraqis watching their country being destroyed were blaming Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as much as they were blaming President Bush.

"They're angry at both of them," said Mahmoud Ali. "They say that both are guilty of doing this."

Continued bombing along the main highway between Baghdad and the border, as well as rising gasoline prices in Iraq, have made it a perilous, expensive journey relatively few are eager to make.

By now, one Jordanian truck driver said, the roads between Baghdad and Kuwait are all but impassable because of repeated bombing runs.

The driver, Ahmed Afshar, was trying to reach Kuwait to pick up household belongings of Jordanians who were looking to flee, but he turned back. There was no electricity or running water anywhere, including Baghdad, Mr. Afshar said.

"Many people now are more afraid of the road than staying where they are," he said. "They say that going on the road is the same as going to your death."

Although U.S. officials say their pilots are going after military targets when they strafe the roads, refugees say they have seen nothing on the highway that strikes them as of a military nature.

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