Sanctuary Under Siege

In the timeless mazes along the Tigris and Euphrates, Shi'ites are waging a desperate battle against Iraqi tanks, shells and the threat of fire

Each morning the Iraqi artillery begin to find their targets. Deep in the standing reeds where the gunners cannot easily find them, black-robed women tend their children and few remaining buffalo in tiny makeshift clearings, while men, armed with old AK-47 assault rifles, crouch in hidden blinds along the waterways, waiting for Iraqi patrols. Only at nightfall, when the government troops return to their bases, can the men creep back to their families to sleep.

Saddam Hussein's writ does not extend over the 6,800 sq. mi. of marsh that covers southern Iraq. There Shi'ite army deserters and Marsh Arabs who rose...

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