DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, June 10, 2006
by Steve Bell.
Bring 'em on
: One 101 st Sustainment Brigade Soldier was killed and one was wounded by an improvised explosive device while conducting a combat logistics patrol at about 12:55 a.m. June 9, west of Kirkuk, Iraq. (MNF- Iraq)
Bring 'em on
: Spc. Luis D. Santos, 20, of Rialto, Calif., died in Buritz, Iraq, on June 8, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations. Santos was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo. (DefenseLink)
U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said 39 raids were conducted across Iraq late Thursday and early Friday
, including some directly related to the information they obtained from the strike against al-Zarqawi. Those were in addition to 17 raids carried out immediately after the terror leader was killed. He said at least 24 people had been detained and one person killed in the raids.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A car bomb killed five people and wounded 14 others in central Baghdad
. No other details were immediately available about the blast.
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in an outdoor market in Baghdad on Saturday, killing four people and wounding 27.
The victims were all civilians.
Gunmen in two cars shot to death a metal worker and wounded two others in their shop in western Baghdad.
A mortar landed on a house in the capital, seriously wounding a 50-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl.
Khan Bahi Saad:
Police found the severed heads of two brothers in the small town of Khan Bani Saad near Baquba
, 65 km north of Baghdad. They had been kidnapped from their workplace in Baquba a week ago.
Gunmen ambushed and wounded three civilians in a car 25 km northeast of Kirkuk.
Two civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. patrol in central Kirkuk.
One policeman was wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near his patrol in central Kirkuk.
A civilian in a car was killed when a roadside bomb exploded in the town of Hawija
about 60 km southwest of Kirkuk.
A gunfight broke out between Iraqi soldiers and gunmen in Mosul, killing two people
, including a Syrian truck driver caught in the crossfire.
Gunmen stormed neighbouring butcher shops and shot dead five butchers and wounded one in Mosul.
3 foreign nationals open fire on Iraqi civilians in Tikrit on Friday, 3 Iraqis dead. (Video)
Exterior of the hospital
Shots of bodies on ground
Shots of their relatives, blood on the vehicle, bullets on the ground
Interview with Police official (don't want say his name)(in Arabic)
Shots of their relatives
Shots of woman body on the vehicle, her relatives crying, detailsBaquba:
American troops raided houses in the al-Galibiye district of Baquba killing four civilians and injuring one. (Video)
Shots of bodies on the vehicle
Interiew with Ahmad Jasim (in Arabic)
Interview with Selam Jasim (in Arabic)
Blood on ground, bullets, people crying, details
Interview with Fadima selam (in Arabic)
Interview with Hamid Jasim (in Arabic)
Shots of destroyed vehicle, incident area, details
Interview with Doctor Adnan Jasim (in Arabic)
Shots of destroyed houses, bullets, bodies being taken, people crying
Photo caption: Mourners grieve outside one of the houses in Ghalibiya, 15 kilometers west of Baqouba in Iraq Friday, June 9, 2006 after five civilians were killed and three were wounded in the town Friday, according to the regional joint cooperation center and Dr. Ahmed Rifaat of Baqouba General Hospital, but the circumstances of the incident remained unclear. (AP Photo/Mohammed Adnan)>> NEWS
An Iraqi man who was one of the first people on the scene of the U.S. airstrike targeting Zarqawi said he saw American troops beating a man who had a beard like the al-Qaida leader
: The witness, who lives near the house where al-Zarqawi spent his last days, said he saw the man lying on the ground near an irrigation canal. He was badly wounded but still alive, the man told Associated Press Television News.
U.S. troops arriving on the scene wrapped the man's head in an Arab robe and began beating him, said the local man, who refused to give his name or show his face to the camera. His account could not be independently verified. The U.S. military made no mention of any physical contact between U.S. troops and al-Zarqawi other than an attempt to provide him with medical attention.
Iraq war bill deletes US military base prohibition
: As originally passed by the House of Representatives, the Pentagon would have been prohibited from spending any of the funds for entering into a military basing rights agreement with Iraq.
Senate aides said Republican staffers removed the provisions from the bills before House and Senate negotiators convened this week in a late-night work session to write a compromise spending bill.
Wisconsin Rep. David Obey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, tried to reinsert the language, but it was opposed by Rep. Jim Kolbe, the Arizona Republican responsible for foreign affairs portions of the spending bill.
ISLAM MEMO REPORTS ON RAMADI
(Wednesday June 7, 2006 at night)
" Iraqi sources are anticipating that the attack of the American occupation forces against Ramadi may not materialize after several Sunni officials in the government had issued threats that they will resign from their positions in the government and from parliament if the American attack on Ramadi does take place."
(Friday June 9, 2006, 6 at night)
"American forces, supported by tens of military vehicles and hundreds of soldiers, have joined in the fierce battles that has been raging between Resistance fighters and the occupation forces.
Islam Memo correspondent reported an increase in the intensity of the fighting as American air force jets and helicopters have joined in the fighting.
The correspondent reported that four American military vehicles have been destroyed so far with a number of dead and injured American sildiers. He pointed out that American soldiers have forced their way into many homes and have positioned sniper positions on their roof tops.
The Stadium and Officers districts have witnessed very intense fighting between the Resistance fighters and the occupation forces during the past half an hour."
(Friday June 9, 2006, 7 at night)
" The American occupation forces has called upon the Resistance fighters in Ramadi who are engaging them to drop their weapons and surrender.
Islam memo correspondent reported that giant loudspeakers announced the following: "To all armed men, your Amir has died, and there is no need anymore for you to fight. Therefore, drop your weapons and surrender to the American and Iraqi forces and we promise that we shall not harm you".
The correspondent reported that the response to these American calls was immediate as many mortar and RPG shells started to bombard the occupation forces concentrations in the Stadium district and the Governorate building."
read in full...
AN ARMY WHERE WOUNDED SOLDIERS ARE ON THEIR OWN
Iraqi Army soldier Ali Katham Hussein would have a Purple Heart if he were in the U.S. Army. But he's received no medals for valor. He can't even afford to have the shrapnel and bullet lodged in his chest removed.
Neither can the Iraqi army.
"In Saddam Hussein's time, if you got hurt, you received compensation," he said.
Three months ago, insurgents ambushed Ali Katham Hussein's unit near Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad. Hussein was shot nine times in the attack -- bullets pierced his chest, stomach, arm and leg.
Leaning on a crutch on a dusty, trash-littered Iraqi army base in west Baghdad, he pulled up his shirt to reveal two moist bandages taped to his chest.
"After I got shot, I didn't get treated in a military hospital," he said. "I paid from my own pocket to get treatment."
In fact, there are no Iraqi military hospitals. Like all injured Iraqi soldiers, Hussein had to pay for his own treatment at an Iraqi civilian hospital.
read in full...
SOMETHING OUT OF APOCALYPSE NOW
Civilians who spent time at the Haditha Dam base of the Third Battalion of the First Marines describe the place as something out of Apocalypse Now
or Lord Of The Flies
. It was "feral" one said. Soldiers didn't wash. They had abandoned regulation billets and had built make-shift, primitive huts bearing skull-and-crossbone signs. The place stank. One American civilian engineer attached to the camp, with the task of keeping the huge hydro-electric dam nearby operating, said he was terrified of the soldiers he had to live alongside..
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
DAHR JAMAIL: THE MOTHER OF ALL DISTRACTIONS
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies. -- Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister during World War II
Propaganda is when the Western corporate media tries to influence public opinion in favor of the Iraq War by consistently tampering with truth and distorting reality. It is to be expected. And it is to be recognized for what it is. On occasions when the media does its job responsibly and reports events like the November 19, 2005, Haditha Massacre, it must also be willing and able to anticipate and counter propaganda campaigns that will inevitably follow. It is to be expected that the responsible members of the media fraternity will stick to their guns and not join the propagandists.
This piece is a summary of five most commonly deployed crisis management propaganda tactics which the State and Media combine that we can expect to see in relation to the Haditha Massacre. Listed in a loose chronological order of their deployment, the tactics are: Delay, Distract, Discredit, Spotlight and Scapegoat. Each of the five public relations campaigns will here be discussed in the context of the Haditha Massacre. (...)
(...) the mother of all distractions came on June 8, 2006, in the media spasm over the alleged killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. We can be certain of this week's front page news. The ridiculous thing is that Zarqawi himself is perhaps more a US propaganda and media fabrication more than a real threat to the Iraqi people, let alone the security of the US. The story of Zarqawi served to simplify and put an al-Qaeda face on what is really a much more complicated situation regarding the resistance and rising sectarian tensions in Iraq. Now with Zarqawi's alleged death reported by the US Government, the media is swallowing the state's version of this story whole, despite all the fraud that we've seen in past US propaganda stunts, such as the Jessica Lynch "rescue," the Pat Tillman fabrication, the pulling down of Saddam Hussein's statue in Firdos Square in Baghdad, and even the capture of Hussein himself. Will the death of Zarqawi slow the violent resistance in Iraq? No. Will the death of Zarqawi bring improvement n the electricity, water and medical infrastructure in Iraq? No. Will the death of Zarqawi bring stability and security to the Iraqi people? No. But is the death of Zarqawi a perfect distraction from the Haditha Massacre, total failure of the US occupation of Iraq, and the ongoing US military assault on the city of Ramadi? Absolutely. And his death conveniently distracts the corporate media from reporting that while the Prime Minister of Iraq appointed most of his cabinet last weekend, the position of Vice President Abel Abdul Mahdi, which had been set over a month ago, was the re-appointment of one of the most aggressive supporters of the economic agenda of the Bush administration in Iraq. An agenda which includes the implementation of corporate globalization of Iraq's laws and far, far greater US corporate control of Iraq's oil supply.
read in full...
ROBERT FISK: SO, IT'S ANOTHER "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"
The man immortalised by the Americans as the most dangerous terrorist since the last most dangerous terrorist, is killed - by the Americans. A Jordanian corner-boy who could not even lock and load a machine gun is blown up by the US Air Force - and Messrs Bush and Blair see fit to boast of his demise. To this have our leaders descended. (...)
Yesterday, with an inevitability born of the utterly false promise that the bloodbath in Iraq is yielding dividends, we were supposed to believe that the death of Zarqawi was a famous victory. The American press dusted off their favourite phrase: "terrorist mastermind". No one, I suspect, will be able to claim the $25m on his head - unless he was betrayed by his own hooded gunmen - but the American military, stained by the blood of Haditha, received a ritual pat on the back from the Commander-in-Chief. They had got their man, the instigator of civil war, the flame of sectarian hatred, the head chopper who supposedly murdered Nicholas Berg. Maybe he was all these things. Or maybe not. But it will bring the war no nearer to its end, not because of the inevitable Islamist rhetoric about the "thousand Zarqawis" who will take his place, but because individuals no longer control - if they ever did - the inferno of Iraq. Bin Laden's death would not damage al-Qa'ida now that he - like a nuclear scientist who has built an atom bomb - has created it. Zarqawi's demise - and only al-Qa'ida's killers would have listened to him, not the ex-Iraqi army officers who run the real Iraqi insurgency - will not make an iota of difference to the slaughter in Mesopotamia.
Messrs Bush and Blair slyly admitted as much yesterday when they warned that the insurgency would continue. But this raised another question. Will the eventual departure of Bush and Blair provide an opportunity to end this hell/ disaster? Or have the results of their folly also taken on a life of their own, unstoppable by any political change in Washington or London?
read in full...
So 'Zarqawi' is finally dead. It was an interesting piece of news that greeted us yesterday morning (or was it the day before? I've lost track of time...). I didn't bother with the pictures and film they showed of him because I, personally, have been saturated with images of broken, bleeding bodies.
The reactions have been different. There's a general consensus amongst family and friends that he won't be missed, whoever he is. There is also doubt- who was he really? Did he even exist? Was he truly the huge terror the Americans made him out to be? When did he actually die? People swear he was dead back in 2003... The timing is extremely suspicious: just when people were getting really fed up with the useless Iraqi government, Zarqawi is killed and Maliki is hailed the victorious leader of the occupied world! (And no- Iraqis aren't celebrating in the streets- worries over electricity, water, death squads, tests, corpses and extremists in high places prevail right now.) (...)
How do I feel? To hell with Zarqawi (or Zayrkawi as Bush calls him). He was an American creation- he came along with them- they don't need him anymore, apparently. His influence was greatly exaggerated but he was the justification for every single family they killed through military strikes and troops. It was WMD at first, then it was Saddam, then it was Zarqawi. Who will it be now? Who will be the new excuse for killing and detaining Iraqis? Or is it that an excuse is no longer needed- they have freedom to do what they want. The slaughter in Haditha months ago proved that. "They don't need him anymore," our elderly neighbor waved the news away like he was shooing flies, "They have fifty Zarqawis in government."
So now that Zarqawi is dead, and because according to Bush and our Iraqi puppets he was behind so much of Iraq's misery- things should get better, right? The car bombs should lessen, the ethnic cleansing will come to a halt, military strikes and sieges will die down... That's what we were promised, wasn't it? That sounds good to me. Now- who do they have to kill to stop the Ministry of Interior death squads, and trigger-happy foreign troops?
read in full...
TIME TO DISPEL SOME MYTHS
Zarqawi was not very important in the first place, and hardly represented the majority of the resistance or insurgency. When he arrived in northern Iraq he was a nobody. After the war he descended into Iraq proper and began to organize the disparate foreign fighters who had come to fight with Saddam's army against the American invasion. Shocked by the disappearance of Saddam's army and the easy American victory, these arab fighters from Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, were without leadership, and Zarqawi was a charismatic leader, and fearless, according to all accounts. Although he claimed several significant attacks, such as the United Nations bombing and the assassination of Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq leader Muhamad Bakir al Hakim, Zarqawi and his foreign fighters were a numerically insignificant proportion of the anti American fighters.
It took the United States to make Zarqawi who he became. Intent on denying that there was a popular Iraqi resistance to the American project in Iraq, the Americans blamed every attack on Zarqawi and his foreign fighters, and for a while it seemed every car accident in Baghdad was Zarqawi's fault. The truth was that much of Iraq's Sunni population, alienated by the Americans who removed them from power and targeted them en masse during raids, supported and participated in the anti American resistance. Even many Shias claimed resistance. Muqtada Sadr, the most powerful and popular single individual leader in Iraq, led two "intifadas" against the Americans in the spring and summer of 2004, and his men still rest on their laurels, claiming they too took part in the Mukawama, or resistance. But by blaming Zarqawi for everything the Americans created the myth of Zarqawi and aspiring Jihadis throughout the Arab world ate it up and flocked to join his ranks or at least send money. Zarqawi was the one defying the Americans, something their own weak leaders in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and elsewhere, could not do, having sold out long ago. It was then comical when the Americans released the Zarqawi video out-takes and mocked him for fumbling with a machine gun. Having inflated his reputation they were now trying to deflate it. But it was too late.
read in full...
MCCAIN SIDES WITH AL QAEDA
Well, of course he doesn't, but since the rightwingers don't think the rest of us are celebrating the death of Zarqawi in a manner pleasing to them (never mind that most of the left isn't saying anything much different than Bush himself--this isn't going to stop much), then let's play the same game as them and ask: Why does John McCain offer strategic advice to terrorists? From Larry King, on the significance of Zarqawi's killing:
MCCAIN: I think that it will remove a very important propaganda tool, a person who has probably served as a real effective recruiter. But, Larry, I want to caution if I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks to show that his removal really didn't affect them but it does affect them.link
1/500TH OF A ZARQAWI
Here's how you know the Pentagon was more interested in getting Zarqawi for his symbolic value than it was concerned with wiping out the organization he ran: there was a $25 million bounty on Zarqawi's head, but for Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the Egyptian they think will replace him, just $50,000.
A JOLLY SYMBOLIC DEATH
It's so hard to take Zarqawi's death at face value (yesterday I was muttering to myself that the US had had all these old photos of Zarqawi but had for years been using an artist's rendering which had the eyebrows all wrong) because Zarqawi's been such a convenient tool of Bushite propaganda for so long. Before the invasion, he was the sole piece of "proof" of a Saddam-Al Qaeda nexus, although he was not then connected to Al Qaeda and was operating in Kurdish- rather than Saddam-controlled Iraq, under the protection of the no-fly zone. He was more convenient alive than dead, so he was left to operate his bioweapons lab unmolested. Later, Fallujah was ordered to surrender Zarqawi; he had already fled, and the city was turned into smoking rubble. Then there was the Zawahiri-Zarqawi letter, cited by Bush in speech after speech months after it was discredited as a fake. So you can't help but wonder when the timing of the man's death is so symbolically convenient, as Bush admitted today:
The problem we have in this war is that all they've got to do is kill some innocent people by a car bomb, and it looks like they're winning, see. It takes a major event like an election or the death of Zarqawi to understand that we're making progress.
If it looks like they're winning, it's not because of "a" car bomb, but several hundred car bombs. Zarqawi you can presumably only kill once, so when it's announced on the same day as the cabinet is completed, hopefully obscuring the preceding six months of sordid horse-trading, that's just jolly symbolic. And... convenient.
THAT LITTLE INCIDENT
So does anyone else think that that little incident Sunday when an American howitzer accidentally went off while they were cleaning it, or whatever the story was, and blew up several houses in Hibhib, the place where Zarqawi was just killed, wasn't such an accident?
read in full...
RUMMY BEING MODEST
Rumsfeld: "I think arguably over the last several years, no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men, women and children on his hands than Zarqawi." I assume Rummy is just being modest.
PULLING CORPSES OUT OF THE HAT
"The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date." -- Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military's chief spokesman
There can be no doubt that the 'death' of 'Abu Musab al-Zarqawi' is part of a carefully planned disinformation campaign designed to divert attention away from the slaughter of Haditha (and elsewhere), a campaign that the corporate and state media have gleefully participated in. Indeed, 'al-Zarqawi' is itself a psy-ops programme in its own right, replete with faked letters of authenticity, fed to the press by the US military, which calls into question the source of the Internet videos of beheadings, and who is behind the wave of kidnappings and murders currently sweeping Iraq.
The BBC in particular have had a field day with 'al-Zarqawi' calling him amongst other choice phrases, a "psychopath" and predictably, describing those who question the role (let alone the existence) of 'al-Zarqawi' as "conspiracists" (BBC Radio 4, AM News 9/6/06).
So too with Channel 4 'News'. Jon Snow's email 'news'-letter (8/6/06) had this to say
The bombing and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the point man for al-Qaeda in Iraq, is a dramatic and important moment.
Important? For whom exactly? In what way can the death of the alleged 'al-Zarqawi' be an important moment for the illegal occupation of Iraq? The implication is that with 'al-Zarqawi' out of the way, the resistance to the occupation will, by some process known only to Jon Snow, melt away. Point man? This kind of nonsense is not even worthy of comment.
He's been responsible for the beheading and slaughter of untold numbers of people. He was certainly a Godfather of the Sunni insurgency and specifically of targeted sectarian killings.
Alleged beheading? Godfather? Please Mr. Snow, who writes your abyssmal, infantile copy? The only assertion of 'al-Zarqawi's involvement in beheadings were the deaths of David Berg and Ken Bigley about which there are more questions than answers. Neither beheadings have been proved to be the work of 'al-Zarqawi'. If they have Mr Snow, where is your proof? A video tape of masked individuals? Pu-leese!
read in full...
WHY ZARQAWI WOULD HAVE HAD TATTOOS?
Wayne Madsen writes:
The U.S. military spokesman's revelation that Zarqawi's body was partly identified from tattoos is noteworthy. Abu Abdel-Rahman al-Iraqi, described as the Deputy Emir of Al Qaeda in Iraq on an Al Qaeda web site, stated that Zarqawi was a martyred mujahed sheikh. Zarqawi was a lieutenant of strict Wahhabi Islam adherent Osama Bin Laden. However, why Zarqawi would have had tattoos is baffling. Islam specifically forbids tattoos. According to Islamic texts, the Prophet Mohammed forbade tattooing...
Of course, like the al-Zarqawi wearing a gold ring (also forbidden for devout Muslims), the al-Zarqawi sporting tattoos probably was not and never was a Wahhabi Muslim. More likely, the al-Zarqawi we recognize (with a barrage of recent images in preparation for his theatrical exit from the corporate media stage), was a Jordanian patsy, probably a garden variety criminal who served prison time and was groomed by Jordan's Dairat al-Mukhabarat intelligence service to believe he was engaged in a jihad against the Great Satan.
read in full...
CONSPIRACIES AND COUNTER-INSURGENCY TACTICS
That 'al Zarqawi' existed more or less in the lurid dreams of Donald Rumsfeld was backed up by American military intelligence agents in Iraq who reported in October 2004 that 'al-Zarqawi' was "more man than myth" and that his position as arch al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq was essentially a creation of the Bush administration who wanted to "find a villain for the post-invasion mayhem."
The was also the very obviously fabricated February 2004 'letter' that was alleged, by the U.S. government, to be a communiqué from al-Zarqawi to Bin laden. Who can forget the stoicism of the Pentagon when it refused to reveal from whom it had obtained the 'letter' and the patriotism of Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt when he said: "the important thing is that we have this document in our hands, how it was found is not as important as the fact that we have it and that we can use it."
In the letter, Zarqawi conveniently took pre-emptive responsibility for the wave of sectarian attacks and shrine bombings in Iraq over the last 2 years. In the letter 'Zarqawi' 'wrote':
"We are striving urgently and racing against time to create companies of mujahidin that will repair to secure places and strive to reconnoiter the country, hunting the enemy -- Americans, police, and soldiers -- on the roads and lanes. We are continuing to train and multiply them. As for the Shi'a, we will hurt them, God willing, through martyrdom operations and car bombs."
In a tape released in April 2004 'al-Zarqawi' called on Iraqis to "burn the earth under the occupiers' feet." As yet no one has been able to explain the logic behind 'al Zarqawi's' plan to encourage Iraqis to join him in fighting American troops while at the same time attacking and killing Iraqis. It is also a mystery why 'al-Zarqawi' believes that attacking and killing Iraqi civilians is the best way to 'destroy the infidels'.
If we were in any way conspiratorially minded, we might suggest that 'al-Zarqawi' was simply a ficticious point man in a U.S. military psychological operation designed to hide the U.S. government's military and political policy in Iraq - but everyone knows 'conspriacies' do not exist. Long-standing American and British counter-insurgency tactics that amount to the same thing on the other hand...
read in full...
PRICE TAG OF LOST WARS
Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing hard-pressed US taxpayers $300,000,000 per day! These wars are lost. Yet, imbecilic members of Congress are in the process of funding the war for another year. Multiply $300 million by 365 days and you get $109,500,000,000. These are not the full costs. The huge figure does not include the destroyed equipment, destroyed lives, and long-term care of the maimed and disabled.
Gentle reader, are you getting enough vicarious pleasure from the slaughter of Iraqi women and children to justify this price tag? Is murdering "ragheads" that important to you? If so, you are one sick person, just like every member of the Bush administration.
read in full...
A MULTI-FACETED IRAQI RESISTANCE
The corporate-western media would have us believe that a U.S./British victory in Iraq is being thwarted by a civil war, essentially between Sunni and Shia religious factions. Many are confused by what the same media portrays as chaos and anarchy fomented by "terrorists" and "insurgents" bent on gaining power. A careful reading of Pedro Rojo and Carlos Varea's in-depth, fact-based analysis reveals a multi-faceted Iraqi Resistance working toward a single, overriding objective: defending their national sovereignty and defeat of the enemy - the U.S/British invaders bringing an end to the occupation
read in full...
FANATIC MILITIAS USED IN A DIRTY WAR
Okhwan Sinna wa Shi'a, hatha alwatan ma nbi'a
(We are brothers, Sunnis and Shiites; we are not selling this homeland) This slogan was chanted by the Iraqis in Baghdad and other provinces days after the occupation in April 2003, denouncing any sectarian division in the Iraqi society, on every occasion. There was hope. Until very recently, in spite of all the killings, Iraqis were million per cent confident that there is NO sectarian sensitivity between the Shiite and the Sunnis.
Now, death on seemingly sectarian bases is the strongest reality in Iraq. (...)
So what happened? Is this the beginning of the civil war? If yes, why the so called sectarian killings, which actually began 3 years ago did not succeed in creating civil war then? Why now? Who is behind them? Who are the death squads after all? To begin with, it has become common knowledge, beyond any argument that the Interior Ministry and the Iraqi Army are involved in the death squad, whether the Iraqi ministers or the American authorities, admit it or not (3). There are tons of eye witnesses' testimonies, documents, evidences, films...
The type of killing now connected to the death squads began around early 2005, on the hands of the Iraqi police commandos. But some important points worth mentioning here: that the first Iraqi interim government was (elected) in January 2005 and was heavily Shiite (Jafari government), that around that time the talk of the Salvador option in Iraq was being heard (4), and that the police commandos were formed, mainly of Shiite militias, especially Badr (the armed branch of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq) and the Mahdi Army (the Sadr Movement militia).
But does all this mean that the death squads are Shiite militias within the interior ministry forces? The answer is: NO, not exactly. I know that any Iraqi who has seen a death squads' operation (which is becoming a familiar day light phenomenon) would want to shoot me in the head for this answer; because a convoy of heavily armed men, masked, black-suited, in expensive modern cars and pick ups, calling Sunnis the worst of names, shooting in the air, calling for revenge, attacking individuals, shops, kidnapping people, beating them to death or shoving them in cars trunks, would not look like anything other than a sectarian militia. But this is only part of the story. (...)
It was the American Governor of Iraq, Bremer, who engineered the Shiite militias join the Iraqi security forces, according to article 91 of the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) put by Bremer himself, to fight the (Sunni insurgency) by Iraqi hands. Death Squads in Iraq are units inside the security forces, whose members are not just religiously fanatic sectarian militias, by foreign intelligence: American, Israeli, Iranian or any other country. They are also Iraqis "educated" and trained outside Iraq, brought into Iraq before the occupation, and shortly after it. Their job is to instigate sectarian conflict leading to create a (federal) Iraq, e.g. a divided Iraq.
It is true that the hands are Iraqis, but the minds and the money are not. It is also true that some political sectarian militias are involved in the death squads, especially those who are connected to the Iranian project in Iraq. But it is interesting to notice how the mainstream media, and the Iraqi government keep on nurturing the idea that the sectarian killings are done by the Sunni insurgency, what they call the rogue units in the police, and the Mahdi Army. (...)
read in full...
THE POWER OF WEAKNESS, AGAIN
Imagine that instead of facing rag-tag bands of poorly equipped and trained insurgents, our Marines and soldiers in Iraq were in a very difficult fight with an opponent similar to themselves, but somewhat stronger.
What would fighting the strong do for them? Being David rather than Goliath, they would see themselves as noble. Every victory would be a cause for genuine pride. Defeats would not mean disgrace, but instead would demand greater effort and higher performance. Even after a failure, they could still look at themselves in the mirror with pride. Knowing they faced a stronger enemy, their own cohesion would grow and their demand for self-discipline would increase.
If the enemy's overmatch were too great, it could lead our units to hopelessness and disintegration. But a fight with an enemy who were stronger but still beatable would buck us up more than tear us down on the all-important moral level.
Now, to see the situation as it is, turn that telescope around. Every firefight we win in Iraq or Afghanistan does little for our pride, because we are so much stronger than the people we are defeating. Every time we get hit successfully by a weaker enemy, we feel like chumps, and cannot look ourselves in the mirror (again, with IED attacks this happens quite often). Whenever we use our superior strength against Iraqi civilians, which is to say every time we drive down an Iraqi street, we diminish ourselves in our own eyes. Eventually, we come to look at ourselves with contempt and see ourselves as monsters. One way to justify being a monster is to behave like one, which makes the problem worse still. The resulting downward spiral, which every army in this kind of war has gotten caught in, leads to indiscipline, demoralization, and disintegration of larger units as fire teams and squads simply go feral.
Again, this process is fundamental to Fourth Generation war. Martin van Crevald has stressed the power of weakness as one key, if not the key, to 4GW, and he is correct. It shows just how far America's military leadership is from grasping Fourth Generation war that its response in Iraq has been to order all troops to undergo a two to four-hour "refresher course in core values."
They are caught in a hurricane, and all they can do is spit in the wind. The rest of us should get ready for the house to blow down.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "Surely if this Al-Zarqawi was such a prize and as they were controlling the "battle space" (sic) - first one to the scene without any incident - surely they would have wanted to arrest him with his top lieutenants and interrogate them ? After all what could seven men do against thousands. And if the "bad guys" (resic) died in the ensuing battle so be it... puzzling." -- comment by G. Damiani at Juan Cole's Informed Comment