Monday, August 18, 2003
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
'Ahmed claims his cells are responsible for the death of at least a dozen Americans, but there is no way to confirm this.'
'He declares: "The Americans say they are still looking for weapons of mass destruction. But they have found them. We are their WMD!"'
'Resistance weapons are stashed around the country, hidden in homes, buried in graveyards and concealed in the fringes of tall, reedy grass that grows by rivers and irrigation canals.'
'The US makes regular announcements of success in its efforts to block the attacks, like Operation Soda Mountain, in which, it says, 128 raids in mid-July detained 971 Iraqis - 67 described as "former regime leaders" - with the confiscation of 665 small weapons, 1356 rocket-propelled grenades, 300 155-mm artillery rounds, 4297 mortar rounds, 4.3 tonnes of C4 explosive and 563 hand grenades.'
'The figures are impressive. But they pale against the reality that under Saddam there were estimated to be more than 5 million AK-47s alone in the country - in a recent US-run amnesty, fewer than 100 were surrendered - and against the suggestion implicit in the figures that much of the seized weapons are from unmanageable prewar stockpiles put in place by Saddam's military which subsequently fell into the hands of the resistance.'
This interview with a member of the Iraqi resistance is enlightening, even if much of it may be untrustworthy (certainly the U.S. isn't the only party capable of carrying out a disinformation campaign). The biggest point made is that the Iraqi resistance is not about Baath party members or Saddam Hussein, but rather the liberation of Iraq. It is unfortunate that as of yet the resistance fighters don't see the potential conflicts that may result -- let's assume for a moment that the U.S. went home today, or even in a year. How would the Sunni resistance and the growing Shiite resistance get along? What about the Kurds? At some point domestic Iraqi politics will prevail, and the chances are pretty good that it won't be a peaceful settlement. The oil which is supposed to pay for reconstruction is constantly under threat of sabatoge, not to mention the possible conflicts that may arise over its ownership if the U.S. presence is withdrawn. While a common U.S. enemy may unify (at least in purpose) Shiite and Sunni resistance, that unity may be strained by the headrush of oil wealth and political power when both parties start to think in terms of political control. All of this, of course, is happening in an environment that is rife with weaponry of all types:
'Haggling in the country's illegal arms bazaars, the resistance never pays more than $US100 ($154) for an RPG launcher while hand grenades sell for as little as $US2. In the days after the fall of Baghdad, AK-47s could be bought for as little as $US3; today they cost about $US40.'
It will be quite an accomplishment if the U.S. can pull off the "liberation" of Iraq without a prolonged civil war.
Andrew 1:33 PM : |
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