Guerillas ensuring US pleas for help fall on deaf ears

Anon Anon inprekorr at
Wed Aug 20 21:12:53 MDT 2003

Guerillas ensuring US pleas for help fall on deaf ears
By Paul McGeough

Sydney Morning Herald
21 August 2003

The plan is working. This dramatic escalation of the
guerilla war in Iraq is about isolating the United

Washington has been shopping for governments and aid
agencies that will join what it calls "the mission"
without questioning America's absolute control or
nagging about a greater oversight role for the UN.

But the UN withdrew from prewar Afghanistan in the
face of violence that was a pinprick by comparison
with the carnage at Baghdad's Canal Hotel and despite
an initial statement that the UN will be staying in
Iraq, The Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, will be
seriously examining a complete withdrawal. So will
dozens of other aid agencies.

And governments, especially in the Arab world, will be
even more reluctant to respond to United States' pleas
for troops.

That is the resistance's message to the world - keep

If it has to deal with an occupation force, the Iraqi
fighters do not want a diffuse identity - just
Washington, thank you.

And as it steps up the attacks on oil, electricity and
water supplies across Iraq, it will seek to stoke
anti-American hate by telling disgruntled and
discomforted Iraqis that it is all America's fault.

Ali Shukri was an adviser to King Hussein of Jordan
for 22 years. But as a member of St Anthony's College
at Oxford University, he is now able to share the
accumulated advice that was the exclusive preserve of
the late monarch as they monitored their troublesome
eastern neighbour.

Over Turkish coffee on the terrace at Amman's Four
Seasons Hotel, he issued a warning: "Last week they
blew up oil and water. They've attacked the Jordanian
Embassy and now the UN, and this has been without the
involvement of the Shiites, who make up almost 70 per
cent of the population.

"So far this resistance is only Sunni. If the Shiites
or even a part of them get involved, Iraq will go up
in fire and there will be nothing the US, Britain or
the UN can do about it. This disease started in the
Sunni areas; it's contagious and it will spread to the

"It's just a matter of time. The US will never be able
to calm down Iraq unless it deals seriously with the
Sunni tribal sheiks and the Shiite imams.

The resistance knows what it is doing. Those early RPG
attacks on US Humvees were a battle of honour to salve
wounded national pride and humiliation, but they are
just starting the big operations now, and when Paul
Bremmer says these people are bad because the damage
is costing $US7 million ($10.6 million) a day, he is
saying they are effective.

"If there are more attacks on infrastructure, the
Iraqi people will be screaming at the US. And there
will be more because they want to make it impossible
for Iraqis to survive under Bremmer and Bush.

"They want people to take to the streets to demand
that the US meet its promises as they set about making
it impossible for the promises to be met."

Mr Shukri read the bombing of the Jordan Embassy as a
message for the young King Abdullah: don't send
troops. And the pursuit of chaos.

"Saddam's hero was Stalin, whose dictum during World
War II was 'if you can't control the territory,
destroy it'," he said.

"This is what is happening - if you can't make use of
the oil, you blow it up. It's matter of national
pride, and they want to get rid of the US . . . so I
don't think any Arab countries will dare to send
troops or even policemen now.

"[The US assistant secretary of defence Paul]
Wolfowitz predicted that by now the US would have only
30,000 troops left in Iraq. They still have nearly
150,000 and as they find that the perception they had
of Iraq is not the truth."

Mr Shukri said that before the war he had advised the
US that Saddam would resort to guerilla war, but now
the US was facing guerilla war without Saddam.

"It's pretty well everyone in Iraq; they object to the
occupation of their country."

For all that, Washington still attempts to back the
attack into its case against Saddam.

In the face of recent evidence of a
centrally-controlled and nationalist-driven
resistance, it continues to blame Baathist die-hards
and al-Qaeda and its associates. But it ignores the
breadth and depth of this resistance at its peril.

Osama bin Laden's agents may well be in Iraq, but the
range of the attacks is no different to those
perpetrated over the years by nationalist resistance
movements in the West Bank and Northern Ireland and,
more recently, by Chechen rebels.

Opportunists will always be drawn to the quagmire, but
if the US persists in treating the Iraqi guerilla war
only as a bin Laden problem, it's rebuilding will

George Bush says the perpetrators of Tuesday's attack
will be brought to justice. In the trenches, the
resistance will be saying: "Bring 'em on."

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