[Marxism] Juan Cole: IGC on verge of collapse

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 10 10:40:05 MDT 2004

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Fallujah Bloodbath threatens US-Appointed Iraqi Government with Collapse

AP reported that the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) issued a 
demand early on Saturday that the US cease its military action against 
Fallujah and stop employing "collective punishment."

Not only has what many Iraqis call "the puppet council" taken a stand 
against Bush administration tactics in Iraq, but individual members are 
peeling off. Shiite Marsh Arab leader Abdul Karim al-Muhammadawi suspended 
his membership in the council on Friday. A Sunni member, Ghazi al-Yawir, 
has threatened to resign if a negotiated settlement of the Fallujah 
conflict cannot be found. Old-time Sunni nationalist leader Adnan Pachachi 
thundered on al-Arabiya televsion, "It was not right to punish all the 
people of Fallujah, and we consider these operations by the Americans 
unacceptable and illegal." For him to go on an Arab satellite station much 
hated by Donald Rumsfeld and denounce the very people who appointed him to 
the IGC is a clear act of defiance. There are rumors that many of the 25 
Governing Council members have fled abroad, fearful of assassination 
because of their association with the Americans. The ones who are left 
appear on the verge of resigning.

This looks to me like an incipient collapse of the US government of Iraq. 
Beyond the IGC, the bureaucracy is protesting. Many government workers in 
the ministries are on strike and refusing to show up for work, according to 
ash-Sharq al-Awsat. Without Iraqis willing to serve in the Iraqi 
government, the US would be forced to rule the country militarily and by 
main force. Its legitimacy appears to be dwindling fast. The "handover of 
sovereignty" scheduled for June 30 was always nothing more than a publicity 
stunt for the benefit of Bush's election campaign, but it now seems likely 
to be even more empty. Since its main rationale was to provide more 
legitimacy to the US enterprise in Iraq, and since any legitimacy the US 
had is fading fast, and since a government appointed by Bremer will be 
hated by virtue of that very appointment, the Bush administration may as 
well just not bother.

The Interior Minister, Nuri Badran, who was dismissed by Paul Bremer on 
Thursday, appears to have gone into exile in Jordan. He was probably let go 
because he objected to the twin US assaults, on Fallujah and on the Sadrist 
Shiites, or at least to the way it was being done.

The degree of hatred for the United States in the Muslim world is growing 
by the minute, as the events in Fallujah are broadcast throughout the 
region. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's warning to Bush that by invading 
Iraq he would be creating 100 Bin Ladens may well come to pass. For more on 
this see the Washington Post.

Part of what caused this incipient collapse of the US-appointed Iraqi 
government is that the US military decided to besiege the entire city of 
Fallujah to get at insurgents who killed 4 US Blackwater mercenaries last 
week, even though reports indicated that the guerrillas left the city after 
the killings. Those guerrillas, supported by civilian demonstrations and 
desecration of the mercenaries' bodies, announced that they were taking 
revenge for the Israeli murder of Hamas clerical leader Sheikh Ahmed 
Yassin. Just as the Israelis and their American amen corner helped drag the 
US into the Iraq war, so they also have inflamed Iraqi sentiment against 
the US by spectacular uses of state terror against Palestinians. Both the 
Sunni and the Shiite uprisings in Iraq in the past week in a very real 
sense were set off by Sharon's whacking of Yassin, a paraplegic who could 
easily have been arrested. (Only once Muqtada al-Sadr announced his support 
for Hamas was he targeted by the Neocon-dominated Coalition Provisional 
Authority for arrest, convincing him that he had nothing to lose and had 
better launch an insurgency).

The siege and assault on Fallujah during the past 5 days have killed some 
400 Iraqis and wounded 1000, according to eyewitnesses. The civilians in 
the city had begun wanting for food and water. On Friday, the US appears to 
have spread panic by broadcasting warnings of an imminent attack and 
encouraging women and children to leave. Large numbers have streamed out. 
Some attempted to take their men with them, but Marines refused to allow 
male civilians out. Some families chose to remain together and face further 
bombardments rather than split up.

One Marine was killed and another wounded at Fallujah on Friday.

AP said, ' Throughout the afternoon, fighting was reduced to sporadic 
gunfire. But when night fell, heavy explosions resumed as an AC-130 gunship 
strafed targets and soldiers and insurgents engaged in a mortar battle. 
Marines said they had come under fire and wanted to return fire. The AC-130 
hit a cave near Fallujah where insurgents took refuge after attacking 
Marines. A 500-pound laser-guided bomb also struck the cave, said spokesman 
1st Lt. Eric Knapp. '

The US announced a pause in the fighting to allow the Iraqis to "tend to 
their dead." This statement of Paul Bremer's is obviously a cruel taunt, 
and indicative of the fury and hatred of the American administration of 
Iraq toward the people of Anbar province, who have fiercely resisted the 
American occupation, largely out of Iraqi nationalist or Sunni 
fundamentalist motives.

At the western edge of Baghdad, guerrillas set off a spectacular explosion 
when they hit a fuel convoy, killing a US soldier and an Iraqi driver, and 
wounding 12 others. (Eyewitnesses spoke of lots of bodies, so the 
casualties are probably greater). Two American soldiers and several 
mercenaries may have been taken hostage.

Another US soldier was killed in Baghdad when his base was attacked. 
Substantial guerrilla groups engaged US troops in Baqubah and Muqdadiyah 
north of the capital.

posted by Juan Cole at 4/10/2004 08:17:45 AM

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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