[Marxism] WS Journal: a population eager to take arms against common enemy

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Apr 12 02:43:06 MDT 2004

The following article appears in the 
April 12, 2004 Wall Street Journal.  The introductory comments that
precede the article are by Walter Lippmann, moderator of the CubaNews
Fred Feldman 
(Coming from the central mouthpeace of US capitalism, this
is an extraordinary confession of prostration and failure
for Washington and its allies in Iraq. It's hard to know
which analogy is more apt: is it Tet, or is it Stalingrad?
In any event, the outside agressors from a Christian nation
invading an Arab state and bombing mosques aren't following
by the Dale Carnegie instruction manual. 
(FOUR among the Quisling counsel has already resigned and others are
talking about it. How many will be left holding the reins,
or is it holding the bag, when Washington "hands over Iraqi
soverignty" to the members of its US-appointed Stooge
Council. Or will their even be a bag to hold? It seems 
that Washington has united the Iraqi people in a common
cause: an end to Washington's occupation of their country.

(While the US-oriented media call the resistance fighters
"insurgents" and "militants", most of the world is coming
to see the truth. Remember, friends, this is the WALL
STREET JOURNAL, not Al-Jazeerah or Al-Awda, saying that
most of the SIX HUNDRED KILLED by Washington in Fallujah
THIS PAST WEEK were women, children and the elderly. 
(It's obvious that by its plan to surround and lay seige to it
that Washington plans to try to starve the city into
submission. For the US, maybe it's not really Tet or
Stalingrad. Maybe it's more like Sabra and Shatila?

(NPR, which has been serving as an extension of the White
House and Pentagon public relations offices, is finally
forced to tell a bit of what's really going on in Iraq.

(Congressional leaders who are beginning to tell the truth,
such as Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy are openly being
accused of disloyalty as they raise important criticisms in
the Congress. Supporters of the war think the public has no
right to ask questions, to criticize, to disagree with the
Bush administration policies. Take the time to listen to the
few moments from Congress on NPR. It's a very good
selection, and under five minutes long.

(And so it is stunning to read the final sentence in this
stark WALL STREET JOURNAL report. None of that B.S. about
"remnants of Saddam Hussein". 
(The WSJ worries: "But much depends on whether the battle remains
between marginalized
insurgents and coalition forces, or whether it spreads to 
a civilian population -- Sunni and Shiite alike -- eager 
and willing to take arms against a common enemy.) 

April 12, 2004 Wall Street Journal


Iraqis Increasingly 
Sympathize With Rebels

U.S. Seeks to Crush Insurgency 
Without Alienating Those Who 
Have Kept to the Sidelines
April 12, 2004; Page A16


Insurgents in Iraq have seized several foreign hostages
during a weeklong uprising and have briefly detained a
number of foreign journalists. Here is a list of people
still missing or confirmed captured:

. An American was captured Friday by insurgents who
attacked a fuel convoy near Baghdad. The man spoke with a
southern accent and identified himself as Thomas Hamill to
a reporter for Australian television.

. Two U.S. service members and several contract employees
were still unaccounted for from attacks on Friday, a
Pentagon spokesman said Saturday. It was unknown if they
had been captured or killed.

. Japanese aid workers Noriaki Imai, 18 years old, and
Nahoko Takato, 34, and photojournalist Soichiro Koriyama,
32, were taken hostage in southern Iraq, but the exact date
of their capture was unclear. Their captors threatened them
with knives in a videotape and have vowed to burn them
alive if Japan doesn't withdraw its troops.

. Militants on Wednesday kidnapped two aid workers in
Najaf: Fadi Ihsan Fadel, a Syrian-born Canadian who works
for the International Rescue Committee, and Nabil Razouk,
30, an Arab from East Jerusalem who also works for the U.S.
Agency for International Development.

. A group calling itself the "Martyr Ahmed Yassin Brigades"
in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad and Fallujah,
claimed in a video shown on Al-Arabiya television to have
30 hostages from the United States, Japan, Spain and
Bulgaria. No hostages were shown, and there was no way to
verify the group's claims.

. Two security agents from the German Embassy in Baghdad
were missing, Germany's Foreign Ministry said. German ZDF
and ARD television said the men were ambushed Wednesday
while on a routine trip from Amman, Jordan to Baghdad.

. Seven South Korean missionaries were held briefly before
being released Thursday.

--The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Salman Daoud has done good business since
the Americans arrived in Iraq, importing foods such as
turkey and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. But on
Saturday, the 43-year-old owner of a Baghdad gourmet
supermarket closed his shop in response to a call by a
Sunni cleric for a three-day general strike in solidarity
with insurgents fighting U.S. troops in several cities.

Reflecting a growing sentiment among ordinary Iraqis, Mr.
Daoud, a moderate Sunni Muslim who caters mostly to foreign
clients, has found himself increasingly sympathizing with
the Sunni insurgents battling the U.S. in the north and the
firebrand cleric leading a Shiite Muslim rebellion in the

"The past few weeks have proved to me that Americans are
occupiers and liars," says Mr. Daoud, who spends much of
his day monitoring Arab-language television reports. "They
are killing innocent Iraqis, women and children. I am 100%
with the resistance group now, both Sunni and Shiites. 
They are giving their lives to free our country."

Mr. Daoud's changing view underscores one of the biggest
challenges the U.S. faces in Iraq: how to move aggressively
into areas dominated by enemy fighters without alienating
and infuriating a vast swath of Iraqis who have largely sat
on the sidelines during the occupation so far. The
challenge promises to become even more difficult if the
U.S. military carries through with plans to move forcefully
into southern cities such as Najaf and Karbala, which many
Iraqis view as especially sensitive holy sites.

In Fallujah, where Marines began a siege against Sunni
insurgents a week ago, more than 600 Iraqis have been
killed -- most of them women, children and the elderly, the
head of the city's hospital told Associated Press. A Marine
commander responded that most Iraqis killed were probably
fighting-age men. Civilians fled the city amid a cease-fire
and talks among Iraqi officials on how to end the violence.

Elsewhere in Iraq over the weekend, eight more U.S. solders
were killed in various attacks, the U.S. military said
yesterday, and a helicopter was shot down near Baghdad,
killing two crewmembers. Foreigners were taken hostage in
several incidents; the German Foreign Ministry said it
expected two German security officials who disappeared last
week have probably been killed. Guerrillas holding a U.S.
contractor, Thomas Hamill, said they would execute him
unless the U.S. siege of Fallujah was lifted. A Briton was
freed, and other kidnappers said they were freeing eight
captives of various nationalities.Tokyo continued to hope
for the release of three Japanese hostages.

At least four members of Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing
Council have resigned in recent days in protest of U.S.
tactics in Fallujah.

Signs that the new fighting is convincing some Iraqis to
reassess their view of the insurgency are increasingly easy
to find. Long lines have formed for blood drives and
charity drop-offs to aid the besieged residents of
Fallujah. Residents in many Baghdad neighborhoods signed up
to host displaced families from Fallujah and banners and
signs are posted at every corner declaring that the Sunni
and Shiite forces are now unified. A cigarette seller in
Baghdad said yesterday he has decided to collect tax from
customers and contribute the money toward any militia that
is fighting the Americans.

American officials say the insurgency remains limited 
to a relatively small number of hard-core U.S. opponents
determined to undermine the transition to Iraqi rule.
President Bush, speaking yesterday to reporters in Texas,
blamed the increased violence on "people trying to stop
progress toward democracy," adding that "the violence was
thrust upon innocent Iraqis." Of the U.S. troops, he said,
"Their job is to make Iraq more secure so that a peaceful
Iraq can emerge."

American officials in Baghdad attribute the widening gap of
perception between Americans and Iraqis to Arab satellite
news channels like Qatar-based al Jazeera or Abu Dhabi's al
Arabiya. These channels, which are the main source of news
for Mr. Daoud and most Iraqis, mainly focus on the
suffering of civilians in places such as Fallujah and are
criticized almost daily by coalition authorities for not
presenting an accurate picture.

Still, the broadcasts are striking a chord. If the American
public and its news media are raising questions about Iraq
becoming another Vietnam for its troops, the Iraqis and the
Arab media have already started drawing a parallel between
Iraqis and the Palestinians, tapping into feelings of Arab
national pride, honor and victimization.

Despite U.S. officials' claims that the uprisings have no
grass-roots support, the public's adherence to a cleric's
call for a general strike demonstrates just how much the
relationship between Americans and Iraqis has deteriorated
in the past few weeks. The streets of Baghdad were largely
empty over the weekend, with the majority of businesses
closed. Schools, universities and government buildings also
shut down.

U.S. authorities have taken some measures to show that they
have no intention to punish all Iraqis. On Friday,
coalition forces unilaterally called for a cease-fire with
Sunni insurgents in Fallujah to allow civilians to leave
the city and much-needed medical aid and food supplies to
pass through. Members of the Iraqi Governing Council
traveled to Fallujah to negotiate with city representatives
about a truce in return for the handover of the gunmen who
killed and mutilated four American civilians on March 31.

"It is a very delicate problem any time you try to impose a
cease-fire on hostilities," said L. Paul Bremer, the U.S.'s
top administrator in Iraq, to Fox News channel last night.
"And we are very mindful of the need not to have the result
be that the insurgents become stronger."

An even more potentially volatile situation awaits in the
south, where the U.S. is seeking to take back control of
Shiite holy cities Karbala and Najaf from the militia of
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whom the U.S. seeks to
arrest for his alleged role in the murder of another 
cleric last spring.

The south was relatively calm over the weekend; U.S.
commanders had said they would delay any action against 
Mr. Sadr until after a religious holiday Sunday. Military
action to retake the cities could require fighting near
some of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, raising the
possibility of further inflaming anger at the U.S.-led
occupation. Governing Council members were holding
discussions with Mr. Sadr's followers, and yesterday U.S.
officials suggested they were open to a negotiated solution
to the confrontation.

American military officials have so far contended that the
129,000 troops stationed in Iraq are sufficient to fight
both battles, with Mr. Bush saying last night that more
troops would be deployed if Gen. John Abizaid, the overall
commander for Iraq, asked for them. But much depends on
whether the battle remains between marginalized insurgents
and coalition forces, or whether it spreads to a civilian
population -- Sunni and Shiite alike -- eager and willing
to take arms against a common enemy.

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