[Marxism] From Derrick O'Keefe

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Apr 13 12:19:22 MDT 2004


Occupation as collective punishment

April 13, 2004

Derrick O'Keefe

April 9, 2003 was the much-celebrated “fall of Baghdad,” as invading 
U.S. troops took control of Iraq's capital city. The triumphal day was 
punctuated by the perfect photo-op: Iraqis rejoicing as a statue of 
Saddam Hussein was pulled down by the American military. At the time, 
war critics noted that there were really only a couple of hundred Iraqis 
present. This year, on April 9, U.S. troops were back in the same 
square, pulling off photos of the young resistance leader, cleric 
Muqtada al-Sadr, from the very column where the statue of Hussein had 
stood. This time, though, no Iraqis at all were there to cheer.

Nor were there celebrations marking “liberation” across the country, as 
fighting raged in a number of Iraqi cities, including in the 
working-class Sadr city, a largely Shia district of Baghdad. But the 
worst of the occupation violence was being carried out in Fallujah. 
There a siege had reportedly killed at least 600 Iraqis as of Saturday, 
in a massive exercise in collective punishment — reminiscent of Israeli 
operations in Jenin and so many Palestinian towns — following last 
week's public spectacle of the killing and mutilation of four American 
mercenary security personnel. International activists in and around the 
city called the situation a “humanitarian disaster” in an early public 
appeal to end the siege. As of Monday, a tentative cease-fire was 
reportedly holding, and beleaguered residents were fleeing the city, 
where there was no clean water or electricity. Bodies were being hastily 
buried in backyards or, in some cases, left in the streets amidst the 
rubble.

Fallujah has been a hotbed of opposition throughout the occupation. In 
the ‘Sunni Triangle,' the media has reported countless times that the 
city is a Saddam-loyalist stronghold. If the resistance were confined to 
Fallujah, the U.S. might be able to say that events were following the 
script: a largely content population, with opposition limited to the 
remnants of the Ba'ath Party dictatorship. But events are departing 
badly from the imperial story line, with both Shia and Sunni opposition 
becoming widespread and tentative signs of a potentially united resistance.

Full: http://sevenoaksmag.com/commentary/08_fallujah.html



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