[Marxism] Iraq resistance reduced to "desperation"? Assessing a "factual question"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Dec 26 14:20:45 MST 2004

The following items are from GISpecial2#C60.

1. Major Says Iraqi Resistance Fighting "A People's War"
December 25, 2004 By Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post Staff Writer

Army commanders still misunderstand the strategic problem they face and
therefore are still pursuing a flawed approach, writes Maj. Isaiah
Wilson III, who served as an official historian of the campaign and
later as a war planner in Iraq, and who is scheduled to teach at the
U.S. Military Academy at West Point next year.

"Plainly stated, the 'western coalition' failed, and continues to fail,
to see Operation Iraqi Freedom in its fullness," he asserts.

"Reluctance in even defining the situation . . . is perhaps the most
telling indicator of a collective cognitive dissidence on part of the
U.S. Army to recognize a war of rebellion, a people's war, even when
they were fighting it," he comments. 

2.Administration Officials" Admit The Resistance Is Winning The War
December 23, 2004 By Richard Sale, UPI Terrorism Correspondent
The U.S. victory in Fallujah last month has backfired in prompting
insurgents to switch from fighting pitched battles against U.S. forces
to staging simultaneous, well-orchestrated attacks against key cities in
the Sunni triangle, according to administration officials.
The rebels' new hit-and-run strategy "could pose new problems for
U.S.-led forces," a Pentagon official said.  "By not standing their
ground and fighting, but retreating only to return to attack select
targets, the rebels have put us on the defensive."
"We now lack the initiative at a time when we need it very badly," he
added, saying the aim of U.S. operations was to bring stability to the
Sunni triangle.
"It's the same story over and over," a senior Pentagon official said.
"Too few men, too few forces. We have too big an area to have to
According to a former senior CIA official, the recent Mosul raid was
designed to distract the attention of U.S. forces away from Fallujah.
The raid "killed a lot of Kurds," heightened ethnic tensions, drew 1,200
U.S. troops away from Ramadi and Fallujah, and prompted 300 newly
recruited Iraqi police to desert.
The insurgents then launched fresh attacks on Baqubah and Samarra, this
source said.
"The insurgents have grasped that we cannot be everywhere at once, and
they can hit us where they wish, and we can't do anything about it,"
this source said.
O'Hanlon agreed, noting, "The guerrillas are building on their growing
U.S. intelligence experts continue to try and create a guerrilla order
of battle that shows their exact numbers, locations and leaders.
According to the U.S. military, there are about 11,000 to 20,000
insurgents spread throughout Iraq, the New York Times reported.
But a former senior CIA official said that a network that could number
as high as 100,000 is supporting this group.
"The problem is, this number is growing," he added.
Former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vince Cannistraro concurred, saying,
"In spite of all our efforts to divide and weaken this insurgency, it is
deepening and spreading."

3. Insurgents Infiltrating Command Structure, U.S. Says:"It's Far Worse
Than Vietnam"

[Thanks to D in Atlanta, who sent this in:]

December 25, 2004 By Bryan Bender, Boston Globe Staff & December 24,
2004 Dan Murphy, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON -- Iraqi insurgents and their informants have been
infiltrating US and coalition organizations, Iraqi security units, and
political parties in growing numbers, posing a daunting challenge to
efforts to defeat the guerrillas, according to US military officials,
Iraq specialists, and a new study of Iraqi security forces.

Insurgents in Iraq are increasingly operating within their midst.

And in many cases, they appear to be gathering better intelligence on US
military movements and the activities of the new Iraqi government than
coalition forces are gathering on guerrilla plans.

''Penetration of Iraqi security and military forces may be the rule, not
the exception," according to a draft version of a study of Iraqi
security forces by a senior Pentagon consultant.

''There are more and more infiltrators out there," said Army Colonel
Paul Hughes, who served as a political adviser to US occupation
authorities in Iraq. ''It is the nature of insurgency."

The new study, by Anthony Cordesman, a Pentagon adviser who interviewed
numerous US and Iraqi officials in Iraq, draws worrisome parallels
between the Iraq insurgency and the failed US military effort to battle
the Communist insurgency in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.

''Developments in Iraq indicate that the US faces a repetition of its
experience in Vietnam in the sense that as various insurgent factions
organize, they steadily improve their intelligence and penetration of

In Vietnam, US forces suffered dramatic losses at the hands of Vietcong
guerrillas who were able to slip spies into areas where US military
forces and their South Vietnamese allies were operating, the study
notes.  Family and other close ties between guerrillas and local
civilians combined to give the Vietcong a bird's-eye view of US fire
bases and troop movements, allowing them to launch precise and deadly
attacks on American infantry units and installations.

''The end result may be an extremely high degree of transparency on US,
Iraqi government, aid, and every other aspect of Iraqi operations,"
according to the report. ''This enables them to locate soft targets, hit
at key points in terms of Iraq's economy and aid projects, and time
their attacks to points of exceptional vulnerability."

"The lack of highly visible Iraqi forces... [has] also reinforced the
image of a nation where fighting is done by foreigners, non-Muslims, and
occupiers. The end result has been that many Coalition and Iraqi Interim
Government tactical victories produce a costly political and military
backlash.  Even successful military engagements can lead to the creation
of as many new insurgents as they do kill or capture," writes Cordesman.

Moreover, tackling the problem in Iraq may prove even more difficult
than it was in Vietnam, where the North Vietnamese Communists ultimately
took over South Vietnam, analysts say, because there is a high premium
for Iraqi participation in the nation-building effort, and the United
States simply cannot cut local ties.

''It's far worse than Vietnam," said retired Army Colonel David
Hackworth, who spent five years as an infantry officer in Vietnam and
now writes about Iraq. ''In Vietnam, we did not allow civilians on our
tactical fire bases. We learned the hard way that most of the civilians
worked for the enemy and they were there to spy."

In Iraq, he said, ''A lot of those people go home at night, and just
like Vietcong provide intelligence to the guerrillas -- to a brother, a
cousin, or someone who comes by the house."

Widespread infiltration does not only provide insurgents with critical
intelligence about possible US and Iraqi targets.  It also potentially
compromises US and Iraqi operations aimed at locating insurgent
hide-outs and arms supplies, according to Andrew Krepinevich, a
specialist in counterinsurgency and president of the Center for
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington. ''Insurgents can be
forewarned of any plans we might have to defeat them," he said.

Increasing security at US and Iraqi facilities to avoid another Mosul,
he added, will require more of something already in short supply: US

''It drives up troops requirements," Krepinevich said. ''It's extremely
difficult to get a handle on it. This is a major problem."



The War In Falluja


25 December, 2004 Gulf Times Newspaper & 24 December 2004, Borzou
Daragahi, The Independent


FALLUJAH: Fallujah residents returning to their home city yesterday
expressed reluctance to settle in a "ghost town" as others were deterred
from even entering as fighting erupted for the second straight day.


About 10 cars had entered the city when the sounds of fighting rang out
from inside Fallujah yesterday morning.

>From GI Special

A series of small explosions prompted Mohsen Hassan al-Dulaimi, 45, to
leave the city after spending just one hour inside yesterday. 

"I did not bring my family and I just nipped in and out," he said as he
came out through the checkpoint.  "The situation is really bad and I do
not think we can go back any time soon." 

A marine was also wounded in Fallujah on Thursday when an a "semi-alive"
insurgent lobbed a grenade in his direction, said Major General David
Natonski, one of the top marine officers in Iraq. 

US commanders warned it would take a long time to restore basic services
to the point where all residents could return. 

"Being to where we were before the war will take years, being in a
position to start again some activity in the city will take months,"
said civil affairs officer Lieut Col Leonard DeFrancisci. 

Bilal Sami Sabri, a 29-year-old living in a tented camp with nearly
1,000 other Fallujans near Baghdad University, is not going anywhere.
"What can we do?  What are we going to do except stay here until the
Americans and Iraqi National Guard have left the city.  Once they're
gone we'll go back and rebuild Fallujah with our hands." 

Mr Sabri said nothing short of an end to the US presence in the city
would entice him to go back.  He was trapped in Fallujah until three
weeks ago, witnessing the worst of the war.  He was detained by soldiers
who initially put him in a camp outside the city. He was later reunited
with his wife and four children, who had left Fallujah just before the
fighting began.

More information about the Marxism mailing list