[Marxism] Iraqi resistance: "well-equipped and highly coordinated"
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jun 25 06:57:26 MDT 2004
Adversary's Tactics Leave Troops Surprised, Exhausted
By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, June 25, 2004; Page A01
BAQUBAH, Iraq, June 24 -- The 1st Infantry Division soldiers who walked
off the battlefield Thursday, exhausted by the frantic pace of combat
and a baking summer sun, had seen nothing like it in their three months
In dawn-to-dusk fighting, more than 100 armed insurgents overran
neighborhoods and occupied downtown buildings, using techniques that
U.S. commanders said resembled those once employed by the Iraqi army.
Well-equipped and highly coordinated, the insurgents demonstrated a new
level of strength and tactical skill that alarmed the soldiers facing them.
By the end of the day, infantry and armored patrols had driven the
insurgents from the battered center of the city, though some remained in
control of two police stations in districts long hostile to the U.S.-led
occupation. Two U.S. soldiers were killed in the fight, including a
company commander struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.
"They were definitely better than what we normally face," said Lt. T.J.
Grider, 25, whose platoon fought for more than 12 hours. "But I think
what we did today was pretty significant."
Coming less than a week before the U.S. occupation formally ends, the
attacks brought into sharp focus the threat that lies ahead for Iraq's
interim government and the challenge that remains for U.S. forces who
will stay here to defend it. The U.S.-trained Iraqi police were routed
or abandoned their posts rather than face a more capable foe, and
military commanders here said the battle for this city 35 miles
northeast of Baghdad was far from over.
The insurgents fought in large, coordinated squads, set complex ambushes
and occupied downtown buildings from which they apparently planned a
long fight, U.S. military commanders said. Striking first along two key
avenues bracketing the city, the insurgents intended to isolate and
overrun the local Coalition Provisional Authority compound and other
downtown government buildings, the commanders said.
Several U.S. commanders suggested the insurgents had learned the tactics
in recent weeks from skilled guerrilla commanders from outside the city,
perhaps led by foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight the
occupation. They noted that the city's merchants received no warning of
the attack, as they had before an armed uprising here in April. Many
people struggled through rush-hour traffic, only to be turned away by
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