[Marxism] US: City "occupied, but not subdued"; 1,000 "insurgents", 24 US said killed

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Nov 13 17:20:10 MST 2004


Okay, I'm behind the curve.  They are announcing victory now. With
reservations.

Note that Zarqawi, assuming that there still is such a person, is more
useful to the US at liberty than in custody or dead.  Wherever Zarqawi
is said to relocate, there the US can assault with a certain solid base
of domestic support.  The same, of course, is true of Bin Laden.  In
custody, he can have no further alleged dealings with Iran, Syria,
Yemen, Saudi Arabia, or with Palestinian groups, who can then be
attacked on this basis.  I am sure that Bush is relieved that it did not
prove necessary to go all-out to capture Bin Laden in order to be
re-elected.
This ace-in-the-hole remains in their hand.
Fred Feldman




Posted on Sat, Nov. 13, 2004
[San Jose]  MercuryNews.com


U.S. Says Troops Now Occupy Fallujah

JIM KRANE

Associated Press

FALLUJAH, Iraq - U.S. military officials said Saturday that American
troops had now "occupied" the entire city of Fallujah and there were no
more major concentrations of insurgents still fighting after nearly a
week of intense urban combat.

A U.S. officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Fallujah was
"occupied but not subdued." Artillery and airstrikes also were halted
after nightfall to prevent mistaken attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces who
had taken up positions throughout the city.

Iraqi officials declared the operation to free Fallujah of militants was
"accomplished" but acknowledged the two most wanted figures in the city
- Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Sheik Abdullah
al-Janabi - had escaped.

U.S. officers said, however, that resistance had not been entirely
subdued and that it still could take several days of fighting to clear
the final pockets.

The offensive against Fallujah killed at least 24 American troops and an
estimated 1,000 insurgents, and rebel attacks elsewhere - especially in
the northern city of Mosul - have forced the Americans to shift troops
away from Fallujah.

Exploiting the redeployment, insurgents stepped up attacks in areas
outside Fallujah, including a bombing that killed two Marines on the
outskirts of the former rebel bastion 40 miles west of Baghdad.

Military activity also surged along the Euphrates River valley well to
the north and west of Baghdad, with clashes reported in Qaim on the
Syrian border and in Hit and Ramadi, nearer to the capital.

A series of thunderous explosions rocked central Baghdad after sunset
Saturday, and sirens wailed in the fortified Green Zone, which houses
major Iraqi government offices and the U.S. Embassy. There was no
immediate explanation for the blasts, but the Ansar al-Sunnah Army later
claimed responsibility for firing several rockets at the zone. The
claim's authenticity could not be verified.

A car bomb exploded on the main road to Baghdad airport, and there was
fighting near the Education Ministry in the heart of the capital.

Insurgents also attacked a military base outside Baghdad Saturday,
killing one coalition soldier and wounding three others, the U.S.
military said. The nationalities of the casualties weren't immediately
available.

Baghdad's international airport was ordered Saturday to remain closed to
civilian traffic for a further 24 hours, according to government adviser
Georges Sada.

The airport was closed for 48 hours under the state of emergency imposed
last Sunday and has remained shut under a series of one-day extensions
ever since.

At least four people were killed and 29 wounded, police said, during a
U.S. airstrike on rebels and clashes Saturday in the Abu Ghraib suburb
of western Baghdad. One Iraqi was killed and 10 wounded in fighting
between U.S. troops and insurgents in the northern city of Tal Afar.

Flames of fire and heavy black smoke were billowing to the sky after
saboteurs attacked an oil pipeline north of Baghdad Saturday night,
witnesses said.

The oil pipeline carries crude oil from Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad,
to the Dora refinery in Baghdad.

Witnesses said insurgents have virtually controlled the town of Taji for
the last several days, distributing leaflets warning people not to leave
their houses or open their shops.

The drive against remaining insurgent holdouts in southern Fallujah was
aimed to eradicate the last major concentration of fighters at the end
of nearly a week of air and ground assaults.

"We are just pushing them against the anvil," said Col. Michael Formica,
commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade. "It's a broad
attack against the entire southern front."

As a prelude to the Saturday assault, a U.S. warplane dropped a
500-pound bomb on an insurgent tunnel network in the city, CNN embedded
correspondent Jane Arraf reported.

U.S. and Iraqi forces also have begun moving against insurgent
sympathizers among Iraq's hardline Sunni religious leadership, arresting
at least four prominent clerics and raiding offices of religious groups
that had spoken out against the Fallujah assault.

U.S. officials said they hoped the latest attack would finish off the
last pocket of significant resistance in Fallujah. Next was a planned
house-to-house clearing operation to find boobytraps, weapons and
guerrillas still hiding in the rubble.

In Baghdad, Iraqi National Security Adviser Qassem Dawoud proclaimed the
Fallujah assault - code-name Operation Al-Fajr, or "Dawn" - was
"accomplished" except for mopping up "evil pockets which we are dealing
with now."

"The number of terrorists and Saddam (Hussein) loyalists killed has
reached more than 1,000," Dawoud said. "As for the detainees, the number
is 200 people."

However, Dawoud said al-Zarqawi, whose al-Qaida-linked group was
responsible for numerous car-bombings and beheadings of foreign
hostages, and the main Fallujah resistance leader, Sheik al-Janabi "have
escaped." The United States has offered a $25 million reward for
al-Zarqawi.

As U.S. forces pressed their attacks in southern Fallujah, Marines in
the northern districts were hunting for about a dozen insurgents dressed
in Iraqi National Guard uniforms who were reportedly wandering the city
streets.

"Any (Iraqi National Guard) or (Iraqi special forces) not seen with the
Marines are to be considered hostile," Lt. Owen Boyce, 24, of Simsbury,
Conn., told his men.

U.S. and Iraqi officials want to restore control of Fallujah and other
Sunni militant strongholds before national elections scheduled by Jan.
31.

A four-vehicle convoy of the Iraqi Red Crescent carrying humanitarian
assistance arrived in Fallujah after the Iraqi and American troops
allowed it to pass.

In the southern city of Nasiriyah, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi
said he expected the operation in Fallujah to conclude by Sunday with a
"clear-cut" victory over the insurgents and the terrorists.

"We have captured their safe houses, where they killed people," Allawi
said. "We have captured the masks they wore when they slaughtered and
decapitated people."

Allawi, a Shiite Muslim, brushed aside suggestions the operation would
create a backlash among the country's Sunni minority.

"There is no problem of Sunnis or Shiites," he said. "This is all Iraqis
against the terrorists. We are going to keep on breaking their back
everywhere in Iraq. We are not going to allow them to win."

Despite the evident military success in Fallujah, U.S. commanders have
warned that the insurgency in Iraq will continue - evidenced by the
recent spike in violence in the remainder of the Sunni Muslim regions of
central Iraq.

The U.S. command withdrew one battalion of the 25th Infantry Division in
Fallujah and returned it to Mosul after insurgents attacked police
stations, bridges and government buildings Thursday in clashes that
killed 10 Iraqi troops and one U.S. soldier.

Mosul was quieter Saturday, but a car bomb exploded as an Iraqi National
Guard convoy sent from Kirkuk passed, witnesses said. Seven National
Guardsmen were wounded.

The region's governor blamed the uprising on "the betrayal of some
police members" and said National Guard reinforcements - many of them
ex-members of the Kurdish peshmerga militia taken from garrisons along
the Syrian and Iranian borders_ had arrived to help end the violence.
The events in Mosul cast further doubt on capabilities of Iraqi forces
to maintain order - a key U.S. strategy goal.

Fierce fighting in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq has taken its toll on
the Americans. More than 400 wounded soldiers have been transported to
the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, a
hospital spokeswoman said.

---

Associated Press reporters Edward Harris in Fallujah and Tini Tran,
Sameer N. Yacoub, Mariam Fam, Sabah Jerges, Katarina Kratovac and Maggie
Michael in Baghdad contributed to this report.

 





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