[Marxism] Loosing the war
Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Mon Aug 22 08:16:19 MDT 2005
>From the Guardian:
Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadel
Guardian gains rare access to Iraqi town and finds it fully in control of
Omer Mahdi in Haditha and Rory Carroll in Baghdad
Monday August 22, 2005
A three-day visit by a reporter working for the Guardian last week
established what neither the Iraqi government nor the US military has
admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates river,
is an insurgent citadel.
That Islamist guerrillas were active in the area was no secret but only now
has the extent of their control been revealed. They are the sole authority,
running the town's security, administration and communications.
A three-hour drive north from Baghdad, under the nose of an American base,
it is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies,
which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.
Haditha exposes the limitations of the Iraqi state and US power on the day
when the political process is supposed to make a great leap - a draft
constitution finalised and approved by midnight tonight.
There is no fighting here because there is no one to challenge the
Islamists. The police station and municipal offices were destroyed last year
and US marines make only fleeting visits every few months.
Two groups share power. Ansar al-Sunna is a largely homegrown organisation,
though its leader in Haditha is said to be foreign. Al-Qaida in Iraq, known
locally by its old name Tawhid al-Jihad, is led by the Jordanian-born Abu
A year ago Haditha was just another sleepy town in western Anbar province,
deep in the Sunni triangle and suspicious of the Shia-led government in
Baghdad but no insurgent hotbed.
Then, say residents, arrived mostly Shia police with heavyhanded behaviour.
"That's how it began," said one man. Attacks against the police escalated
until they fled, creating a vacuum filled by insurgents.
The US military declined to respond to questions detailing the extent of
insurgent control in the town.
There was evidence of growing cooperation between rebels. A group in
Falluja, where the resistance is said to be regrouping, wrote to Haditha
requesting background checks on two volunteers from the town.
One local man in his 40s told the Guardian he wanted to be a suicide bomber
to atone for sins and secure a place in heaven. "But the mujahideen will not
let me. They said I had eight children and it was my duty to look after
Tribal elders said they feared but respected insurgents for keeping order
and not turning the town into a battleground.
They appear to have been radicalised, and condemned Sunni groups, such as
the Iraqi Islamic party and the Muslim Scholars' Association, for engaging
in the political process.
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