[Marxism] After Fallujah -- another rough beast

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at virgin.net
Sun May 29 05:42:50 MDT 2005

Further to Gary's comments, I agree: this is a major turning point in the
Iraq débâcle. There are some more points that I have mulled over. Should
Kurdish troops be used -- and they seem to be about the only ones that are
reliable in any large number -- what happens to the large number of Kurds
who live in Baghdad? Will they be treated as quislings, and become the
victims of pogroms?

Baghdad is a very large city, the capital -- this seems to rule out the
Fallujah programme of levelling large parts of a city. Also, levelling lumps
of Fallujah didn't defeat the insurgents; they mainly pulled out, leaving a
very small force behind. It did not work. Can 40 000 troops really contain
guerrilla action in and around Baghdad without putting large areas of it
under a violent military occupation? Having the military do what is
essentially police work -- rooting out insurgents, which requires careful
and patient intelligence gathering, cultivating contacts and informers
amongst the population -- is likely to lead to large-scale resistance, as
all manner of people who are not insurgents will be arrested, maltreated and
killed, thus aggravating wide numbers of people.

To defeat an insurgency, one needs mass terror à la the Nazi occupation of
Europe -- can the quisling government mount this? Very doubtful. -- and/or
some concessions -- can the government provide jobs, food, welfare, reliable
electricity and water? Again, very doubtful.

Will the army attack Sadr City, which is largely Shia and a base of support
for radical Shia militias and groups? Or does the new quisling government
think that some of neutrality may be kept whilst its army goes after mainly
Sunni insurgents (disobedient Shia militias can be dealt with afterwards, I
guess). Seeing that some of the bombings in Iraq seem to be aimed
indiscriminately at Shias, I wonder who may be behind some of them -- who
benefits from a breach between Shias and Sunnis? An important question
here -- and I have no answers or even guesses -- is how far have divisions
gone between Shias and Sunnis. This is an important factor when trying to
reckon what the opposition and resistance to the assault upon Baghdad will

If the assault on Baghdad works, it could damage the resistance very
seriously; if it fails, it could well spark off greater resistance, it will
certainly undermine the quisling government, and leave the US occupation in
a more vulnerable position.

Paul F

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