Tuesday, November 9, 2004

More missteps - Falluja attack prompts Sunni's to withdraw from government

The following is a roundup of todays news regarding Iraq. Over the past 2-3 days the assault on Fallujah was launched by U.S. forces, supposedly assisted by the new Iraq army. The purpose is to quash the "rebellion" in Fallujah so that fair and open elections can be democratically held. Rumsfeld is expecting this to "tip" Fallujah over to "our side", and presumably to cause the rest of Iraq to come to "our" side".

Instead we see in the articles below the immediate and harsh reaction by at least one Sunni political party to withdraw their support from the Iraq government. We see much bloodshed, and we know from the past that bloodshed and fighting has only turned into more anger and resentment by the Iraqi's. It is the bloodshed and fighting which fuels the resistance movement, by inciting the people to join the resistance.

In the time.com article, they quote the Marine Sgt. Major as equating this with the U.S. Marine assault on Hue (Vietnam, 1968). While that assault was a military success in a similar situation to the assault on Fallujah (both cities held by "insurgents", destablising the attempt to install democracy), and while the assault on Hue was a military victory, it only worsened the Vietnam situation. In the larger picture, the assault on Hue was the tipping point of losing Vietnam. We have all the earmarkings that this assault on Fallujah will only worsen the Iraq situation.

From before the invasion of Iraq I've been shaking my head over this thought that one can "install" democracy. I think a country needs to choose democracy, not have it forced upon them, especially with guns pointing at them. The core feature of democracy is that the people rule the country jointly, and forcing democracy onto a people is the antithesis of the concept of the people jointly ruling a country.

Rumsfeld Looks to Military Success to 'Tip' Iraqi Opinion

Defense secretary argues that routing insurgents could persuade public to back interim leadership.

By Mark Mazzetti, LA Times Staff Writer

November 9, 2004; LATimes.com

WASHINGTON — U.S. troops captured Saddam Hussein, killed his much-loathed sons and handed power over to an Iraqi interim government. But none of that succeeded in tipping Iraqi public opinion decisively in favor of the United States.

Now, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials say they are hoping that crushing militants in Fallouja will serve as a milestone for winning the backing of the Iraqi public and deflating the lethal insurgency.

The Grim Calculations of Retaking Fallujah

Capturing the city could mean a Sunni election boycott, but leaving it in rebel hands would also jeopardize the poll

By TONY KARON (time.com, Monday, Nov. 08, 2004)

Allawi plays for high stakes using force to ensure elections

By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
(Filed: November 9, 2004) (London Telegraph)

During a surprise visit to members of Iraq's new army he (Allawi) said he had personally authorised US forces to clean Fallujah of terrorists.

...Mr Allawi said the attack in Fallujah and the security measures were designed to restore order before Iraq's elections next January.

He is playing for high stakes. If coalition forces are successful in Fallujah, he will have taken an important step in asserting his government authority.

But if the operation fails, or causes heavy civilian casualties, the prime minister could ignite greater resistance.

US looking to Allawi to avoid repeat of last aborted Fallujah offensive

WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (AFP) - The US military was forced to abort its first attempt to retake the restive Iraqi city of Fallujah in April. Now it is counting on Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to avoid a repeat as it sends troops back into the insurgent-held city.

U.S. forces launch ground assault on Fallujah

By Associated Press, 11/8/2004 11:29 (boston.com)

U.S. forces storm into northern districts of Fallujah, opening major assault on insurgent stronghold

By Jim Krane, Associated Press, 11/8/2004 15:14 (boston.com)

Fallujah has painful history at hands of British, U.S. forces
Stronghold has become symbol of insurgency

By Agence France Presse (AFP) Tuesday, November 09, 2004 (The Daily Star, Lebanon)

By striking at this city that has come to symbolize resistance in Iraq, the U.S.-led forces and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi are hoping to break the back of the insurgency so key elections can go ahead more peacefully in January.

...Fallujah, located in the restive mainly Sunni province of Al-Anbar, has a bitter history with the American and British forces.

It has painful memories of its time under British mandate in the 1920's and was also bombed during the 1991 Gulf War.

Overlooked, or perhaps avoided during the war, the city has always simmered - too much to ignore but not enough to require crushing - since the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein in March last year.

Relations with the Americans really deteriorated in April 2003 when U.S. troops opened fire on protesters who demanded that U.S. soldiers not use a school as a base. At least 17 Iraqis were killed.

Missiles rain indiscriminately on Fallujah

November 09 2004 at 02:02AM (Independant online, South Africa)

Fallujah becomes 'like hell'

09/11/2004 07:54 - (news24.com, South Africa)

Fallujah - The skies over Fallujah lit up from the flashes of air and artillery barrages as United States troops launched an offensive to seize key insurgent strongholds in a city that became the major sanctuary for Islamic extremists who fought marines to a standstill last April.

Sunni party withdraws from Iraqi government in protest over Fallujah

By Sameer N. Yacoub, Associated Press, 11/9/2004 02:31

and, in Washington Post

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) A major Sunni political party has quit the interim Iraqi government and revoked its single minister from the Cabinet in protest over the U.S. assault on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, the party's leader said Tuesday.

The Iraqi Islamic Party wields significant influence over the country's Sunni community and its withdrawal from the government will likely be a blow to Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

"We are protesting the attack on Fallujah and the injustice that is inflicted on the innocent people of the city," said Mohsen Abdel-Hamid, head of the Iraqi Islamic Party.


Sunni clerics call for boycott of January elections because of Fallujah attack

By Associated Press, 11/9/2004 09:53 (boston.com)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) A powerful group of Sunni Muslim clerics called Tuesday for a boycott of national elections set for late January ... The group's director, Harith al-Dhari, said the election was being held "over the corpses of those killed in Fallujah and the blood of the wounded."

Fallujah a city of mosques and resistance

Posted on Sun, Nov. 07, 2004

Residents mostly strict Muslims

The Associated Press

Fallujah calls itself the “City of Mosques

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