The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq (CASI).
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [CASI Homepage]
[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] [A] 'Submit or die': latest briefing from Voices in the Wilderness UK [B] TAKE ACTION: Emergency demos this Saturday (17th April) in London and Edinburgh + Contact your MP + Nonviolent Direct Action. ************************************* [A] ‘SUBMIT OR DIE': The siege of Fallujah and beyond. A Voices in the Wilderness UK briefing 13th April 2004 Roughly 800 Iraqis have been killed in the latest escalation of US/UK repression and killing in Iraq. In the first of series of emergency updates voices uk looks at what’s likely to happen next and the mind-set of some of the US soldiers fighting in Iraq. A PROLONGED CAMPAIGN OR NEGOTIATIONS? Though a fragile – and incomplete - ‘cease-fire’ is apparently still in place in Fallujah (AP, 12 April) on Sunday the New York Times reported that, ‘American commanders are preparing for a prolonged campaign to quell the twin uprisings in Iraq … retaking the cities around Baghdad, if necessary block by block against an entrenched Sunni foe’ and conducting ‘a series of short, sharp, local strikes at small, elusive bands of Shiite militia in southern cities, continuing until the militia was wiped out’ (11 April). However also on Sunday - in what the LA Times described as ‘a significant tactical shift’ - US officials announced that they were ‘seeking “political” solutions to pacify [Fallujah]’ and disband firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ’s militia ‘[a]s guerrillas appeared to extend their influence closer to [Baghdad] … shooting down an Apache helicopter about 3 miles from Baghdad's airport and cutting off communications between military posts on a key road leading west from the city’ (12 April). At the same time ‘additional U.S. forces have been maneuvering into place, and the military has warned it will launch an all-out assault on Fallujah if talks there between pro-U.S. Iraqi politicians and city officials … fall through’ (AP, 12 April). OR BOTH? Noting that, ‘not a single American journalist has investigated the links between the Israeli army's “rules of engagement” - so blithely handed over to US forces on Sharon's orders - and the behaviour of the US military in Iraq,’ veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk reminds us that, ‘[i]n besieging cities - when they were taking casualties or the number of civilians killed was becoming too shameful to sustain - the Israeli army would call a “unilateral suspension of offensive operations”. They did this 11 times after they surrounded Beirut in 1982’ (Independent, 11 April). It is possible that this is what we are seeing right now: on Monday the top US commander in the Middle East ‘called for at least two more brigades – up to 10,000 troops – to be sent to help quell the upheaval – and the most senior US general in Iraq declared that ‘the mission of US forces is to kill of capture Moqtada al-Sadr’ (Guardian, 13 April). However even if negotiations ‘succeed’ they are likely to provide only a temporary reprieve. According to the New York Times, ‘Pentagon policy makers and military officers … are worried that without a successful political process … the current military operations to restore order [sic] throughout restive Sunni and Shiite cities may have to be repeated in months to c ome’ (12 April). “[U]nless the political side keeps up, we’ll have to do it again after July 1 [when ‘sovereignty’ is nominally being transferred to an Iraqi Interim Government] and maybe in September and again next year and again and again,” a military officer told the paper. However, since the US continues to pursue what the Financial Times’s Middle East editor correctly identified as its ‘desire to control Iraq’s political transition while making it appear that it is driven by Iraqis’ (17 Jan) the prospects of ‘a successful political process’ are, to put it mildly, bleak. ‘SUBMIT OR DIE’ According to the Washington Post US marines are ‘eager to plunge back into the fray’ in Fallujah. Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, who commands the 5th Marine Battalion there told the paper that ‘Given the virulent nature of the enemy, the prospect of some city father walking in and getting Joe Jihadi to give himself up is pretty slim … That’s fine, because they’ll get whipped up, come out fighting again and get mowed down ... Their only choices are to submit or die’ (11 April). To be sure, the men, women and children of Fallujah do appear to have been ‘mowed down’ in large numbers. On Sunday the director of the town’s general hospital, Rafie al-Issawi, estimated – on the basis of figures gathered from four clinics around the city as well as the hospital itself - that more than 600 people had been killed and that ‘the vast majority of the dead were women, children and the elderly’ (Guardian, 12 April). SNIPERS: 'TRAINED TO BE PRECISE' Lt. Col. Byrne denies this, stating that, ‘95% of those were military age males that were killed in the fighting.’ Indeed, according to Lt. Col. Byrne, ‘the marines are trained to be precise in their firepower … [and are] very good at what they do’ (Guardian, 12 April). Those who have managed to flee the city have been able to give some examples of this precision. For example, Mohammed Hadi, who told the Telegraph that, ‘US marines snipers had taken up position in the minarets of a local mosque and shot dead his neighbour.’ “He was just on his way to buy tomatoes,” he told the paper. And 17-year-old Hassan Monem, who claimed that two of his friends ‘were shot as they stood in my yard.’ Likewise, Ali, 28, who had managed to escape with part of his family, related how “one man in an Opel drove his wife and children to the bridge so they would walk over. As he drove back to town, an American sniper killed him” (Guardian, 12 April). Meanwhile US author Rahul Majahan, who managed to get into Fallujah during the ‘ceasefire’, found ‘[a]n ambulance with two neat, precise bullet-holes in the windshield on the driver's side, pointing down at an angle that indicated they would have hit the driver's chest’ and ‘another ambulance again with a single, neat bullet-hole in the windshield’ (EmpireNotes.org weblog, 12 April entry) ‘CHANGE THE CHANNEL’ The US has come up with a novel method for dealing with the PR problems associated with killing large numbers of Iraqis civilians. Asked on Sunday, what he would tell Iraqis about televised images “of Americans and coalition soldiers killing innocent civilians,” Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the senior military spokesman in Iraq answered “Change the channel.”’ (NYT, 12 April). “[S]tations … showing Americans intentionally killing women and children are not legitimate news sources,” he asserted. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it does not appear to be working. ‘NOW EVERYONE BELONGS TO THE RESISTANCE’ According to Johnathan Steele, ‘[h]undreds of families have driven out of Falluja over the last two days … The stories they tell have a common theme: how the Americans used to be good when they first arrived in Falluja, how arrogance and in sensitivity gradually alienated people, and how now under the pressure of so many deaths almost everyone supports the resistance, the mojahedin.’ (Guardian, 12 April). One such, Adnan Abid, a 35-year-old taxi driver from Fallujah, explained to the Telegraph that “I used to believe it was a good thing the Americans came to Iraq. Now I have lost all hope until the occupation ends” (12 April). His wife, Hakima, added “There was little resistance in Fallujah before this week …Now everyone belongs to the resistance.” Outside a Fallujah school 16-year-old Soran Karim told the New York Times that ‘killing Americans was not just a good thing’: “It is the best thing. They are infidels, they are aggressive, they are hunting our people” (11 April). ‘MINI-FALLUJAHS FOR MONTHS’ ‘Falluja captured the world’s headlines,’ the Guardian’s Johnathan Steele notes ‘but all over the Sunni areas there have been mini-Fallujas for months. US troops respond to attacks with artillery fire and air strikes, clumsy house-to-house searches, and mass arrests. In the process they create more enemies and provoke a desire for revenge. “We have even lost our right to get undressed for bed," a businessman in the town of Muqdadiya,” told him ‘recount[ing] how American troops had burst into his home after dark, handcuffed him in his night clothes in front of his terrified wife and children, and taken him away … His ordeal was short compared with the torture he suffered … under Saddam … but he said it left a deeper wound. “Under Saddam they summoned you to the security police headquarters, and that was where the torture began. They didn't humiliate you in sight of your family,” he explained.’ (Guardian, 12 April). Abdul Razak al-Muaimy, a 32-year-old laborer, told the New York Times that American soldiers had humiliated him in front of his children: “They searched my house. They kicked my Koran. They speak to me so poorly in front of my children. It's not that I encourage my son to hate Americans. It's not that I make him want to join the resistance. Americans do that for me.” (11 April). PICKED UP FOR 'WEARING BLACK’ Similar stories abound. Thus David Blair notes the ‘gleams of loathing’ lighting up the eyes of two Iraqis, who had been found, unarmed in Central Baghdad and were now ‘squatting in the dust their hands tied by plastic restraints’ (Telegraph, 10 April). “We picked up these guys for wearing black,” explained one soldier from the 1st Armoured Division. “All of Sadr's guys wear black. It's like a Viet Cong thing.” ‘Gunmen loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi'ite leader, do indeed wear black,’ Blair notes ‘But so do Shi'ite pilgrims - and hundreds of thousands are now converging on … Najaf and Karbala for the Shi'ite festival of Arba'een. Saddam Hussein's regime … rounded up pilgrims around the time of Arba'een by the simple expedient of arresting men in black.’ Plus ca change. ‘NOT CONCERNED ABOUT ... IRAQI LOSS OF LIFE’ In an e-mail quoted in the New York Times, Maj Gen James N. Hattis, commander of the First Marine Division, states that “We will always be humanitarian in our efforts. We will fight him on our terms. May God help them when we’re done with them” (11 April). Others are less sanguine about the US approach. For example, a senior UK army officer, who has told the Sunday Telegraph that “when US troops are attacked with mortars in Baghdad they use mortar-locating radar to find the firing point and then attack the general area with artillery, even though the area they are attacking may be in the middle of a densely populated residential area … They are not concerned about the Iraqi loss of life in the way the British are’, ‘they view [Iraqis] as untermenschen [the Nazi expression for “sub-humans”]. Their attitude towards the Iraqis is tragic, it’s awful’ (11 April). Based on ‘statements on individual incidents by the US military, Iraqi police and hospital officials’ Associated Press estimates that ‘about 880 Iraqis [have been] killed around the country’ over the past week (AP, 12 April) whilst the Independent on Sunday estimates the Iraqi civilian death toll for the period 4-10 April at 541, with over 1370 civilians injured (11 April). By contrast US military deaths were placed at 36, and non-US military deaths at 16. ACT NOW Last October Kofi Annan observed that ‘as long as there’s an occupation, the resistance will grow’ (IHT, 15 Oct). ‘[US] commanders say they have no doubt they can achieve [military success], given their force’s superior strength and enough support from Washington and the American people’ (NYT, 11 April, emphasis added). We can and must deprive the US (and the British) Government of that support for without an end to the US/UK military occupation the future for Iraq’s people looks grim indeed. Voices UK has been campaigning on UK policy towards Iraq, in solidarity with the Iraqi people, since February 1998. For more information, to receive further updates or to join our free mailing list please contact: voices in the wilderness uk, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX. Tel. 0845 458 2564 (local rate call) E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.voicesuk.org [A PDF version of this briefing, to print and distribute, will be available shortly on the Voices web-site: www.voicesuk.org] ********************************** [B] TAKE ACTION! Demos. have already taken place in London (see eg. http://www.voices.netuxo.co.uk/emergency.htm) and in over fifty towns and cities across the US (http://www.voices.netuxo.co.uk/emergency.htm#answer). Please let us know of any forthcoming actions in your area in addition to the ones below.  The Stop the War Coalition has called an Emergency Lobby 10 Downing Street: GIVE IRAQ BACK TO THE IRAQIS! Saturday 17 April, 12-2pm, outside 10 Downing Street, Whitehall, Central London. Tubes: Westminster, Charing X. Called by Stop the War Coalition. Supported by CND and the Muslim Association of Britain. www.stopwar.org.uk  The Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition have also called an emergency demo. for next Saturday: Stop the Massacres in Falluja, End the US & British occupation of Iraq, Bring the British Soldiers Home with the Spanish. Saturday April 17th 12.00 noon, Parliament Square, Edinburgh http://www.edinburghstw.org.uk  Contact your MP. Even if she/he is completely useless you need to contact them in order to 'shake the tree' so that public outrage can filter up the system. ** You can find an alphabetical list of MPs, including (where they have them) their web-sites, e-mails etc... on-line at: http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alms.cfm ** If you know your postcode you can also fax your MP on-line using http://www.faxyourmp.org ** If you want to leave a message for Jack Straw, the main switchboard # at the Foreign Office for general enquiries is 020 7008 1500. ** You can fax the Prime Minister on 020 7925 0918 or send him an e-mail via http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page821.asp. Alternatively you can write to him at 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA ** You can phone the Defence Attache's Office at the US embassy by calling (0207) 894 0745, fax it on 020 7894-0726 or e-mail WereszczynskaAM@state.gov. According to the Embassy's web-site (http://www.usembassy.org.uk/dao/index.html) the DAO 'performs representational functions on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretaries of the Military Services, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chiefs of the U.S. Military Services and the Commander of European Command. The Defense & Naval Attaché at the American Embassy, London is Captain David L. Wirt, USN.' ** Contact the MoD: a list of contacts is available on-line at http://www.mod.uk/contacts/index.html. You can write to them at Ministerial Correspondence Unit, Ministry of Defence, Room 220, Old War Office, Whitehall, London SW1A 2EU or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org (including your postal address).  Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Disobedience. * Use the internet resources that are out there to organise your own action eg. http://www.j-n-v.org/pledge/activists.htm and http://www.schnews.org.uk/diyguide/. * Keep your ear to the ground and take part in actions organised by others eg. http://www.voices.netuxo.co.uk/events.html, www.stopwar.org.uk, www.schnews.org.uk and www.indymedia.org.uk. _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk