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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi-analysis] Top Commander Says Fight May Be Coming in Fallujah and Other Rebel Areas Before Elections

[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ]

This extract from the article below is quite blunt:

"If you're a leader in a town ... do you want to have to go rebuild
it because it got destroyed, because foreign fighters came to hang
out in your city? They can help us make these decisions," Metz said.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of accountability in the US and UK of
our leaders and their military we are unable to prevent attacks on
civilians and civilian infrastructure. The only hope is if the media
report what is going on.

Any ideas?

By: Jim Krane on: 06.09.2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A U.S. assault on one or more of Iraq's three
main "no-go" areas - including Fallujah - is likely in the next four
months as the Iraqi government prepares to extend control before
elections slated for January, the U.S. land forces commander said

Army Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz's announcement came after a month that
saw attacks on U.S. forces reach an average of almost 100 per day -
the highest level since the end of major combat last year.

Metz, the No. 2 American military leader here, said Iraq's upcoming
general election is the next major milestone in Iraq.

The U.S. military will work to regain control of rebel strongholds
and turn them over to Iraq's fledgling security forces so elections
will be seen by Iraqis - and the world - as free and fair.

"I don't think today you could hold elections," Metz said during an
interview with three reporters at Multinational Corps headquarters
near Baghdad International Airport. "But I do have about four months
where I want to get to local control. And then I've got the rest of
January to help the Iraqis to put the mechanisms in place."

An American military offensive will be needed to bring the toughest
places to heel, Metz said.

The rebel-held western city of Fallujah is the biggest obstacle, he
said. The next biggest problem, in U.S. military terms, is Samarra,
60 miles north of Baghdad - and also in guerrilla hands.

Metz believes the easiest of the three troublespots to regain control
is Baghdad's Shiite Muslim slum of Sadr City. Parts of the
neighborhood of 2 million remain the fiefdom of rebel cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr, whose supporters have wired it with hidden bombs and booby
traps, U.S. officials say.

Besides these centers of rebellion, large sections of Iraq remain
beyond government control and out of reach of elections. These
include Sunni Muslim areas north and west of Baghdad and, perhaps,
southern Shiite cities like Basra, where sections resist U.S. or
British troops.

Assaults to retake these areas could be done consecutively or
simultaneously, Metz said. He said one or more might be solved
through negotiations, with leaders warning that their cities face a
devastating U.S. offensive if the insurgents don't stand down.

"If you're a leader in a town ... do you want to have to go rebuild
it because it got destroyed, because foreign fighters came to hang
out in your city? They can help us make these decisions," Metz said.

The general also said the Americans' August siege of Najaf could be
considered a model for subduing rebel-held areas.

U.S. and Iraqi officials consider the three-week battle a success,
although it left the Shiite holy city in ruins with hundreds of Iraqi
fighters and civilians dead and nine Americans killed. Al-Sadr's
defeated militia fled and the city is now under government control.

Across Iraq, August saw the highest number of attacks on U.S.-led
forces since major combat ended in May 2003. The U.S. military
counted 2,700 attacks last month, averaging 87 per day.

By contrast, July saw 1,600 or 52 per day. In April, the deadliest
month of the war, there were 1,800 attacks on American and allied
troops, or 60 per day.

Separately, the U.S. military acknowledged that previous estimates
placing the number of Iraqi guerrillas at 5,000 were too low. A
military spokesman said Sunday that Iraq is beset by up to 12,000
full-time insurgents, a number that swells when part-timers are

A military source told The Associated Press in July that as many as
20,000 total participate in attacks.

Metz didn't rule out allowing elections in Iraq's government-held
areas without participation by voters in rebel strongholds like
Fallujah. He said polling was critical in Iraq's three biggest
cities, Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. But smaller cities could be left
out, he said.

"That's not our intention," he said. But "I'd envision the Iraqis
could have an election. And if a piece of cancer in the country like
Fallujah didn't participate, it would still ... be a legitimate

The vote is a massive undertaking. Some 10 million eligible voters
need to be registered and around 9,000 polling places across the
country must be set up and protected. Candidates, who have yet to
begin campaigning, need to be able to move across Iraq.

Mark Parkinson

Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list
To unsubscribe, visit
All postings are archived on CASI's website at

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]