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[ 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? http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBZMOXNRYD.html 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 Sunday. 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 active. 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 election." 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 Bodmin Cornwall _______________________________________ 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