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[casi] cheering maidens

Thanks Salwa for letting us know about Al Jazeera being up.

We hear only a little bit here in the UK about the lack of Iraqi
support for the 'liberators'. TV likes to show UK soldiers playing
football with Iraqis and things like that. We also get lots of UK
government misinformation eg Iraqis reticent after 1991, militia
ready to shoot them, no experience of freedom.

We need to expose this to try and get a halt to this war:

1)      a long war will quickly lead to civilian deaths

2)      resistance will lead to more casualties.

Iraq tackles coalition superiority with unorthodox tactics

Iason Athanasiadis

The Iraqi army has abandoned conventional stratagems and is hitting
coalition forces with a range of stratagems that are proving more
effective than traditional methods of warfare.

US war planners have been instituting stringent new measures to
better respond to changed tactics from an Iraqi side that is
utilising guerrilla-style attacks to considerable effect.

In addition to hitting Anglo-American troops with a human bomb on
Saturday, Iraqi irregulars are increasingly seeking to sidestep the
main advance and hit the coalition’s frail supply lines.

Since Saturday, when a man driving a taxi killed four US soldiers by
setting off a bomb at a key military checkpoint outside the southern
city of Najaf, Anglo-American forces have stepped up their vigilance.

New security measures include razing trees at checkpoints to improve
visibility and stopping cars some distance away to reduce the
possibility of being hit by a blast.

US soldiers deployed at the checkpoint hit by the human bomb outside
Najaf are now turning back all cars coming from the north, not just
those suspected of containing fighters, as was the case before the

"They have five seconds to turn around and get out of here," said an
angry Lieutenant Colonel Scott Rutter, commander of the Third
Infantry Division batallion which lost the four men.

Iraq’s army rapidly came to terms with the realisation that
stationary battles of the type fought in the 1991 Gulf War are
hopeless against a technologically superior opponent.
Volunteers to fight in Iraq set off from Lebanon.

The shift from static, Soviet-style warfare to highly mobile
guerrilla, counter-insurgency tactics has led US commanders to the
conclusion that occupying Baghdad in one swift thrust may not lead to
the swift surrender of other cities.

"The easiest solution hasn't worked but that doesn't mean the plan
was a failure," he said Michael Codner of Britain's Royal United
Services Institute for Defence Studies.

"It's worth trying a high-risk high-payoff strategy provided you've
got a plan B to fall back on. The problem is if you have no plan B.
That's what we saw in Kosovo when there was no armed invasion force
in place right at the beginning," Codner said.

As more Iraqis head back to their country from Jordan, bypassing the
tents set up by international organisations for the expected refugee
outflow, commentators are coming to the conclusion that they are
motivated more by hatred of the invaders than love for President

Robert Baer, a former CIA Middle East operative, has corroborated
reports that Iraqis are crossing into Iraq by car and bus from Jordan
and Syria in order to fight on the side of the Iraqi government.

“Everybody wants to fight. The whole nation of Iraq is fighting to
defend Iraq. Not Saddam. They’ve been given the high sign, and we are
courting disaster. If we take fifty or sixty casualties a day and
they die by the thousands, they’re still winning. It’s a jihad, and
it’s a good thing to die. This is no longer a secular war.”

The challenge of limiting contact between soldiers in the field and
Iraqi civilians, even as they try to win over their ‘hearts and
minds’, is becoming increasingly apparent even as British troops
conduct often violent house-to-house searches in Basra.

"The unexpected thing has been the lack of support for the invasion,"
Hopkinson said. "An awful lot was posited on the idea of cheering
maidens throwing flowers at the invading troops, and that's not
happened, even in the south."

“It's certainly not going to happen near Baghdad," he added.

So far, the United States has shied away from using all its
destructive capabilities in a bid to preserve Iraq's infrastructure.
No one has yet suggested it may be necessary to destroy Baghdad in
order to save it, in the inimitable language of the 1965-75 Vietnam

To do so would put Iraqi "hearts and minds" forever beyond
Washington's reach. --- Al Jazeera with agency inputs

Mark Parkinson

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