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Dear Casi <<Seventy-nine percent of 3,244 Iraqis polled by British firm Oxford Research International had no confidence in US-led forces occupying Iraq, despite satisfaction at the ouster of Saddam Hussein.>> Best regards Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar Baghdad, occupied Iraq ----- Original Message ----- From: <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 1:12 AM Subject: AFP-MAIL : US-Iraq-analysis,sched > US-Iraq-analysis,sched > Bloodshed, religous politics put US Iraq policy on spot > by Stephen Collinson > > WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (AFP) - Despite vows of no surrender in Iraq, the United > States has been thrust into a painful military dilemma by a swelling > insurgency, days after a top Shiite cleric ambushed its new political strategy. > Analysts here say the Bush administration faces a "no-win" decision on > whether to turn up the heat on insurgents which have turned their fury on its > foreign and Iraqi allies. > But more robust military operations risk catching civilians in the > crossfire and further souring the populace's view of the occupation. > Intense pressure is also weighing on US political strategy in Iraq, after > the religious leader of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority demanded immediate > elections -- in a direct challenge to US plans for an accelerated transfer of > power. > Bush aides vow they will not be bullied into retreat after a weekend > stained by bloody firefights between rebels and US forces and the killings of > seven Spaniards, two South Koreans, two Japanese, and a Colombian linked to > the reconstruction effort. > But Simon Serfaty, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in > Washington said US forces were in a "lose-lose" situation as battles with > insurgents heat up. > "You cannot afford to remain passive in the face of a growing number of > attacks against coalition forces, so you have got to rattle them a bit. > "At the same time, inevitably, you inflict some civilian casualties ... > that creates bad will on the part of the populace." > The choice was laid bare in the Iraqi city of Samarra, after US forces > unleashed a ferocious counterattack after an attempted ambush, killing at > least 54 people, eight of whom were said to be civilians. > "We are going to continue to take the fight to this enemy," said Colonel > Frederick Rudesheim, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team involved in the > combat. > There is no other choice, said Dana Dillon, of the conservative Heritage > Foundation. > "It is always a risk when you are taking the fight to an insurgency that > you are going to overstep a boundary somewhere if not by policy, at least by > accident. > "But the danger of not doing something is greater." > Anecdotal evidence challenges American rhetoric that insurgent "thugs" > don't speak for a majority supportive of the US effort. > Seventy-nine percent of 3,244 Iraqis polled by British firm Oxford Research > International had no confidence in US-led forces occupying Iraq, despite > satisfaction at the ouster of Saddam Hussein. > Unease among US allies may also be growing, after attacks on contractors, > police, soldiers and diplomats linked to the occupation after previous strikes > on the United Nations and Iraqis cooperating with the Americans. > The deaths come with the Bush administration still resisting the > international dimension needed to legitimize reconstruction in Iraq, critics > said. > "The problem is they are trying to internationalize it on US terms," said > Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies. > "They are not internationalizing the power, all they are internationalizing > is the color of the corpses." > US plans to speed up a transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis may also be in > trouble. > A top Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, last week demanded > immediate elections at all levels of the Iraqi administration, rejecting US > arguments that polls were impossible before 2005. > "The reality is one person, one vote does mean a Shia majority in Iraq -- > that is the nature of the country," said Bennis. > US policy could then be "caught in a bind between wanting to have something > that they can call democracy and wanting to be sure that it is a pro-American > result," she said. > "They may be forced to chose one or the other." > But the State Department insisted Monday there would be no change to the US > plan to hand power to a government designated by a transitional authority, > chosen by caucuses of selected notables. > "The plan of November 15th, the agreement that we and the governing council > reached remains in place," said spokesman Richard Boucher. > Vibrancy in the insurgency has reverberated around Washington's political > echo-chamber, less than a year after President George W. Bush faces voters. > Senator Hillary Clinton, just back from a trip to Iraq overshadowed by > Bush's own Thanksgiving Day flight into Baghdad, suggested the administration > had more than one eye on domestic politics. > "The administration is intent upon some kind of exit strategy, some kind of > transition before our elections." > col/ceh/ > > _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk