EYE A thousand Fallujahs By Pepe Escobar
"The bombs being dropped
on Fallujah don't contain explosives, depleted uranium
or anything harmful - they contain laughing gas - that
would, of course, explain [Pentagon chief Donald]
Rumsfeld's misplaced optimism about not killing
civilians in Fallujah. Also, being a 'civilian' is a
relative thing in a country occupied by Americans.
You're only a civilian if you're on their side. If you
translate for them, or serve them food in the Green
Zone, or wipe their floors - you're an innocent
civilian. Just about everyone else is an insurgent,
unless they can get a job as a 'civilian'." -
Riverbend, an Iraqi civilian girl, author of the blog
Once again the US has been caught in
a giant spider's web. Fallujah now is a network: it's
Baghdad, Ramadi, Samarra, Latifiyah, Kirkuk, Mosul.
Streets on fire, everywhere: Hundreds, thousands of
Fallujahs - the Mesopotamian echo of a thousand
Vietnams. The Iraqi resistance has even regained control
of a few Baghdad neighborhoods.
Baghdad residents say there are practically no US troops
around, even as regular explosions can be heard all over
the city. Baghdad sources confirm to Asia Times Online
that the mujahideen now control parts of the southern
suburb of ad-Durha, as well as Hur Rajab, Abu Ghraib,
al-Abidi, as-Suwayrah, Salman Bak, Latifiyah and
Yusufiyah - all in the Greater Baghdad area. This would
be the first time since the fall of Baghdad on April 9,
2003, that the resistance has been able to control these
Massive US military might
is useless against a mosque network in full gear. In
a major development not reported by US corporate
media, for the first time different factions of the
resistance have released a joint statement, signed among
others by Ansar as-Sunnah, al-Jaysh al-Islami, al-Jaysh
as-Siri (known as the Secret Army), ar-Rayat as-Sawda
(known as the Black Banners), the Lions of the Two
Rivers, the Abu Baqr as-Siddiq Brigades, and crucially
al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (Unity and Holy War) - the movement
allegedly controlled by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The
statement is being relayed all over the Sunni triangle
through a network of mosques. The message is clear: the
resistance is united.
mujahideen Fallujah civilians have told families
and friends in Baghdad that the US bombing has
been worse than Baghdad suffered in March 2003.
The Fallujah resistance for its part seems to
have made the crucial tactical decision of clearing two
main roads - called Nisan 7 and Tharthar Street - thus
drawing the Americans to a battle in the center of town.
Baghdad sources close to the resistance say that now the
Americans seem to be positioned exactly where the
mujahideen want them. This is leading the resistance to
insist they - and not the Americans, according to the
current Pentagon spin - now control 70% of the city.
There are at least 120 mosques in Fallujah. A consensus is
emerging that almost half of them have been smashed by
air strikes and shelling by US tanks - something that
will haunt the United States for ages. The mosques
stopped broadcasting the five daily calls for prayer,
but Fadhil Badrani, an Iraqi reporter for BBC World
Service in Arabic and one of the very few media
witnesses in Fallujah, writes that "every time a big
bomb lands nearby, the cry rises from the minarets:
'Allahu Akbar' [God is Great]".
also disputes the Pentagon spin: "It is misleading to say
the US controls 70% of the city because the fighters
are constantly on the move. They go from street to
street, attacking the army in some places, letting them
through elsewhere so that they can attack them later. They
say they are fighting not just for Fallujah, but for
all Iraq." The mujahideen tactics are a rotating web -
Ho Chi Minh's and Che Guevara's tactics applied to
urban warfare by the desert: snipers on rooftops,
snipers escaping on bicycles, mortar fire from behind
abandoned houses, rocket-propelled-grenade attacks on tanks,
Bradleys being ambushed, barrages of as many as 200
rockets, instant dispersal, "invisible" regrouping.
Iraq's borders with Syria and Jordan, all
highways except a secondary road leading to the borders,
plus Baghdad's airport, all remain closed. Baghdad in
theory has become an island sealed off from the Sunni
triangle - but not for the resistance, which keeps
slipping inside. Hundreds of Iraqis are stuck on the
Syrian border trying to go back home.
the Iraqi girl blogger quoted above, writes of "rumors
that there are currently 100 cars ready to detonate in
Mosul, being driven by suicide bombers looking for
American convoys. So what happens when Mosul turns into
another Fallujah? Will they also bomb it to the ground?
I heard a report where they mentioned that Zarqawi 'had
probably escaped from Fallujah' ... so where is he now?
He could well be in Ramadi, where hundreds
of heavily armed mujahideen now control the
city center - with no US troops in
Tough tactics The Pentagon is
pulling out all stops to "liberate" the people of
Fallujah. According to residents, the city is now
littered with thousands of cluster bombs. In an
explosive accusation - and not substantiated - an
Iraqi doctor who requested anonymity has told al-Quds
Press that "the US occupation troops are gassing
resistance fighters and confronting them with
internationally banned chemical weapons". The
Washington Post has confirmed that US troops are firing
white-phosphorus rounds that create a screen of fire
impervious to water.
Dr Muhammad Ismail, a
member of the governing board of Fallujah's general
hospital "captured" by the Americans at the outset of
Operation Phantom Fury, has called all Iraqi doctors for
urgent help. Ismail told Iraqi and Arab press that the
number of wounded civilians is growing exponentially -
and medical supplies are almost non-existent. He
confirmed that US troops had arrested many members of
the hospital's medical staff and had sealed the storage
of medical supplies.
wounded in Fallujah are in
essence left to die. There is not a single surgeon
in town. And practically no doctors as well, as the
Pentagon decided to bomb both the al-Hadar Hospital and
the Zayid Mobile Hospital. So far, the International
Committee of the Red Cross has reacted with thunderous
The Sunni revolution When a
few snipers are capable of holding scores of marines for
a day in Fallujah - an eerie replay of the second part
of Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket - and
when eight of 10 US divisions are bogged down by a
few thousand Iraqis with Kalashnikovs and grenade
launchers, the fact is the US does not control anything in
Sunni Iraq. It does not control towns, cities, roads, and
it barely controls the Green Zone, the American fortress
in Baghdad that is the ultimate symbol of the occupation.
In 1999, the Russians bombed and
destroyed Grozny, the Chechen capital, a city of
originally 400,000 people. Five years later, Chechen
guerrillas are still trapping Russian troops in a living
hell there. The same scenario will be replayed in
Fallujah - a city of originally 300,000 people. All this
destruction - which any self-respecting international
lawyer can argue is a war crime - for the Bush
administration to send a brutal message: either you're
with us or we'll smash you to pieces.
resistance does not care if thousands of mujahideen are
smashed to pieces: it is actually gearing up for a major
strategic victory. The strategy is twofold: half of the
Fallujah resistance stayed behind, ready to die like
martyrs, increasing the already boiling-point hatred of
Americans in Iraq and the Middle East and boosting their
urban support. The other half left before Phantom Fury
and is already setting fires in Baghdad, Tikrit, Ramadi,
Baquba, Balad, Kirkuk, Mosul and even Shi'ite Karbala.
They may be decimated little by little. But the
fact is Sunni Iraqis are more than ever aware they are
excluded from the Bush administration's "democratic"
plans for Iraq. The only Sunni political party in
interim premier Iyad Allawi's "government" is now out.
And the powerful Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) -
the foremost Sunni religious body - is now officially
boycotting the January elections. There are unconfirmed
reports that Sheikh Abdullah al-Janabi, the head of the
mujahideen shura (council) in Fallujah and a very
prominent AMS member, died when his mosque, Saad ibn Abi
Wakkas, was bombed.
The Sunni Iraqi resistance
is now configuring itself as a full-fledged revolution.
According to sources in Baghdad, the leaders of the
resistance believe there's no other way for them to
expel the American invaders and subsequently be restored
to power - especially because if elections are held in
January, the Shi'ites are certain to win. Contemplating
the dogs of civil war barking in the distance, no wonder
Baghdad's al-Zaman newspaper is so somber: "Iraq will
remain a sleeping volcano, even if the state of
emergency is extended forever."
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