Thursday, November 18, 2004

Fallujah flattened: "On the humanitarian front, Fallujah is a tragedy. The city has virtually been reduced to rubble. Remaining residents, the Red Cross confirms, are eating roots and burying the dead in their gardens. There's no medicine in the hospitals to help anybody. The wounded are left to die in the streets - their remains to be consumed by packs of stray dogs. As, a Europe-wide collective, puts it, 'World governments, international organizations, nobody raises a finger to stop the killing.' The global reaction is apathy."

"[The US-installed CIA asset, the 'prime minister'] Allawi insists on the record that not a single civilian has died in Fallujah. Obviously nobody in his cabinet told him what Baghdad is talking about - the hundreds of rotting corpses in the streets, the thousands of civilians still trapped inside their homes, starving, many of them wounded, with no water and no medical aid. And nobody has told him of dozens of children now in Baghdad's Naaman hospital who lost their limbs, victims of US air strikes and artillery shells."

"Dr Asma Khamis al-Muhannadi of Fallujah's general hospital, invaded and "captured" by the marines. She confirmed that "we were tied up and beaten despite being unarmed and having only our medical instruments"; and that the hospital was targeted by bombs and rockets during the initial siege of Fallujah. When the marines came she "was with a woman in labor. The umbilical cord had not yet been cut. At that time, a US soldier shouted at one of the [Iraqi] National Guards to arrest me and tie my hands while I was helping the mother to deliver. I will never forget this incident in my life."

"Crucially, Dr al-Muhannadi also confirmed that American snipers killed more than 17 Iraqi doctors who had mobilized to answer an appeal from Fallujah's doctors broadcast on al-Jazeera: information on the massacre has been circulating in Baghdad for days."

"The resistance says that dozens of marine snipers have taken six or seven positions along Tharthar Street, the main street leading to Ramadi, and a few buildings overlooking the Euphrates in western Fallujah. But residents seem to be free to move in the narrow alleyways: the Americans only control the main roads. According to resistance reports, the mujahideen are constantly changing their positions, moving apparently undetected inside the areas they still control and reinforcing different neighborhoods with more cells of five to 20 fighters each."

"The political infrastructure in Iraq controlled by the Ba'ath Party for many decades has integrated most of the Islamic resistance groups under its command with great efficiency. It has also managed to infiltrate and smash the Iraqi counterinsurgency force that the Americans were trying to assemble. The new counterinsurgency field manual means that unlike Vietnam, counterinsurgency is now being conducted by marines and GIs. Intuitively, the totally alienated population of the Sunni triangle (the "water") has already identified the threat."

" In a press conference in Baghdad, Allawi's Interior Minister Faleh Hassan al-Naqib finally was forced to admit what Asia Times Online and an array of independent media have been reporting since the spring of 2003: that the resistance spans the whole Sunni heartland, not only Fallujah and the Sunni triangle (a lot of "water" for a few thousand "fish"); that the resistance is unified under some form of central command and control, and is not a bunch of uncoordinated groups; that the majority, at least 95%, are Iraqis, and not "foreign fighters" (thus ridiculing the Pentagon's designation of the resistance as "anti-Iraqi forces"); that former Ba'ath Party officials and former Iraqi army officers are essential protagonists; and that they have prepared for urban guerrilla warfare long before the US invasion."

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