Iraq: November 11, 2004

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After four days, about 80 percent of Fallujah has been cleared of hostile gunmen. The opposition showed some signs of planning and training, but were greatly outmatched by the American troops who came after them. As has happened in previous urban battles, the U.S. forces systematically moved through the built up areas, killing off the armed opposition as they went. The media had played up the resistance in Fallujah as something special, being capable of giving American troops more of a fight. But this proved, as usual, to be self-inflicted propaganda. The new story line is that "most of the insurgents have fled." That is partially true. The objective of the battle in Fallujah, and other Sunni cities, is to get the areas under the control of Iraqi police. The gunmen in Fallujah were a mixed lot, some of them were criminal gangs, others were motivated by religion. But most were interested in regaining power for the Sunni Arabs. In other words, a successor for Saddam Hussein. With control of  towns and cities, the Sunni Arab gangs can more effectively run their terror campaign. Without these safe havens, the anti-government gunmen are easier to run down and arrest or kill. This is what has happened throughout northern and southern Iraq, as well as most of Baghdad. 

The "resistance" will continue because the people leading it are the same ones who ran Saddam Husseins terror and enforcement operation for decades. These guys have a lot of Iraqi blood on their hands, and their Shia and Kurd victims know who they are. Law and order in the Sunni Arab areas of central Iraq means a round up of the "war criminals" from the Saddam area. So the thugs fight on, as they have little choice. 

 

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