Iraq: November 12, 2004


Five days of fighting in and around Fallujah have left 25 American and Iraqi troops dead, as well as over 600 anti-government gunmen. There appears to be some coordination among the anti-government forces. There have been attempts by the anti-government fighters to break the cordon around Fallujah, so that hundreds of trapped gunmen can escape. So far, this has not worked. In Mosul, and elsewhere in central Iraq, gangs of anti-government gunmen attacked  police stations and began openly prowling the streets. Coming out into the open like this, makes it easier to kill off the hostile gunmen. 

The anti-government forces are partially run on illusions. For example, the halting of an American offensive in Fallujah last April is portrayed by anti-government forces as a military victory. This ignores the fact that the fighting was stopped in order to allow for a negotiated return of government control to Fallujah. The anti-government forces never intended to honor any pledges that came out of the negotiations, and portrayed their deception as a victory as well. This shows the cultural differences between the thugs who have run Iraq, and are trying to regain control, and reality. 

Flushed out of their bases, the anti-government forces are much more easily killed, and a lot more quickly. This has an adverse impact on recruiting for the anti-government gangs. Battles like this are a reality check for the young men who have become mesmerized by the pro-Sunni propaganda, which portrays the gangs as valiant freedom fighters who are taking back control of Iraq for the Iraqis. That message is getting harder to sustain, as more and more evidence of Sunni Arab Iraqi atrocities come to light. Pro-Sunni media like al Jazeera find it difficult to shift their editorial slant, but are being forced to by public opinion, and the rather different portrayal of events by Iraqi media. The Sunni Arab gunmen in Iraq have been attacking and killing Iraqi journalists who do not tow the party line, and al Jazeera people are uncomfortable with that as well. Seeing the Sunni Arab gunmen quickly rolled over  by American and Iraqi troops is also a hard story for al Jazeera to cover. 


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