Jewish World Review April 30, 2004 / 9 Iyar, 5764
Memo to White House: Crush the insurgents in Fallujah already
It is puzzling to many Americans, myself among them, why the Bush
administration is hesitating to crush the insurgents in Fallujah. Arabs
tend to regard forbearance as weakness, and the standoff has been portrayed
in most Arab media as a victory for the insurgents.
It is understandable why the Coalition Provisional Authority is approaching
the Muqtada al Sadr, holed up in the Shi'ia holy city of Najaf, as if it
were walking on eggshells. As former CIA Middle East operative Reuel Marc
Gerecht put it: "if we lose the Shi'ia, we lose Iraq."
But the foes we face in Fallujah are Baathists, Sunni Muslim extremists
(most of them foreigners) associated with al Qaida, and just plain
criminals. None of these are beloved by Iraqis in general, or by the Shi'ia
in particular. And these are foes who must be dealt with before the
transfer of power if a fledgling sovereign Iraqi government is to have a
reasonable hope of survival.
A hint of why Bush is keeping the Marines on a leash appeared Monday in a
story on of all, places the web site of al Jazeera, the Qatar-based
television network suspected of being a mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden.
"The cease fire brokered by Iraqi mediators in the Iraqi city of Fallujah
appears to have weakened the fighters battling U.S. Marines while also
creating divisions within the Sunni Muslim community," al Jazeera said.
The al Jazeera story quoted a communique from a group calling themselves the
"Iraqi resistance in Fallujah" as saying the truce was "an inspiration of
Satan because it shifted the balance power in favor of the occupation
In the initial days after the murder and mutilation of four private
contractors March 31st, hundreds of Iraqis, both Sunni and Shi'ia, flocked
to Fallujah to join the resistance, al Jazeera said.
But news of the ceasefire "disorganized the guerrilla movement and the
solidarity movement ran out of steam," al Jazeera quoted a supporter of the
resistance, Abd al-Jabbar Kubaisi, leader of a group called the "National
The truce was brokered by the Islamic Party and the Association of Muslim
scholars, who have come under fire from more radical elements of Sunni
community for dealing with the Marines.
The insurgents have not abided by a key element of the truce, that the
insurgents turn in their heavy weapons. All that's been turned in so far
has been junk, Marine spokesmen say.
A more critical element of the truce which didn't go into effect until
April 27 is a ban on carrying weapons outside. This means that any Iraqi
carrying an AK-47 is fair game for Marine snipers, whether or not he shoots
first. Marine snipers are very good.
Also on April 27, the Marines began joint patrols with Iraqi police and
Iraqi Civil Defense Force soldiers. The web logger "Wretchard," whose web
site, "the Belmont Club," is must reading for those who want serious
strategic analysis of the war on terror, likens this to the use of the
Philippine Scouts in repressing the Moro rebellion in the Philippines a
The most disheartening development in Iraq has been when trouble flared up
this month, half the Iraqi security forces either turned tail or turned
traitor. MajGen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the First Armored Division,
said "about 40 percent walked off the job because they were intimidated and
about 10 percent actually worked against us."
The most encouraging development is that half the Iraqi security forces did
their duty. Democracy can succeed in Iraq only if Iraqis are willing to
take risks to protect it.
If the Iraqi police and Civil Defense troops, stiffened by the presence of
the Marines, perform as well in Fallujah as the Philippine Scouts did in the
1913 battle of Bud Bagsak, where Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing broke
the back of the Moro rebellion, a decisive turning point may be reached,
"The Iraqi nation will be born or fail in Fallujah, but if they succeed, the
words 'Anywhere, Anytime' (the motto of the Philippine Scouts) will be
translated into Arabic," he said.
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
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