Jewish World Review June 29, 2004 / 10 Tamuz, 5764

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Reigning optimism | Iraq has a new government, acceptable to us, blessed by the United Nations and NATO, and apparently popular with most Iraqis. (A poll commissioned by the Coalition Provisional Authority indicated 73 percent of Iraqis approve of Prime Minister Iwad Allawi, and 84 percent approve of President Ghazi al Yawer.)

Public opinion in Iraq has turned sharply against the former Saddam loyalists and al Qaida in the wake the murder of six Shi'a youths in Fallujah June 5th, and of attacks in Baghdad, Mosul, Ramadi and Baquba June 24th that killed more than 100, all but three of them Iraqis.

In Muslim worship services in Karbala last Friday, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the leading Shi'ia Muslim cleric in Iraq, called Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the al Qaida leader in Iraq, "filthy infidels."

"Which religion allows anyone to kill more than 100 Iraqis, destroy 100 families and destroy 100 houses?" said Ahmed Samarrae, a Sunni cleric, at his mosque in Baghdad.

In Baquba, clerics said Iraqis were being attacked by "foreigners," and urged the faithful not to support them.

"This is the first time we have heard the minaret broadcast support for the Iraqi government, Edward Messmer, the CPA coordinator for the Baquba region, told the Washington Post.

From the terrorists' point of view, the attacks June 24th accomplished little other than infuriating huge numbers of Iraqis.

"A group of mostly foreign insurgents, led by a Jordanian terrorist (Zarqawi), launched open attacks against Iraqi police stations and security checkpoints in five Iraqi towns," said the web logger "Lt. Smash," a naval reservist who served in Iraq/Kuwait last year. "Their objective appears to have been to seize weapons and ammunition, and to deter the local population from supporting the new government. By noon, fighters in four of the five towns had been defeated or repelled."

The fifth town was Baquba, were insurgents held a police station for nearly a day before being driven off — with heavy losses — by soldiers of the First Infantry Division.

Meanwhile, three precision air strikes against Zarqawi's network in Fallujah failed to kill Zarqawi, but indicated the intelligence U.S. forces are receiving from Fallujah is improving.

Donate to JWR

The experiment in Iraqi self-policing in Fallujah is widely regarded as a failure. The evidence is overwhelming that Zarqawi and the Saddam loyalists for whom Fallujah has long been a stronghold have set up a mini-Taliban there, and that members of the Fallujah Brigade and the Iraqi police in Fallujah either are intimidated by them, or are in league with them.

But the failure is remedial, and the experiment may have been necessary.

Prime Minister Allawi has said he might declare martial law in portions of Iraq. Fallujah is a prime candidate. The viper's nest in Fallujah cannot be taken down without massive support from the U.S. military. But an attack on Fallujah in July or August would come at the request of a sovereign Iraqi government, with the support of an overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people. This was not the case in April.

Time will tell if the June 24 attacks were the al Qaida/Baathist equivalent of the Tet Offensive, or if they have some more big punches left to throw. The transfer of power from the Coalition Provisional Authority to the Allawi government took place two days early, quietly, in order to deny the terrorists a target, and to present them with a fait accompli.

This upset some media bigwigs. Robert Alt of Ashland University was in the press room in Baghdad when the announcement of the transfer was made. "I can tell you that there were flacks who were visibly angry at being 'duped,'" Alt said.

But the Iraqi web logger Omar thought the timing was "brilliant," and most of his countrymen with whom he talked agreed. "Most of the people I met in the streets (of Baghdad) were delighted by this news, and I saw a lot of optimism in their faces," Omar said.

"We are defeating them," said the Iraqi web logger Ays. "It's clear from their new attempts that they are helpless now. They are unable to break our will. Iraq and the coalition are now ready to thwart any attack."

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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.

Jack Kelly Archives

© 2004, Jack Kelly