Jewish World Review June 29, 2004 / 10 Tamuz, 5764
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
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.
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."
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
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