Sunday | July 06, 2003
"That is what you get for working with the Americans"
By Steve Gilliard
Seven Iraqi policemen killed in bomb blast as resistance to coalition grows
A powerful bomb killed seven Iraqi police recruits and injured 54 others yesterday just after they had finished a five-day training course with US instructors in Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad.
The explosion happened as the newly trained police were marching from a local boys' school to a nearby government building. Eight US police instructors, who had been in charge of the training programme, were not present when the bomb exploded.
Not a coincidence.
The resistance is sending a message: we will kill collaborators and leave their American masters alone.
A scary, effective message when combined with daytime assassinations at close range.
The US Army and Marines spends millions to train and develop snipers, because killing someone at arm's length is intensely bold and extremely dangerous. You either have to be young, stupid or very brave to do such a thing. It is much better and safer to shoot them from far away, at least for the shooter.
Viceroy Jerry calls them "desperate men", but I'd call them fearless. Which is a bad, bad thing.
What we're watching is the begining of a war resembling the Algerian War
To increase international and domestic French attention to their struggle, the FLN decided to bring the conflict to the cities and to call a nationwide general strike. The most notable manifestation of the new urban campaign was the Battle of Algiers, which began on September 30, 1956, when three women placed bombs at three sites including the downtown office of Air France. The ALN carried out an average of 800 shootings and bombings per month through the spring of 1957, resulting in many civilian casualties and inviting a crushing response from the authorities. The 1957 general strike, timed to coincide with the UN debate on Algeria, was imposed on Muslim workers and businesses. General Jacques Massu, who was instructed to use whatever methods were necessary to restore order in the city, frequently fought terrorism with acts of terrorism. Using paratroopers, he broke the strike and systematically destroyed the FLN infrastructure there. But the FLN had succeeded in showing its ability to strike at the heart of French Algeria and in rallying a mass response to its appeals among urban Muslims. Moreover, the publicity given the brutal methods used by the army to win the Battle of Algiers, including the widespread use of torture, cast doubt in France about its role in Algeria.
Despite complaints from the military command in Algiers, the French government was reluctant for many months to admit that the Algerian situation was out of control and that what was viewed officially as a pacification operation had developed into a major colonial war.
It's not a direct parallel, obviously, and there is no evidence that there is a mass movement, but the parallels are growing daily. Enough to cause a great deal of worry. What should worry the CPA is not just the lack of security, but the lack of internal allies. The resistance is throttling even basic attempts as security in a way which makes even police services unlikely. Anyone who works with the Americans will be attacked and that makes the CPA useless.
Notice the Shia clerics remain ghostlike as this goes on. They could make it very easy for the US to recruit from their mosques and form police forces. This would force the Sunnis to go along or lose control of the police. But they remain silent and those who speak want little to do with the US and anything coming from the CPA.
In Iraq, it pays to watch who remains silent as well as who speaks. Saddam may do the talking, but Sistani, Hakim and Sadr bide their time and tongues. And both have an effect.