Uh-oh, Pt. 3

Why has Bremer declared a unilateral cease-fire in Fallujah?

Reuters has grim-sounding news from Iraq, including a report that Bremer has called a unilateral cease-fire in Fallujah and is seeking some sort of talks with the insurgents.

But Reuters does not confirm (nor does anyone else I can find) “River’s” report that all the mosques were calling for jihad. Indeed, this paragraph, as grim as it is, suggests that no general call for jihad has yet gone out:

“America is the big devil and Britain and Blair are the lesser devils,” a preacher at Baghdad’s Um al-Qura mosque told an angry congregation. Reflecting a growing hostility to outsiders, one worshipper said: “When we get the order for jihad (holy war), no foreigner will be safe in Iraq.”

Meanwhile, “River” describes the fighting in Fallujah from an Iraqi perspective.

If Arab News is to be believed — and it claims to be reporting on televised interviews — at least two members of the IGC are harshly criticizing the CPA:

“We are seeing the liquidation of a whole city,” Governing Council member Ghazi Ajil Al-Yawar told Al-Jazeera television, saying he might resign in protest over the treatment of Fallujah. “These operations were a mass punishment for the people of Fallujah,” Adnan Pachachi, one of the most pro-American members of the US-picked Governing Council, told Al-Arabiya TV. “It was not right to punish all the people of Fallujah and we consider these operations by the Americans unacceptable and illegal.”

It sounds as if they’re seeing the same thing “River” sees. If that’s right, Andrew Sullivan’s call for “focussed ferocity” as the solution to all our problems seems … misplaced, to say the least. (And if I were a Christian, I’d think his linking that suggestion to the Resurrection was nothing short of obscene.)

On the other hand, Mohammed of Iraq the Model still thinks the 9th of April is a day to celebrate.

Meantime, I missed this chilling story from the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, April 7 — United States forces are confronting a broad-based Shiite uprising that goes well beyond supporters of one militant Islamic cleric who has been the focus of American counterinsurgency efforts, United States intelligence officials said Wednesday.

That assertion contradicts repeated statements by the Bush administration and American officials in Iraq. On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that they did not believe the United States was facing a broad-based Shiite insurgency. Administration officials have portrayed Moktada al-Sadr, a rebel Shiite cleric who is wanted by American forces, as the catalyst of the rising violence within the Shiite community of Iraq.

But intelligence officials now say that there is evidence that the insurgency goes beyond Mr. Sadr and his militia, and that a much larger number of Shiites have turned against the American-led occupation of Iraq, even if they are not all actively aiding the uprising.

A year ago, many Shiites rejoiced at the American invasion and the toppling of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who had brutally repressed the Shiites for decades. But American intelligence officials now believe that hatred of the American occupation has spread rapidly among Shiites, and is now so large that Mr. Sadr and his forces represent just one element.

Meanwhile, American intelligence has not yet detected signs of coordination between the Sunni rebellion in Iraq’s heartland and the Shiite insurgency. But United States intelligence says that the Sunni rebellion also goes far beyond former Baathist government members. Sunni tribal leaders, particularly in Al Anbar Province, home to Ramadi, the provincial capital, and Falluja, have turned against the United States and are helping to lead the Sunni rebellion, intelligence officials say.

The result is that the United States is facing two broad-based insurgencies that are now on parallel tracks.

The Bush administration has sought to portray the opposition much more narrowly. In the Sunni insurgency, the White House and the Pentagon have focused on the role of the former leaders of the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein’s government, while in the Shiite rebellion they have focused almost exclusively on the role of Mr. Sadr. Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon that the fighting in Iraq was just the work of “thugs, gangs and terrorists,” and not a popular uprising. General Myers added that “it’s not a Shiite uprising. Sadr has a very small following.”

According to some experts on Iraq’s Shiites, the uprising has spread to many Shiites who are not followers of Mr. Sadr. “There is a general mood of anti-Americanism among the people in the streets,” said Ghassan R. al-Attiyah, executive director of the Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy in Baghdad. “They identify with Sadr not because they believe in him but because they have their own grievances.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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