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Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Falluja bomb attack kills five

Simon Jeffery and agencies
Tuesday October 28, 2003

Four civilians and a suspected suicide bomber were today reported killed in Iraq as aid agencies and non-governmental organisations considered their future in the country.

The five died when a small car driven by one man - thought to be the bomber - exploded 100 metres from the main police station in the town of Falluja, 40 miles west of Baghdad, the Reuters news agency reported.

The attack comes one day after a strike on the Iraqi headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and three Baghdad police stations that killed 35 people and wounded 244 others within an hour, in the city's bloodiest day since it fell to US forces in April.

It brings the death toll from bomb attacks since yesterday morning to 40 people. The dead include eight Iraqi policemen, at least 30 Iraqi civilians and a US soldier.

The bomb attacks have again highlighted the lack of security in parts of Iraq and heightened concern that the forces ranged against the occupation are prepared to attack targets that may otherwise be considered neutral.

It's really simple: by attacking the NGO's, they place an even greater burden on the CPA. The NGO's are going to have to withdraw because the US cannot support or protect them. It's that simple. The enemy is dictacting the offensive tempo, forcing the US to react. All those partisan sweeps are useless. They are not preventing attacks and the idea that people are doing this for money is wearing thin.

This is not some random strategy, but a coordinated attack on the NGO structure. By collapsing the NGO's, it makes administering Iraq impossible. NGO's are a critical support factor in every government on earth. Imagine if Catholic Charities, the United Way and the Red Cross folded up shop? People would die, right here in the US. They're even more critical in a war-torn country like Iraq. Without NGO's, the CPA would be unable to feed millions of people, provide health care or education support. NGO's are a lot like tendons, critical to keeping a society funcitioning, but invisible until they stop working.

The resistance is picking their targets carefully. They're working on the NGO's and anyone working with the CPA, seeking to collapse support. It's not one group, it couldn't be. Its networks of small groups, meeting, coordinating attacks, working in concert with criminal gangs. They also take their time. They let the effects of their attacks sink in. They also move preemptively. They hit the Jordanians, then the UN, then the Turkish embassy when talks of bringing in Turkish troops start. They have waged a steady war on the northern pipelines. No sooner the line is fixed, the line is attacked. And it's not just some kid with semtex. The oil engineers are directing the sabotage campaign. By day, they fix the line, by night they pick the part of the line to blow. Hey, the French railroad workers did the same thing in WWII.

Every single act of industrial sabotage is being done by the people who formerly ran those systems. Someone is telling the resistance how to destroy the targets with a minimum of force and for maximum effect. None of this is an accident or a campaign by outsiders.

Some people call for the US to be pulled from the cities, but all that would do is blind them even further. Iraq is a country of cities. If you don't control the cities, and we're talking cities the size of Miami and Boston, you don't control the country. We have to realize that the Iraqi resistance has good, reliable intelligence assisted by our dependence on translators and other low-level Iraqi functionaries.

Every time the US talks about Saddam's feyadeen or Al Qaeda being at the root of the resistance, they are delusional. It is Iraqis who are doing this, Iraqis who hate Americans, use the internet for information, as well as a network of spies at every level of the CPA and NGO's and with American contractors. Until we face that reality, a reality which may force us to begin withdrawal, things can only get worse.

posted by Steve @ 10:43:00 AM

10:43:00 AM

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