‘Hurts Iraqis but won’t stop resistance’
Published Sep 25, 2006 12:06 AM
The U.S. occupation forces and the Iraqi
puppet government have found a new way to make life even more miserable for the
people of Baghdad than it is already: They are building a trench around urban
Baghdad to be able to stop and search all traffic entering and leaving the
Despite the additional burden on residents, there is no indication
this harsh step will be effective in turning back the Iraqi resistance or in
subduing the capital.
This planned trench coincides with the final stages
of an earlier plan to quash the resistance inside this city of 7 million people.
U.S. and puppet troops have been carrying out house-to-house searches through
Baghdad neighborhoods and have recently been entering the poor Shi’ite
areas of Sadr City, where the Mahdi Army is strong.
Moqtada al-Sadr is
head of the Mahdi Army, which, according to most observers, is the largest of
the party-based militias. Although al-Sadr participates in the pro-U.S. Iraqi
government, the imperialist media continue to describe him in hostile terms.
Their favorite description is “firebrand cleric,” indicating an
ongoing U.S. distrust of his role.
According to an article in the Sept. 17
New York Times, the proposed trench will circle urban Baghdad, crossing
farmlands and forcing all traffic through 28 main highways to the city. There
all vehicles and people will be subject to inspection, at least in
In practice, according to Iraqi exile Abdul al-Bayaty, who keeps
close contact with events in Iraq, this will interfere with “students,
workers, ill people needing medical care, merchants, farmers and pub lic workers
trying to move in both directions. Imagine what will happen to economic fluidity
if every truck of vegetables or cement or bricks which Baghdad consumes each day
should be searched each time it passes,” not to mention all the 6 to 7
“Urban Baghdad is surrounded on all sides by
tribes and towns that support the resistance,” said al-Bayaty, “and
the U.S. military has been unable to subjugate them up to now. Nor will it be
“This is a large agricultural region covered by palm trees,
and the population there knows the land better than the U.S. Historically they
are fighters whose sons have made up the armies protecting Baghdad since the
Abasside caliphate of [the years] 750 to 1248.
“The trenches will
not stop the resistance, which is strongest inside urban Baghdad, where there
are now real liberated regions. The government cannot enter there,”
al-Bayaty told Workers World. Regarding Shi’ite regions like Sadr City,
which is not now actively joining the resistance, he added, “Nothing
indicates that the Shi’ites will not rise against the occupation in the
‘Only contractors will
al-Bayaty called the trench scheme “a crime
against urban Baghdad, the Baghdad region and Iraq. It will destroy the economy
and the life of people but will fail militarily. It is a new mirage that the
U.S. is selling Iraqi collaborators. Only the contractors digging the trenches
will profit from it.”
In a Sept. 14 Guardian Unlimited article
assessing the occupation’s failures, Iraqi novelist Haifa Zangana makes
the point that while U.S. forces destroyed great parts of the towns of Falluja,
Samara, Tel Afar and parts of Najaf, and carried out massacres in Haditha, Al
Qaem and Al Ishaqi—all located in Anbar Province to the west and northwest
of Baghdad—the resistance is still strong there.
reality,” writes Zangana in an article emphasizing the nationwide
character of the resistance, “is that the U.S.-led occupation has not just
failed to put an end to the resistance in the ‘Sunni Triangle’ but
has helped to multiply resistance triangles in other Iraqi
“In Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, Azzaman Iraqi
newspaper reported on Sept. 1, 2006, that: ‘The rebels now even do not
mind the presence of Americans since they never dare to dismount their armored
vehicles. U.S. foot patrols are unthinkable as they will make the Marines easy
prey for snipers. Iraqi police and troops have no armored protection and drive
in open pick-up trucks, turning them into easy targets.’
Basra and Amara—cities south of Iraq, both are far beyond the sides of any
triangle—British forces are under repeated mortar attack,” wrote
Meanwhile the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen.
Peter W. Chiarelli, made it clear the priority of the occupation was that of
securing Baghdad. “I’ll be perfectly clear with you, our main effort
right now is Baghdad,” Chiarelli said.
According to the most
seasoned anti-occupation observers, this too will fail.
Zangana and Catalinotto are all members of the advisory board of the
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