Some 50 Dead 145 Wounded Guerrillas

Some 50 Dead, 145 Wounded

Guerrillas useda coordinated series of car bombs to kill around 50 persons, mostly children, and to wound 145 on Thursday.

The biggest number of casualties came from the bombing of the ceremonial opening of a new water pumping station in West Baghdad. The injured included at least 10 US soldiers.

Iraqi guerrillas killed at least 76 US troops in September, and attacks rose to over 80 per day. Both statistics are higher than in June before Allawi took office.

In the aftermath, the US military launched a major attack on guerrillas in Samarra. Unfortunately, this procedure actually means that they launched a major attack on the city of Samarra. Residents reported by telephone being shaken by a series of massive explosions. Samarra was captured by insurgents early in the spring or summer. The US had attempted to combine force with negotiations to end the rebellion, but the truce broke down when guerrillas launched new attacks on US forces. The guerrillas in Samarra appear to be local youth gangs, whether Arab nationalist or Sunni fundamentalist. Some have recently adopted the colors of Monotheism and Holy War, the terrorist group that originated in Afghanistan and was established mainly in Germany and Jordan after 1989. These clothes and insignia (orange on black) seem to be being adopted by the Samarra street gangs rather as US urban gangs have colors and symbols that show up in their graffitti.

President Bush and caretaker Prime Minister Allawi keep insisting that elections will be held in January, but what I mainly thought about when I heard the news of the powerful bomb going off at the water pump inaugural, is how similar voting at polling stations and ceremonial water pump openings are. Both occur in public. Both involve large numbers of people milling around. Both are soft targets. If the morning of voting day, January 15 (or whatever) looks anything like this, most people will just stay home and the turnout will be so light as to raise questions about the legitimacy of the result.

The notion that members of the caretaker government like Barham Saleh have, that razing Fallujah will end the carbombings and restore security, is most likely nonsensical. Major fighting in Anbar province in November is likely simply to further radicalize the Iraqi population and turn it even more against the Americans and the interim government. Nor would taking Fallujah have stopped the carbombings today.