Controversy Over Whodunit In Fallujah

Controversy over Whodunit in Fallujah

The Scotsman has a balanced article on speculation concerning the identity of the attackers in Fallujah on Saturday. It notes that Iraqi police and Paul Bremer have tried to blame outsiders, but US military spokesmen say they doubt it was outsiders. They say that ‘Such a complex undertaking involving separate bands of co-ordinated troops points to local Iraqis with intimate knowledge of Fallujah’s terrain and residents. “The likelihood of outsiders coming in and doing that is very slim,” the official said. ‘

So, the civilian Paul Bremer is being contradicted by the US military. The NYT had reported Sunday that Fallujah police suspected two of the four dead were Iranians. But al-Hayat did not mention anything about Iranians, and said two of the four were Lebanese. An AP article said Fallujah police heard a foreign language spoken during the attack. The NYT story seems to indicate that they concluded it was Persian. But the reports are all contradictory, and the CPA has not released any of the alleged identity papers that might point to Iranian involvement. People in Fallujah don’t necessarily know what Persian sounds like. The fighters might have been speaking any number of languages. Today the Scotsman reported that some in Fallujah are blaming the Shiite Badr Corps, which the US military seems to dismiss.

The allegation about Iranians fails the common sense text. What would they be doing in Fallujah? Why would the Sunni Arab nationalist or fundamentalists cooperate with Shiite Iranians? It makes no sense. That does not mean it is not true. It does mean that the assertion cannot be accepted without firm evidence. I haven’t seen any.

Meanwhile, ash-Sharq al-Awsat and wire services are reporting that the US arrested the mayor of Fallujah only hours after last Thursday’s attempt on the life of Gen. John Abizaid, then visiting the city.

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