US Bombs Dhulu’iyyah
Basra declares Noncooperation
US warplanes bombed the small Sunni Arab city of Dhulu’iyyah (Thuluiya) on Wednesday. The bombing is unlikely to be an effective counter-insurgency measure. In fact, it appears to be a simple sort of tribal revenge, where the US military is punishing the city for the killing in the general area of 4 US private security guards the day before. I think it would have been better to do nothing rather than to reply to the incident with a bombing campaign, which will likely harm innocents and just drive more people into the arms of the guerrillas.
You really have to wonder if this Reuters reporter and whoever wrote the headline are on the same page. The report is about how returnees to the city of Tal Afar find it still so insecure that they are leaving again, while many other former residents are afraid to return. The International Committee of the Red Cross is complaining about being excluded from inspections; apparently they are expecting to find substantial damage to buildings in the city. The Tal Afar campaign netted very few captives, and most guerrillas appear to have escaped. It involved setting Kurdish peshmerga fighters on Turkmen; given the severe tension between the two groups, this strategy may be sowing the seed of violence far into the future.
wire services report that “500 civilians and policemen held a protest in downtown Basra denouncing “British ggression.” The demonstrators, waving pistols and AK-47s, shouted “No to occupation!” and carried banners condemning “British aggression” and demanding the freed soldiers be tried in an Iraqi court as “terrorists.” ”
The governor, and then the governing council of Basra are declaring non-cooperation with the British as the result of the destruction of a centrally located prison on Wednesday night. Noncooperation by the local government would make you wonder whether the guys with guns are a little crazy.
Some kind readers have been asking me if it is possible that the British SAS operatives captured by the Iraqi police on Monday were agents provocateurs planning to blow things up and blame some Iraqi group. My answer is that while it cannot be absolutely ruled out, the theory has almost no facts behind it. It is not even clear if the British agents had a bomb in their car, and they may not after all have killed Iraqi police who came to grab them. I’d need way more evidence than now exists to charge the British military with such a dastardly policy.