FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

There Are No Safe Havens in Iraq

by PATRICK COCKBURN

Baghdad.

Disintegrating security in Baghdad was underlined in a sombre warning yesterday from the British embassy against using the airport road or taking a plane out of Iraq.

The embassy says a bomb was discovered on a flight inside Iraq on 22 November. It shows that insurgents have been able to penetrate the stringent security at Baghdad airport. The embassy says its own staff have been advised against taking commercial planes.

The warning is in sharp contrast to more optimistic statements from US military commanders after the capture of Fallujah in which they have spoken of “breaking the back of the insurgency”.

The embassy says that the road between Baghdad and the international airport, perhaps the most important highway in the country, is now too dangerous to use. The advice says starkly: “With effect from 28 November, the British embassy ceased all movements on the Baghdad International airport road.”

The airport road is littered with evidence of previous attacks: the twisted cars used by suicide bombers and craters from roadside bombs.

There are no safe havens. Since March, 14 British civilians have been killed. Not only have insurgents proved capable of putting a bomb on a plane, but on 14 October two suicide bombers entered the heavily fortified Green Zone and blew themselves up, killing five people and injuring many more.

Danger levels in the capital are also increasing; some of the resistance fighters who were previously in Fallujah have taken refuge in Baghdad. They may wish to launch spectacular attacks to offset the fall of Fallujah, which had been the de facto capital of the insurgents.

The Iraqi government and the US Army suffered losses yesterday from two of the insurgents’ favourite weapons: suicide bombs and roadside bombs. No effective defence has been found against either.

A suicide bomb killed seven Iraqi soldiers and police and wounded nine in an attack in the town of Baghdadi, 120 miles north-west of the capital. Two US soldiers were killed and three wounded by a roadside bomb in north-west Baghdad. Hitherto, roadside bombs have consisted of several artillery shells detonated by a command wire or by remote control. But the US military say the insurgents have started using shaped charges which direct the blast towards a target.

The battle for Fallujah was largely successful from the US point of view, because the assault did not provoke the widespread nationalist reaction across Iraq as seen in April, when the Americans first attacked the city.

Many Shia Iraqis had come to see Fallujah as the headquarters of extreme sectarian Sunnis, whose suicide bombers have slaughtered mostly Shia police and army recruits. Many were pleased to see Fallujah insurgents killed or dispersed.

But the capture of the Fallujah may have less military affect than the US and the Iraqi interim government had hoped, because the Sunni uprising is very fragmented and does not appear to have a central command. Observers in Fallujah during the US attack say the siege was never complete and many fighters slipped out. They add that if the US figure of 1,200 insurgents killed is true, then several thousand others survived to continue the fight.

 

 

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail