FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

There Are No Safe Havens in Iraq

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:

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
Patrick Bond
Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa
Eve Ottenberg
Capitalism vs. Humanity
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran
Jonas Ecke
Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?
Jeff Mackler
Capitalism is the Virus!
Andrew Moss
Incarceration, Detention, and Covid-19
Farzana Versey
Prayers, Piffle and Privation in the Time of Pandemic
Will Solomon
In the New Dystopia
Dean Baker
The Relative Generosity of the Economic Rescue Package: Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting
Dr. Leo Lopez, III
We Need a Lot More Transparency From the CDC
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Reflections on a Glass of Homemade Cider
Rashid Nuri
Homegrown Crisis Response: Who Grows Your Food?
Mark Luskus
Worst Case Scenario: Healthcare Workers Need Masks, ASAP
Volker Franke
The Virus That May Bring us Together
Mitchell Zimmerman
A Q & A on the GOP’s Call for Elder Sacrifice
Olfat al-Kurd
COVID-19 Could Be Catastrophic for Us: Notes From Gaza
Eileen Appelbaum - Roesmary Batt
Hospital Bailouts Begin…for Those Owned by Private Equity Firms
Nabri Ginwa
Carcinogens
Jill Richardson
Efficiency vs. Resilience
Lee Ballinger
Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity
David Yearsley
Beset by Bach
Robert Koehler
Developing a Vaccine Against War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail