Oh, That Sounds Promising

by Belle Waring on November 7, 2004

The provisional Iraqi government has declared a 60-day state of emergency in the run-up to an all-out assault on Falluja (pop. 300,000) by US Marines.

Heavy explosions were heard in Baghdad as government spokesman Thair Hassan al-Naqeeb announced the state of emergency over the entire country except Kurdish areas in the north.

“It is going to be a curfew. It is going to be so many things, but tomorrow the prime minister will mention it,” he said. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi will give more details Monday, he said.

Al-Naqeeb declined to say whether the announcement signaled an imminent attack on the insurgent stronghold Fallujah, saying, “We have seen the situation is worsening in this area. Any obstacle will be removed.”

“So many things.” I can hardly wait to hear more. For some reason this reminds me of the quote from Arafat when asked why he had to have eight different security services: he looked surprised and answered, “Why, Hosni Mubarak has 12.” Middle Eastern politics are so reassuring. Here’s to hoping the state of emergency lasts only 60 days.



Kieran Healy 11.07.04 at 2:40 pm

That last line reminds me of when a functionary of the Shah of Iran was asked in the late ’70s about the methods that “SAVAK”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAVAK used to extract information in interrogations. “They are getting better every day,” he replied.


Uncle Kvetch 11.07.04 at 3:38 pm

60 days brings us right up to the January elections. Curious that the Times article doesn’t mention that a national state of emergency is going to make even the appearance of free & fair elections (never mind the reality) far less likely.


cleek 11.07.04 at 4:07 pm

i wonder what kind of campaign potential candidates can run during a ‘state of emergency’ ?


Luc 11.07.04 at 5:31 pm

Faith-based violence is an aqcuired taste. A leader of one of Bushes security forces expressed it this way:

The marines that I have had wounded over the past five months have been attacked by a faceless enemy,” said Colonel Brandl.

“But the enemy has got a face. He’s called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we’re going to destroy him.”


Jim Harrison 11.07.04 at 5:36 pm

The insurgent strategy is obvious and probably unstopable Since there are far too few American troops to hold down every area, concentrating against one region automatically leaves others open to attack. One can attempt to stretch resources by resorting to terroristic methods—that’s the usual historical pattern—but in the absence of sufficient force, blowing more Iraqis to bits at long range merely recruits new opponents and demonstrates the bankrupcy of the policy of conquest. Under the circumstances, arming the Iraqis as native auxillaries is likely to be counterproductive since these forces are already full of moles and none of them can be trusted. I’m sure many of the insurgents are already getting weapons through the training programs.


james 11.07.04 at 6:46 pm

“i wonder what kind of campaign potential candidates can run during a ‘state of emergency’?”

Yes, given that freedom of assembly is one of the rights which is to be suspended.


Jonathan Dresner 11.07.04 at 6:52 pm

Has anyone else noticed the similarity of the Fallujah attack plan to the original Iraq war plans? Pound by air for a while, then massive ground assault; overwhelming force. It worked OK once, though we stopped too early; it worked OK the second time, though the willingness of opposing forces to melt away instead of stand to be killed has produced… well, our current situation. Has anyone considered that this might not be a fantastic model for fighting a small, mobile and flexible force?


John 11.07.04 at 8:10 pm

luc: Well, as a Pagan in the U.S. military, that makes me feel ever so much better about the likelihood of my religious preference getting the shaft in the military over the next few years. I imagine any Muslim in the U.S. military is looking for an exit door by now, if he’s smart.


stuart 11.07.04 at 11:23 pm

I imagine if any Muslim in the U.S. full stop that has any foresight over how the US policies towards terrorists are going to work going into the future they might be looking at moving to a place that is less likely to have them interred in concentration camps sometime in the next decade.


Jackmormon 11.07.04 at 11:52 pm


on that note, i wonder what sort of communications networks the insurgents in fallujah have? “Shock and awe” was always aimed at information infrastructure (knock out leadership, take over airwaves and public places, etc.); if this time the information networks are decentralized, located in holy off-limits sites, or alreay divided into cells, the US can bomb and kill as much as they like, and the insurgency will still survive.


Warbaby 11.08.04 at 1:25 am

There aren’t going to be any elections in Iraq. I thought that was obvious since last July. It will be more obvious later and it will be undeniable in January.


Zizka 11.08.04 at 3:39 am

Security services: I have a book somewhere which lists every use of the death penalty in Taiwan during a certain period (aroun 1965-10 I think, before democratization).

The majority of the death penalties were to members of security services. Apparently there was either Communist infliltration or an ideological purge at some point.


Zizka 11.08.04 at 3:43 am

“around 1965-70”


Sandriana 11.08.04 at 10:01 am

What baffles me is that US forces are apparently under the control of Allawi: hang on, wasn’t it Bush who said he would never let US military decisions be made by foreigners?


John 11.08.04 at 10:36 am

Ah, but he’s not.

If the strings of the military are pulled by a puppet whose strings are pulled by Bush, does it really count as military decisions being made by foreigners?


baa 11.08.04 at 11:13 pm

Hey, skeptical Iraq watchers, anyone care to define a result that, if it obtains in December of 2005, will make you say: “wow, those Bush guys really pulled it together!”

I’m holding out for a functioning state, with elections held, and (most important) a security situation where Joe and Jane Iraqi can walk down the streets in 90% of the country without fear of kidnapping and random atrocities. Would that do?


Luc 11.10.04 at 7:46 am

How about a decent civil administration? So that we don’t have to guess how many civilians die. Napoleon could do that at the end of the 18th century in Europe when he conquered a country, so it really that much to ask from the US today?


WOOD TURTLE 11.10.04 at 6:20 pm

I cansee clearly now the rain is gone…

All of the bad feelings have disappeared.

Much love to you and yours

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