Henry Adams of UFPPC admits that trying to divine what's really going on in Iraq is, as Mark Danner says, like "shooting through a straw," but in this commentary on a May 1 Los Angeles Times article reporting plans of "Iraq's Shiite Muslim leadership" to "crack down on Sunni-led insurgents" by means of "special commandos . . . largely composed of Shiite and Kurdish rivals eager to exact revenge for decades of suppression" -- plans that have led to a surge of violence that has taken about 500 lives so far this month --, Adams argues that "one plausible interpretation of the events of recent months is that the Shiites who won the Jan. 30 election . . . are now attempting to use this victory to turn the counterinsurgency apparatus that the U.S. created to prop up a pro-U.S. pan-Iraqi state toward the purposes of a Shiite-Kurdish victory in a civil war." -- "This war will not be reported in the U.S. press," he notes. "Since maintaining U.S. public support for involvement in Iraq is an overriding priority for the U.S. government, the compliant U.S. mainstream media is compelled to fit events there into the narrative frame of the 'war on terrorism'; as a result, the American public is presented with what are essentially incomprehensible accounts." ...
THE YEAR OF THE SCORPION: CIVIL WAR ARRIVES IN IRAQ
By Henry Adams
** New government's use of U.S.-planned Iraqi secret police is behind the current surge in violence **
United for Peace of Pierce County (WA)
May 15, 2005
Published just after the formation of a new Iraqi government in late April and just before the outbreak of violence that immediately ensued -- violence that has already "killed nearly 500 people so far this month," according to today's New York Times --, a recent article in the Los Angeles Times did not use the term "civil war," but in retrospect it's clear that it should have.
Patrick J. McDonnell and Solomon Moore reported on May 1 about plans of "Iraq's Shiite Muslim leadership" to "crack down on Sunni-led insurgents" by using "well-trained Iraqi commandos in Baghdad and other trouble spots."
"The prospect of stepped-up counterinsurgency efforts is greatly unsettling to a Sunni Arab minority," McDonnell and Moore wrote. "Shiite leaders insisted on controlling the Interior Ministry during marathon talks to form the new government," and the new minister, Bayan Jabber, told Al Hayat the day after the government was approved: "The recent acceleration in terrorist attacks is posing a serious challenge on the ground. We must take immediate action."
The instruments Jabber is employing in this plan are "the Interior Ministry's special commandos, known as Maghawir (Fearless Warrior) brigades . . . largely composed of well-trained veterans of Hussein's military who worked closely with U.S. forces during pitched battles last year in Najaf, Fallouja and the northern city of Mosul," brigades that "sport provocative titles -- including the Wolf, Scorpion, Tiger, and Thunder brigades."
While Shiites and Kurds pretend that these units are "all-Iraqi and largely free of the U.S. taint that has marred many Iraqi units," there is no doubt but that they have been trained as part of the counterinsurgency campaign planned by Jerry Bremer when he was U.S. proconsul, John Negroponte when he was "ambassador" to Iraq, and the infamous Gen. Jerry Boykin. They and other U.S. counterinsurgency specialists have worked secretly over the past two years to create a new Iraqi secret police force, described by Julian Coman in the London Telegraph on Jan. 4, 2004 but scarcely reported in U.S. media.
The campaign these units are now waging partakes of civil war. "Many Sunni Arabs view the squads suspiciously as largely composed of Shiite and Kurdish rivals eager to exact revenge for decades of suppression under Hussein, a Sunni Arab," McDonnell and Moore reported. One of the leading commanders in these units is Maj. Gen. Abu Walid, "a native of Shiite-dominated southern Iraq and whose real name remains a secret for security reasons," who, in an interview, pointed to a wall map and said ominously: "We are studying Baghdad now. . . . Baghdad is filled with terrorists."
The most recent surge in violence in Iraq has coincided with this campaign of what McDonnell and Moore called "stepped-up counterinsurgency efforts," but the U.S. mainstream media have failed to make the connection, even though their activities are widely reported by Baghdad newspapers like Al Mada.
As this offensive is undertaken by U.S.-planned and U.S.-financed units of Iraqi secret police, and as opposition groups respond with a wave of indiscriminate attacks, many observers are saying that civil war has now arrived in Iraq.
Granted, it is difficult to divine what is happening in Iraq; news reports have been compared to "shooting through a straw." But one plausible interpretation of the events of recent months is that the Shiites who won the Jan. 30 election (by a much wider margin than was reported, according to Scott Ritter) are now attempting to use this victory to turn the counterinsurgency apparatus that the U.S. created to prop up a pro-U.S. pan-Iraqi state toward the purposes of a Shiite-Kurdish victory in a civil war.
This war will not be reported in the U.S. press. Since maintaining U.S. public support for involvement in Iraq is an overriding priority for the U.S. government, the compliant U.S. mainstream media is compelled to fit events there into the narrative frame of the "war on terrorism"; as a result, the American public is presented with what are essentially incomprehensible accounts.
In a 1965 article entitled "We Are Deluding Ourselves in Vietnam," Hans Morgenthau once observed: "People fight and die in civil wars because they have a faith which appears to them worth fighting and dying for, and they can be opposed with a chance of success only by people who have at least as strong a faith."
With so many persons of strong faith on all sides (and so many billion barrels of petroleum lying in "giant pools of oil, right beneath the warm ground") in Iraq, we may expect this U.S.-created civil war to rage for some time.
The Conflict in Iraq
IRAQ TO PURGE CORRUPT OFFICERS
By Patrick J. McDonnell and Solomon Moore
** Commandos may also be used in a crackdown on insurgents and their allies. The Shiite leaders' plans are further unsettling Sunnis. **
Los Angeles Times
May 1, 2005
BAGHDAD -- Iraq's Shiite Muslim leadership, alarmed by a surge in attacks as the new government prepares to take office, plans to crack down on Sunni-led insurgents and purge suspected infiltrators and corrupt officers from the nation's security forces, officials and lawmakers say.
A likely tactic, authorities say, is unleashing well-trained Iraqi commandos in Baghdad and other trouble spots. The special forces units have a reputation for effectiveness and brutality.
Whether additional Iraqi troops can tame an insurgency that has not withered in the face of massive U.S. military might remains to be seen. But Shiite leaders express confidence that determined Iraqi forces, with U.S. backup, can use their superior knowledge of the culture, language and terrain to gather intelligence, infiltrate cells and defeat the guerrillas.
The plan for Iraqi commandos' wider deployment is indicative of how the raging guerrilla conflict here is increasingly a war pitching Iraqis against Iraqis, leading to a decline in U.S. casualty rates as the number of Iraqi dead soars.
The prospect of stepped-up counterinsurgency efforts is greatly unsettling to a Sunni Arab minority that already considers itself besieged and disenfranchised in the new Iraq. Most Sunni Arabs boycotted the Jan. 30 election, and their political representation is scant.
Shiite leaders insisted on controlling the Interior Ministry during marathon talks to form the new government. Their plan is to oust guerrilla informants and sympathizers of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and go after insurgents in a more concerted fashion than the regime of outgoing Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, whose political slate was shut out of the new Cabinet.
Allawi, a secular Shiite who was himself a Baathist turned foe of Hussein, tried with little success to coax insurgents into the government through talks with Sunni tribal leaders and other intermediaries.
Although Allawi did sign off on the U.S.-led attack on the former Sunni rebel bastion of Fallouja in November, the Shiite Islamists about to assume power here are clearly signaling a much harder line.
"Our policy will be to develop the security forces and uproot the terrorist cells," Jawad Maliki, a prominent member of the dominant Shiite coalition in the new National Assembly, said in an interview here.
"They [Allawi's appointees] should have dealt with this situation from the beginning," added Maliki, a member of the political bureau of Dawa, the Islamist party of incoming Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari. "We will not let this grow."
The incoming interior minister also took a tough stance. "The recent acceleration in terrorist attacks is posing a serious challenge on the ground," Bayan Jabber told Al Hayat newspaper a day after the new government was approved. "We must take immediate action."
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials have warned that a large-scale purge could sweep out capable officers as well as compromised ones. U.S. authorities also fear a backlash among Sunni Arabs who might otherwise join the evolving political process and renounce armed struggle.
"If they [Iraqi authorities] want to reduce the level of the insurgency, having competent people and avoiding unnecessary turbulence is a high priority," Rumsfeld said in Washington last week.
But representatives of the new Shiite administration have harshly assailed the outgoing Interior Ministry, which is in charge of internal security, as riddled with insurgent informants and sympathizers of Hussein's former Baathist regime.
The names of new policemen are being sold to "terrorists" bent on assassination, the new interior minister said, and suspects pay bribes to be sprung from custody.
"I could not sleep when I heard about this," Jabber said in an interview with a television station run by his Shiite political party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. "We know many of these violators and we plan to discover the rest. We will take measures and people will see the changes in two months."
Shiites have agreed to allow a Sunni Arab to run the Defense Ministry but have already vetoed at least one candidate because of past Baathist ties. In the absence of a Sunni candidate acceptable to the Shiite majority in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Jafari assumed the top defense post on a temporary basis.
The new Shiite leadership appears determined to use its control of the Interior Ministry as a spear point in coming offensives. Tens of thousands of police officers and other troops are under its command.
Authorities plan increased deployment of the Interior Ministry's special commandos, known as Maghawir (Fearless Warrior) brigades.
The units are largely composed of well-trained veterans of Hussein's military who worked closely with U.S. forces during pitched battles last year in Najaf, Fallouja and the northern city of Mosul. Their loyalty to the new Iraq has been tested, officials say, despite their service as commandos in Hussein's regime.
"We get involved once the police are helpless [against insurgents] and unable to do their job," Maj. Gen. Rasheed Flayih Mohammed, commander of the 12,000-strong Maghawir, said in an interview here.
Although he acknowledged U.S. logistical and technical support, Mohammed insisted that his forces were all-Iraqi and largely free of the U.S. taint that has marred many Iraqi units. "The Iraqi people treat us with respect," Mohammed said. "They love us because we are wearing our own Iraqi uniforms, and because we are doing our work by ourselves."
The special forces units sport provocative titles -- including the Wolf, Scorpion, Tiger and Thunder brigades. Many Sunni Arabs view the squads suspiciously as largely composed of Shiite and Kurdish rivals eager to exact revenge for decades of suppression under Hussein, a Sunni Arab.
"I blame the Maghawir for this outrage," Sheik Abdul-Salam Kubaysi, a leading Sunni cleric in Baghdad, said of predawn raids and arrests early Friday at half a dozen Sunni mosques in Baghdad and Baqubah, northeast of the capital. At least one Sunni imam was killed.
"All of these people arrested are not terrorists: They are wise, simple and humble people," said Kubaysi, spokesman for the Muslim Scholars Assn., a leading Sunni Arab group.
In a recent interview at the heavily guarded Interior Ministry here, an already legendary Iraqi commander known only as Maj. Gen. Abu Walid pointed at a sprawling wall map of Baghdad to indicate future targets.
"We are studying Baghdad now, to be ready for any mission we are assigned," said Abu Walid, who heads the Wolf Brigade, which helped control Mosul after most of the police force abandoned their posts late last year during an insurgent uprising.
"Baghdad is filled with terrorists," declared Abu Walid, a native of Shiite-dominated southern Iraq and whose real name remains a secret for security reasons.
The Wolf Brigade commander became a national celebrity after he began serving as host for taped "confessions" of alleged insurgents that were aired on television here. Sunni critics charge that many of the confessions were coerced through beatings, torture and other extra-legal means. Abu Walid denies mistreatment.
In recent days, blue-and-white pickups ferrying Wolf Brigade commandos have been seen about Baghdad. As is customary, the commandos were outfitted in Hussein-era garb: green-and-beige uniforms and red berets, the latter often adorned with their parachute wing medallion pins. They toted heavy machine guns, Dragunov sniper rifles and, in one case, rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
The planned counterinsurgency campaign comes as U.S. forces are increasingly turning over security to Iraqi forces, and attacks with sectarian overtones continue on almost a daily basis.
On Saturday, a car bomb went off outside a recently formed Sunni political organization that favored participation in the new government, killing at least one bystander and injuring 17. The night before, officials said, someone had sprayed automatic-weapons fire at the office.
"Whoever did this means to cripple the political process," said Salih Mutlig of the Iraqi National Dialogue Council, the group that was targeted in Saturday's bombing. "Without dialogue, the county will be headed to greater tragedies."
--Times staff writers Saif Rasheed, Raheem Salman, Caesar Ahmed, Suhail Ahmad and Zainab Hussein contributed to this report from Baghdad.
SCORPION FORCES IN BABYLON ARREST TWENTY-FIVE SUSPECTS INCLUDING TWO PRINCES OF TWO ARMED GROUPS
Al Mada (Baghdad)
May 12, 2005
Summary [from coalition sources]: The Scorpion Forces of the Interior Intelligence Directorate raided many hideouts in the Rasheed area. The raids were based on information obtained through formal investigations of detainees. A source said that these raids led to the arrest of eight terrorists and two princes. The source added the detainees were related to the kidnapping of IPs and many confiscated weapons. Seventeen suspects were also arrested in Al Mushroo area.