Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A word to the wise

Al-Hayat tells about yesterday's big car-bomb attack at a central Baghdad market in this way:
"Unknown persons" anticipated the beginning of the new security plan in Baghdad by blowing up two cars in the "poor peoples' market" leading to the deaths of 88 persons of various affiliations [meaning not predominantly Shiite or Sunni] and injuries, many of them serious, to a large number of marketers and customers. ... The vehicles exploded yesterday afternoon at the Haraj market, which specializes in used goods and clothing. It is only separated from the fortified Green Zone by the Bridge of the Republic, and it is considered a central meeting place for poor people of Baghdad of all sects.

And these violent operations--which follow the start of implementation of the new American strategy of sending 21,000 additional troops to strengthen security in Baghdad--shed light on a change in the nature of the violent operations, which have now come to target large groups of people of mixed affiliations, on the model of the [recent] targeting of Mustansariya University and the Bunuk neighborhood in east Baghdad. And this is being done at the same time as the security plan announced by Prime Minister Maliki, to divide the capital into nine districts, each to be controlled by a special force of 3000 Iraqi and American soldiers.
The Al-Hayat reporter doesn't elaborate or speculate on possible reasons for this tendency to target mixed-sect groups. But it is clear than as between sectarian-motivated and resistance-motivated, his interpretation is that this has many of the earmarks of the latter: Timed for the start of the new American strategy; right next to the Green Zone; and targeting a group that isn't particularly of one sect or the other.

(At the same time, Americans are being told this is sectarian-motivated. See this:
The Sunni guerillas killing of over 100 Shiites [!] in Baghdad and Khalis on Monday was therefore no ordinary carnage, even in an Iraq where to have 70 persons blown up by a single bomb is no longer a novelty to say the least. But for it to be done during these days is to drive Shiites wild with grief, to push them to take revenge. It is to universalize the martyrdom of Husayn, making all Shiites martyrs. The guerrilla movement depends on people taking revenge, from every side. )

8 Comments:

Blogger glue m said...

Juan Cole has become patently unreliable. It's a shame so many people take him purely at his word.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous gj said...

Blowing up 100 impoverished Iraqi civilians, whether they be Shiite or Sunni, is "resistance"? Can someone explain the logic of this?

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

I think he means it's resistance from their perspective. They carry it on as a tactic of their resistance.

To them it isn't pointless. The overall level of violence is kept high and the country remains ungovernable. Which is a main objective guerilla force is it not?

6:45 PM  
Blogger John Brown said...

I really don't understand how the attack, strategically, benefits the Resistance in any way.

I'm not saying that it benefits anyone, but it's as likely to be an alCIAda Black-Op or something similar.

We can't look at these attacks as either sectarian or Resistance, when the biggest perpetrator of violence there is Uncle Sam.

He must always remain the primary suspect.

7:37 PM  
Blogger badger said...

My point was about the coverage. On a day when the Iraqi papers didn't offer any interpretation other than to say that this happened, Al-Hayat pointed up a number of aspects that suggested this wasn't a case of Sunni revenge-killings of Shiites, but rather something done with the occupation, more than sectarian revenge, in mind: timed to coincide with startup of the "new strategy"; a stones-throw from the Green Zone; and a group of victims of mixed affiliations. By contrast, Cole said it was a case of sectarian tit-for-tat killings, without offering any support for that other than his sermon.

The logic of it is another question. We are not the omniscient narrator, and in cases like this, for me it is enough to say: When Al-Hayat, or other generally reliable accounts say it is day, and US media or Juan or anyone else says in is night, then we should ask why. Right now are we being fed a diet of Sadr-demonization and all-violence-is-sectarian-and we're-only-there-to-help?

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is pretty obvious that such mass killings are black - or at least grey - operations carried out with the connivance of the US-controlled Iraqi secret services. They have nothing to do with the Resistance! For the puppet government to blame such acts on Saddamists is as predictable as it is despicable.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The logic of it is another question. We are not the omniscient narrator…”

No we are not “omniscient narrators”, but we can be analytic thinkers who make moral judgments based on facts and causes of facts. Seemingly, most people who take the time to read about Iraq beyond mass media (e.g. blogs) want to understand the cause, make rational moral judgments and, if possible, take some action to mitigate an unmoral situation.

As to the cause of the market bombing event, be it perpetrated for sectarian or resistance reasons, the question comes to mind how such an act of violence benefits either (i.e. the cause or motivation of the act). It seems to me a reasonable hypothesis based on the history of warfare, is that the attack on a marketplace comes under the aegis of economic warfare. When industrialized nations go to war they bomb the economic infrastructure of the opponent. Similarly, we read of many economic targets attacked (e.g. pipe and electric lines). A market is such an economic target. Guerrilla war (‘little war’) follows the same logic as ‘Big War’.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous GJ said...

Economic warfare - yes, that does have a logic to it. But targeting pipe and electric lines does not involve murdering large numbers of the civilian population, the very population whose support the resistance needs if it is going to prevail? The North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong did not make that mistake. Ultimately guerilla warfare can only succeed with the support of the people. The Shia victims of all bombings turn to the death squads for protection and revenge and the death squads in turn attack the resistance and its Sunni base. US policy is to ensure that neither side gains the ascendancy over the other and the conflict is prolonged as long as possible - this is reminiscent of US policy of arming both sides in the Iraq/Iean war.

12:29 PM  

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