30 August 2003

Al-Ahram Weekly | Against the occupation:
The focus on 'loyalists' rather than other possibilities seemed to indicate that the US team did not take seriously the claim of responsibility by the previously unknown 'Armed Vanguards of Mohamed's Second Army', a name suggesting an Islamist rather than a secular Ba'thist background.

The notion that the bombing of the Canal Hotel was an 'inside job' was based on the fact that the device exploded beneath the office of the UN's chief representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed along with more than 20 other staff members. However, it is just as likely that the bombers simply chose the only route open to the flatbed lorry which delivered the crude device made of a Russian bomb wired to explosives: the paved roadway into the parking lot alongside the UN compound wall. So far, none of the strikes on foreign troops and military facilities and sabotage operations against infrastructure have involved sophisticated intelligence, great military expertise or equipment beyond that available from Iraq's looted army stores.

It would seem that this is true, also, of the 7 August hit on the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad as well as the UN bombing. This means that almost any of the resistance groups now operating in Iraq could have carried out the operation. Since armed resistance began at the time of the regime's collapse in early April, some three dozen groups have either claimed responsibility for attacks on the occupying forces and other targets or issued communiqu�s declaring their determination to take up arms against the occupation.

This was written before the Najaf bombing. Blaming the attacks on loyalists does not cure the problem. Stopping them would. If (as the Bush administration insists) there are enough troops, then it follows that the conduct of the occupation in using those troops must be sadly incompetent. If there are not enough troops then the Bush administration's war planning was ineffectual.

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