Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Meanwhile in Iraq: that Fallujah "solution"

The FT is reporting that friction has developed between the so-called Fallujah Protection Army/1st Battalion Fallujah Brigade (depends on terminology, see below) and the various "notables" who are now to be in charge there. It would appear that they are not happy with the idea of this force co-operating as expected with the Americans, nor with the fact that it's made up of old Ba'athists. After all, its commander has apparently been sidelined on the advice of Ali Allawi, an IGC member with a slightly unsavoury background himself. General Mohammed Saleh was, as blogged below, the deputy chief of the Iraqi general staff during the suppression of the Shia after 1991. Why the FT should say he is "accused" of being a a former Republican Guard commander is obscure to me. That doesn't sound promising, and neither does this:
""We will welcome police and the civil defence corps back to their posts provided they come from Falluja," said one of his guests, Kais Nazzal, who owns Falluja's largest factory. "But the Mujahideen must continue to give orders - if the police co-operate with the Americans against the people of Falluja they will be killed."

Well, surely that does for any hope of those "local caucuses" of "notables" ever playing the part assigned to them by the CPA? Saleh's solution to his dilemma appears to be to say that all the nasty people they sent him to get have gone away, conveniently for his chances of survival. After all, he has a point - looking for "foreign fighters" among the people who really were fighting could have some negative effects, both by showing up that there weren't any and by stirring the real fighters up all over again. And this is weird:
""The angels fought with the people," says Mr Nazzal's cousin Jawad, a colonel in the former Iraqi army. "They sent forth huge spiders to support right against wrong."

Still, in times like these..

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