Monday, September 20, 2004

The Iraqi Turkmen Resistance

Official story: Arab militants have taken Tal Afar, the city of hundreds of thousands hostage, Iraqi government troops and US soldiers free it.

Real story: US and Peshmerga actions fostered the birth of an Iraqi Turkmen Sunni fundie resistance, one that is not at all dissimilar to the Fallujah one - controlling the city, controlling the US-paid police, attacking US soldiers, defeating the Kurdish Peshmerga whom the US sent as cannon fodder, beheading hostages, beating other hostages, suicide bombing, loose cooperation with Islamic resistance elsewhere.

Read the breathtaking and depressing account by Canadian journalist Scott Taylor, who was kidnapped in Tal Afar for a week. Below I only quote what could be the conclusion:

...Worse, the American invasion has actually created this terrorism because it substantiated over time all the ugliest scenarios that the radical clerics were warning about. People being crushed by tanks, U.S. soldiers breaking down doors, violating the sanctity of the home, abusing civilians, etc., seeing all this go down has an effect. And so the strong anti-American attitude of the clerics started to seem justified to previously disinterested local people by events on the ground, and you have religion emerge as the single cause capable of uniting members of ethnic groups who'd previously been fighting only one another...

...And the worst thing for the U.S. is that their heavy-handed tactics have radicalized the population, so that local Turkmen guys who previously had no strong religious fervor are now willing to die as martyrs. Unlike what the Pentagon is saying, I saw no foreign fighters there. When we were imprisoned, we were housed by local people, in their own homes. Their mothers and wives were doing the cooking and exhorting their sons to go out and die as martyrs. It's hopeless for the U.S...

...I can tell you, Mosul's about to blow. The resistance can operate with impunity, and is growing, and the Americans don't have the numbers to cope … what was once 22,000 soldiers in the area with the 82nd Airborne has now been whittled down to just 6,000 soldiers with this replacement Stryker Brigade. So they're stretched too thin to deal with the coming major insurgency.

The Americans are in fact almost invisible – you don't see them on the streets of Mosul. They've ceded the underground control of the city to various factions of rebels, who are all working together, exchanging weapons, intel, hostages, etc...

The fate of Afghanistan seems all too likely from this direction.