Tuesday, July 17, 2007

foreigners and Iraq

We invaded Iraq in March 2003. It's now July of 2007 and we're still in the dark as to who we're supposed to be fighting.

Bush and his apologists continue to assert that we are fighting Emmanuel Goldstein al Qaeda in Iraq. They claim, presumably with a straight face, that the insurgency is the result of foreign fighters, and that we are not actually fighting against the Iraqi people, whose interests Bush allegedly had foremost in mind when he ordered the invasion.

The LA Times recently published an article detailing the nationalities of insurgents.

BAGHDAD — Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.

About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.

Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality, said the senior U.S. officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity. It is apparently the first time a U.S. official has given such a breakdown on the role played by Saudi nationals in Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgency.

I can't find a primary citation right this second, but I think the total number of prisoners being held by coalition forces in Iraq is in the 15K-20K range. Of these, the LAT says 135 are foreign-born. No mention is made of Iranians, but roughly half are Saudi.

Recall that 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. For some reason none of the neoconservative warmongers are beating the drum for bombing Riyadh back to the Stone Age, yet Cheney and Lieberman and the rest are practically drooling at the thought of air strikes in Iran.

If that hasn't unsettled you too much, make sure you're sitting down and relaxed before reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this McClatchy report on an ambush in Karbala that killed several soldiers and officers inside the city HQ. Clearly an inside job. A complex, clever attack involving obviously detailed intelligence as to who would be where and what the defenses were like. Strangers to Iraq almost certainly could not have pulled this off.

Yet the Administration is eager to point the finger at Iranians or Syrians. Why?

[cribbing liberally from Hubris Sonic and Prof. Cole]

1 comment:

Eileen said...

I finally got around to reading parts 1 and 2 of the "foreignors and iraq" piece. How does one check the kind of facts stated in the article (which is quoted in your piece)?

Yes, of course, I think this war has become a huge quagmire, but I remember the assuredness put forth by the administration, that al Quaeda was in Iraq and Iraq had weapons of WMD. I recall thinking, "well, they have WMD, our president says so, there's Powell, Rice, etc., all saying so, so...they must be right and, yeah, I guess we gotta go to war. Boy, I hate war but we gotta do it.

Now we know: no WMD, there is chaos, torture gets the thumbs up from the prez on down, we got Abu G., Gitmo, no due process. Remember that ballplayer Pat Tillman who was killed by friendly fire and the idiots covered it up?

So, again, somebody is saying something, and I would like to figure out how to check the facts myself. Thanks for listening, Eileen