CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Headline Roundup

Monday, November 08, 2004

Headline Roundup

Doesn't seem to be much new news out of the battle this morning, but there ar some interesting stories, which I'll excerpt here. London Daily Telegraph November 8, 2004 'Cash On The Spot–If They Tell Us Where The Weapons Are' When Capt Kirk Mayfield of the US army goes into battle he will have Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and sniper teams at his disposal. But one of his most important instruments of war will be in his back pocket – a thick wad of dollar bills. "I'm going to get five grand," he told his platoon commanders at one of their final briefings yesterday. "If they tell us where the weapons caches are, where the IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and the bad guys are, we'll give them cash on the spot." Capt Mayfield, commander of Phantom troop of the 2-2 Task Force, emphasised that intelligence gathered on the battlefield could not only save the lives of American soldiers but also lay the foundations for stabilising the city after victory had been secured. Miami Herald November 8, 2004 Defenders' Aims Double-Edged? The U.S. military assessment of insurgents' goals in Fallujah is that they will fight hard and try to provoke a backlash against the expected assault. By Jim Krane, Associated Press NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - U.S. military planners and intelligence analysts believe that Iraqi insurgent leaders holed up in Fallujah will defend the city by combining scrappy fighting with a media blitz designed to provoke a worldwide outcry. The insurgents understand that they cannot beat the U.S. military but will probably try to hold off the assaulting forces, killing as many U.S. troops as possible and provoking a backlash in the United States over American casualties, U.S. Army officials say. ''He wants to make it as painful and costly as he can,'' said Army Maj. Eric Larsen, of the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade, referring to insurgents. ``He's testing us. How much are we willing to pay for that real estate?'' At the same time, the insurgents will seek to exploit public horror in the Muslim world as well as among U.S. allies over civilian deaths, with the goal of forcing the U.S. military and Iraqi government to negotiate, Army officials said. In April, the three-week U.S. siege of Fallujah was called off after mounting international pressure over high civilian casualties reported during the assault. For the insurgents, victory means negotiating an end to the fighting and retaining some control over Fallujah, or at least keeping the Americans out of the city. If they could fight the Americans to a stalemate, it would be viewed as a victory in the Arab world. ''They believe they can achieve what they did in April,'' said Col. Michael Formica, who commands the 2nd Brigade. ``Their goal is to maximize casualties and drag it out. They want to break the will of the United States back home and bring the Iraqi government to the bargaining table. They want to set conditions to maintain control.'' GOALS VARY Beyond those broad goals, the aims of Iraqi and foreign fighters differ, American officials believe. U.S. planners have long seen signs of a rift between the two groups. Iraqi fighters in the city seek autonomy from the U.S.-allied Iraqi government. They don't want to pursue the battle if the cost means the destruction of their homes and city. But Muslim mujahedin, including foreign fighters who have flocked to Fallujah, are thought to be willing to fight and die for the ultimate goal of an Islamic state. For them, Fallujah's destruction is a worthy sacrifice, the officials say. Formica described Fallujah as the ''Super Bowl'' for foreign jihadis willing to fight to the death against foreign occupation. `KILLING ZONES' Insurgents have had months to prepare their defense. Planners expect the toughest fight in Fallujah's old city and spiritual hub, the northern Jolan district. The densely populated warren of narrow alleys and attached houses provides the best possible fighting positions for the insurgents, who hope to lure U.S. troops into ''killing zones'' -- choke points with clean fields of fire, or booby-trapped buildings or areas that have been mined with homemade bombs. Explosives-rigged buildings are such a worry that the U.S. Navy Seabees have established a special team to extract people from collapsed buildings. The difficult part for U.S. forces will be to distinguish guerrillas from civilians. Christian Science Monitor November 8, 2004 Pg. 1 High Stakes Of Taking Fallujah By Dan Murphy, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor CAIRO – As US Marines mass outside the tough Sunni Triangle town of Fallujah, analysts believe the imminent high-profile attack in Iraq carries high political risks. The US says a principal motivation behind retaking Fallujah, considered the center of the insurgency, is to make Iraq safe enough for elections, scheduled for the end of January. Rooting out the foreign insurgents the US believes are using the city as a base to wreak havoc throughout the country is crucial to stabilizing Iraq, US officials say. This, coupled with sending a stern message to militants that they will be dealt with unmercifully, could be a turning point on the road to winning the peace in Iraq. But these broad goals may prove difficult to achieve, say many observers skeptical that the attack on Fallujah can achieve the type of results that US and Iraqi officials are hoping for. Analysts say that rebels have already fanned out well beyond Fallujah to towns like Ramadi and Samarra, fueling a new wave of violence in areas the US thought it had previously pacified. To this way of thinking there is no decisive battle to be won in Fallujah, and if the assault devastates that city - in the way the Vietnamese city of Hue was by Marines in 1968 - it could end up damaging the long-term interests of the US and Prime Minister Allawi. Elections could be more threatened by violence, not less so, and rebels will simply establish themselves in more broadly dispersed, harder to strike, locales. "The Sunnis see themselves [as] the natural rulers of Iraq and they're not going to give it up without a fight,'' says Patrick Lang, a retired US army colonel and former head of Middle East intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency. He says he worries the US, by painting the coming battle as "a cataclysmic clash between good and evil" will end up leveling the town and not leave the room for political compromise that long-term peace requires. "This is a civil war and it's essentially a political process that's going on there,'' says Mr. Lang. "Allawi understands that he needs to bring these people ... back into a secular Iraqi nationalism. He'd like to see sufficient force used to get cooperation. But we don't want to go too far. We don't want to create a legend in the Middle East that we're a new Hulagu Khan,'' he says, referring to the 13th-century Mongol ruler whose sacking of Baghdad and murder of hundreds of thousands there is still talked about by Arabs. Even in regard to Iraq's short-term stability, there are doubts over what the offensive can achieve. Sunday, the Iraqi government braced for more violence by declaring a 60-day state of emergency for all of the country except the relatively peaceful Kurdish areas in the north. The emergency will see curfews imposed and other liberties curtailed. "We have nothing [against] the people of Fallujah,'' said Prime Minister Allawi. "They have been taken hostage by a bunch of terrorists and bandits and insurgents who were part of the old regime.... I hope the terrorists get it because we are not going to be easy on them. We are going to bring them to justice and we are going to ensure the safety of the people in Iraq." Widening insurgency With many fighters having fled to other cities, Fallujah is not as rich a prize as it once was, say analysts. While Fallujah was seen months ago as an insurgent hotbed from which many of Iraq's devastating suicide bombings were planned, there is now evidence of more decentralized planning and execution. And areas once won by US and Iraqi forces have shown signs of slipping back out of control. That was brought home Saturday in Samarra, were more than 30 people were killed in four separate car-bombings and light arms attacks against Iraqi soldiers and police. US soldiers and Iraqi forces retook the city in early October, in an effort some saw as a dress rehearsal for Fallujah, but many local insurgents simply went underground.


Blogger chthus said...

Some bad news.

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (November 8, 3:48 am AST) - Two Marines were killed early Monday in Fallujah, the U.S. military said, making them the first casualties in the American-led offensive to retake the insurgent-held city.

The two Marines drowned when their bulldozer flipped over into the Euphrates River, the military said.

Their bodies were discovered at 8 a.m. in the river, the U.S. military said.

November 8, 2004 at 5:57 AM  
Blogger chthus said...

"With U.S. forces moving in from the northwest and west sides of the city, commanders said the toughest fight was yet to come: when American forces cross to the east bank of the Euphrates and enter the main part of the city -- including the Jolan neighborhood where insurgent defenses are believed the strongest.

U.S. and Iraqi commanders have vowed to stamp out Sunni Muslim guerrillas who control Fallujah, part of a campaign to put down insurgents ahead of vital January elections. Marine commanders have warned the assault could bring the heaviest urban fighting since the Vietnam war.

Some 10,000 U.S. Marines, Army soldiers and Iraqi forces are around Fallujah, where commanders estimate around 3,000 insurgents are dug in.

In the first foray into Fallujah proper, Marines secured an apartment building in the northwestern corner of the city by noon, said Capt. Brian Heatherman, of the 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment.

"The Marines have now gained a foothold in the city," said Heatherman, 32, from Laguna Niguel, Calif. He said there were some Iraqi casualties as the troops seized the building, where Marines found an improvised bomb hanging above a doorway -- one of the many variety of booby traps they expect to come across in the urban battle.

Heatherman said there were insurgent casualties but no casualties on the part of the Marines as the apartment building was being seized.",21282,1106103,00.html

November 8, 2004 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Pancho said...

The battle of Hue, mentioned previously, is a very good comparison....including the murder of civilians by the defending forces.

November 8, 2004 at 9:31 AM  

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