2004 December 25 Saturday
Fallujah Population To Be Under Tight American Rule

Fallujah is effectively becoming a small police state under US rule. My guess is that a lot of Fallujans will opt to stay outside of Fallujah and some of the Fallujan refugees will join the insurgency.

  • Entry to and exit from the city will be restricted. According to Sattler, only five roads into the city will remain open. The rest will be blocked by "sand berms" - read mountains of earth that will make them impassible. Checkpoints will be established at each of the five entry points, manned by US troops, and everyone entering will be "photographed, fingerprinted and have iris scans taken before being issued ID cards". Though Sattler reassured American reporters that the process would only take 10 minutes, the implication is that entry to and exit from the city will depend solely on valid identification cards properly proffered, a system akin to the pass-card system used during the apartheid era in South Africa.
  • Fallujans are to wear their universal identity cards in plain sight at all times. The ID cards will, according to Dahr Jamail's information, be made into badges that contain the individual's home address. This sort of system has no purpose except to allow for the monitoring of everyone in the city, so that ongoing US patrols can quickly determine whether someone is not a registered citizen or is suspiciously far from their home neighborhood.
  • No private automobiles will be allowed inside the city....

No private cars. Imagine. Radical mass transit planners may see this as an opportunity. Though I doubt many will rush to volunteer to supervise the construction of a mass transit system for Fallujah. Perhaps bicycles will become popular.

Rebuilding of the city will be done by vetted constructions workers working in military-supervised construction brigades.

If the invasion of Fallujah had really broken the back of the insurgency then all these measures would not be necessary. The attack may very well have made the insurgency bigger. Suppose you are one of about 200,000 Fallujans now living in refugee camps or with relatives outside of Fallujah. Are you more or less well disposed toward the US occupation of your town and country now that the place has been heavily damaged, some civilians you know are probably dead and/or maimed, and you have perhaps lost your home to the bombing?

Given that the Bush Administration and Congress are not going to fund a huge expansion in the size of the US Army the only way the US can prevail against the Iraqi Sunnis is to find a way to get the Shias to be motivated to suppress the Sunni insurgency. So far the Shias have taken the attitude that they do not want to be ruled by the Sunnis or the US and expect the US to deal with the Sunnis.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 December 25 01:23 AM  Mideast Iraq


Comments
Stephen said at December 25, 2004 2:03 AM:

I'm waiting for the update to this article - maybe along the lines of the identity badges being star or triangle shaped. Yellow or pink would be nice colours.

Invisible Scientist said at December 25, 2004 5:19 AM:

The "badges" that were star shaped, etc, were used by the Christian Inquisition regimes in Europe,
several centuries ago. But the US still remains politically correct, and this is why the "badges"
won't work in Iraq, because using badges for all Iraqis, would mean that all of Iraq would be
turned into a giant prison camp, with all its citizens encircled ( the ones who have left Fallujah,
are no longer followed, and they are not wearing implanted chips in their skulls to monitor them. )


HOWEVER, this method of badges or implanted chips, WOULD work if a totalitarian regime takes over the
world, since the modern technology will then make it possible to monitor all phases of human development
from kindergarten age to retirement age. Any word that you utter in your sleep will be overheard by
mini robots, and there will be weekly interrogations by automated machines for each citizen, and it will
be impossible to lie to the computers that will read your brain waves and know you are hiding something.

noone said at December 25, 2004 9:34 AM:

"only way the US can prevail against the Iraqi Sunnis is to find a way to get the Shias to be motivated to suppress the Sunni insurgency. So far the Shias have taken the attitude that they do not want to be ruled by the Sunnis or the US and expect the US to deal with the Sunnis."


"Conservation of force" is a basic military principle right up there with "take the high ground".

The Shia know from personel experience that we always cut and run,they're just saving their bullets.The Shia will get real motivated to the day after we leave.
In the meantime,the more Sunni fighters we kill,the fewer they'll have to deal with later.
I won't try to make odds,but Iraq has the potential to turn into a cockpit as Shia,Sunni,Arab,Turk,Kurd and Persian indulge historic feuds and try to dominate the area or just avoid being dominated.

What will be intersting will be Europe's reaction when they realize a forced US withdrawl from Iraq won't stop till we get home.(our internal problems may make this retreat more likely)
A US retreat into isolationism will be a geo-strategic disaster on par with the fall of Byzantium,there will no longer be a frontline buffer state between them and Islam.

Vienna under siege again?

Invisible Scientist said at December 25, 2004 12:59 PM:


NoOne wrote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"What will be intersting will be Europe's reaction when they realize a forced US withdrawl from Iraq won't stop till we get home.(our internal problems may make this retreat more likely)
A US retreat into isolationism will be a geo-strategic disaster on par with the fall of Byzantium,there will no longer be a frontline buffer state between them and Islam.
Vienna under siege again?"
------------------------------------------------------------------

Well said. So far, the European Union still believes that it is possible to appease
the Muslims who are angry at the United States for having too much influence in the Middle East.
Initially, it was true that the Islamic extremists motivated their first generation of followers by
encouraging them to revold against the Western influence, but ultimately, these extremists also have
their own territorial ambitions, and this is what the Europeans don't understand (for the moment, like
NoOne said.) If the US retreats from Iraq, Islam will gain a major victory and will be encouraged to
ask for concesssions from Europe. At that precise moment, it is certainly possible that Saudi Arabia
will also fall into the Al Qaeda sphere... Now the issue is this: a lot of people are saying that
the Shiites of Iran will never unite with the Sunnis in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. This may be true if
the West had not existed, but in the end, they might be united against Europe. Imagine if they
as for free immigration to Europe in exchange for oil. No money, but political influence. Then what?

But since the Europeans wrote the book of fascism and imperialism, the swift political transition in Europe
might surprise both the Muslims _AND_ the Americans if Europe decides to use very cruel measures against
the Middle Eastern nations.

gcochran said at December 25, 2004 8:05 PM:


The idea that the Arabs are suddenly going to fuse into one big threat, a bit like a slime mold, is ridiculous. I hate to break the news, but sovereign entities seldom do that voluntarily: it's against the interests of the VIPS. Which would you rather be, President/King/Dictator of a small country or governor of a state? It doeswn't happen often usualyl only there is a serious outside threat: that's how the Athenian Empire started. for example. Usually it doesn't happen even when it's absolutely essential - states stay disunitd and lsoe to the outside enemy.

There have been a few attempts in recent times to forge some kind of Arab superstate: I could listt them, but I have better things to do. Go look them up. Keywords UAE, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya.

And of coursee, all the Arabs together would have a GNP less than Spain. They're no threat to anybody.


Get real.

Engineer-Poet said at December 25, 2004 11:24 PM:

Nineteen thugs with a budget of a few hundred thousand dollars caused many billions of losses in the USA.  One pissant nation with a nuclear weapon could multiply that by a hundred.

It's a mistake to think that potential for damage is proportional to strength.

Engineer-Poet said at December 25, 2004 11:25 PM:

Nineteen thugs with a budget of a few hundred thousand dollars caused many billions of losses in the USA.  One pissant nation with a nuclear weapon could multiply that by a hundred.

It's a mistake to think that potential for damage is proportional to strength.

Kurt said at December 25, 2004 11:36 PM:

Naw, the ID badges will be cresent-shaped and green colored. Kind of like the yellow star of davids.

These measures obviously indicate that the invasion was unable to dislodge the insurgency. It also indicates the forced resettlement and seige-designed settlements that were tried during the Vietnam war, with disasterous results.

gcochran said at December 26, 2004 12:08 AM:

Nations have return addresses. Basing our entire foreign policy on 9-11 is foolish. it is as if we decided that bovids were the big threat after Mrs O'Leary's cow started the Chicago fire. In fact I don't think that the Administration is all that concerned about the terrorist threat: they have pretty much lost interest in Bin Laden, they don't seem to mind royally pissing off the Moslem world by invading Iraq, they try to appoint mobbed-up whoresons as head of Homeand Secuerity: they don't really believe in it. There's no reason why they should. They're just using it as the excuse for some incredibly clumsy old-fashioned imperialism: that is, to the extent that what they're doing can be said to have any purpose at all.

Look, we had a disaster, and we decided that that disaster was the central event of history, since it happened to us, this generation. It's not. A foreign policy that puts zero weight on 9-11 is closer to optimal than one that weights it heavily.

Stephen said at December 26, 2004 2:49 AM:

But the response is still understandable at a street level - arabs hijacked the planes, so arabs had to pay and it doesn't matter which ones. Its simply the natural human desire to lash out. I think the Administration sensed that desire and gave the masses a convenient (militarily speaking) target.

Absent the Iraq invasion and the grubby political mantra equating support for the war with support for the troops, its difficult to see how the Administration would have gained reelection. Imagine if in the months following 9/11 a person had predicted that Osama would still be at large in 2004 and that the Administration wouldn't be punished at the polling booth for not using all its military might to track him down. He'd have been laughed out of town.

PacRim Jim said at December 26, 2004 6:12 PM:

Under tight American rule? Which tight American?

gcochran said at December 26, 2004 8:17 PM:


The Flag that makes you free.

crush41 said at December 27, 2004 2:00 PM:

US desperation is expressed in a willingness to treat all Fallujans as part of the insurgency - the inevitable fate of an occupying army that tries to "root out" a popular resistance.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Obviously a tendentiously written piece, writing off embedded accounts of the majority of reporters (from the pro-war American press no less!). The "civilians" had a month to clear out--those remaining in the city were by default combatants.

Most Iraqis ARE glad the U.S. came in (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-28-poll-cover_x.htm) even though they want us out now. Destroying hotbeds of extremism within Iraq and suppressing them will bode well for the more moderate Sunnis to control the area in the future (when the U.S. presence becomes innocuous).

Short of high-tailing it, what would have been a better approach to Fallujah? Continuing to "surround" the city? Martial law is what is required at this stage of the occupation, not even more restrictive military measures and ridiculous political correctness.

Stephen said at December 27, 2004 10:36 PM:

I think they have martial law now - military patrols, curfews, house-to-house searches, shootings, arbitrary arrest and military trial. The "hotbeds of extremism" are inflamed by the occupying forces, and I think the only way to remove those extremists is to first remove the inflamation.

An option (and maybe it could still work) would have been to move the military out of all of the cities and into bases in the desert. The military's role would then be limited to keeping the highways safe - no patrols in the cities, no road blocks, no identity cards, no house-to-house searches, no mass arrests, and no tempting targets for extremists, nothing.

Without the distraction and resentment caused by the military presence, the citizens of the cities might be inclined to concentrate on developing their own local governments rather than taking on the surly, passive aggressive, or openly aggressive, attitude common to all occupied people. Some cities will go fundamentalist, others won't. We can live with it. Some local politicians will be pro-US, others won't. We can live with it. Vive la differance.

Oh, and another advantage is that the US could halve its troop numbers because it only needs to protect the highways connecting the cities.

That said, I doubt my theory would work now - all of the city infrastructure workers have hightailed it, and the occupied people attitude is too ingrained.

Stephen said at December 27, 2004 11:06 PM:

PS: I have a deja vu about my above post - sorry if I'm repeating myself.

T. J. Madison said at December 28, 2004 1:04 PM:

It's good that our military is getting all of this experience setting up a police state in Fallujah. That way they'll be prepared when it's time to do the same here in the US.

crush41 said at December 28, 2004 7:22 PM:

The "hotbeds of extremism" are inflamed by the occupying forces, and I think the only way to remove those extremists is to first remove the inflamation.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is it the occupying force that is causing the conflagration, or is it foreigner fighters supplying the gas? Obviously some combination of both, but turning up the heat now and then receeding seems to be in the best interest of Iraq given the cirumstances. Assuming a rescinding of US forces is in the future, it makes sense that we hammer the strongest anti-west opposition (especially those from outside Iraq) before we go.

Bob Badour said at December 29, 2004 6:04 PM:

Stephen,

Your suggestion to disperse American strength over a huge geographic area instead of concentrating it on a tightly clustered enemy strikes me as contrary to sound military tactics.


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