Saturday, January 15, 2005

Salvador after all

If I understand his argument correctly, Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution thinks that the counterinsurgency tactics used by the Americans in El Salvador in the early 1980s cannot translate effectively to Iraq (see my 11 Jan blog The Salvador option). How well taken is the analysis?

I asked Ewa Jasiewicz, an activist who has spent time in Iraq and opposes many US government policies, what she made of Singer's view. She responded at 18:45 on 14 Jan:

I'm not so sure about that analysis. A friend just got back from Basra and said that he barely saw any British troops on the ground but was interviewed by Iraqi special branch within 3 hours of turning up at his hotel.

Don't forget that Iyad Alawi is a CIA favourite and his Iraqi National Accord party is made up of former Baathist intelligence officers. The Baath regime had a vast network of intelligence agents working within 5 seperate but inter-related (some agencies spied on others) agencies -Military, Special, Police, Special Military and I forget the last one but it was a huge apparatus. Some of the agents joined the occupation, to preserve their own interests and save their skins, others joined the resistance.

Iraqi intelligence and Iraqi police have been key in tracking down and arresting Sadr movement activists and having them tortured.

I think the Occupation *has* got strong local forces in support of it. Look at the Iraqi Governing Council. That original 25 party body has been kept in place, politically and militarily by the occupation and those parties are dependent on the occupation for their survival – both physical and economic and political. Its within the interests of the interin GC member parties to co-operate in 'counter terror' measures to stamp out the resistance, and since the beginning they have had intelligence apparatuses of their own and military forces - The Kurdish being the most organised and advanced but also the notorious Badr Brigades of SCIRI.

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