Wednesday, March 26, 2003

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MORE ON DEBAATHIFICATION AND URBAN COMBAT: I argued a few days ago that Baathist resistance during the war makes postwar de-Baathification a much easier task. At the same time, the resulting spectre of more urban combat was worrying.

After reading this London Times piece, I feel on much firmer ground on de-Baathification, and more sanguine that urban warfare will not be as devastating as feared. Here are the money quotes from the commander of British forces in Iraq, Air Marshal Brian Burridge:

"'What's going on there is there are these unconventional forces, the people who really have gripped the people of Iraq in fear, the Saddam Fedayin, for example, the Baath party militia and the special security operation, and these are bunches of determined men who will fight hard because they have no future in Iraq and it is they that we have to get at.

We have always known we would have to get at them and we did that last night in Zubayr.

We went to their headquarters and engaged in contact with them, killed a number of them and made it quite clear that we are up for this and you are going to have a very hard time.

'A column of armour did try to come out of Basra last night and 20 of them won't be going back because they had the attention of our artillery.'

But he said that a military victory would take time, arguing that it was "slightly early days" to be expecting a popular uprising against Saddam.

'There is a reason for that, in 1991, when Basra was the subject of a major uprising, the way in which it was dealt with by the regime has left a deep memory.

Give it some time.'"

UPDATE: Greg Djerejian provides an alternative suggestion on the best course for de-Baathification.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kanan Makiya, who's keeping a war diary for The New Republic, makes some excellent points on how de-Baathification will need to proceed. Bravo to TNR Online for the having the good sense to ask Makiya and Gregg Easterbrook to file daily dispatches on the conflict. Clearly Noam Scheiber, TNR's online editor, is going places [That's enough sucking up for now--ed.]

posted by Dan on 03.26.03 at 10:06 AM



We are the Supreme National Commission for the DeBa'athification Iraq.

It would be a pleasure for us to answer all your questions and be part of your dialogs.

Many things are understood wrong! Let have a try!

Until than!

Best regards

posted by: Eiman Al-Alusi on 03.26.03 at 10:06 AM [permalink]

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