Monday, November 01, 2004

The 100,000 and Falluja

Study Puts Iraqi Deaths of Civilians at 100,000   x   100,000 Civilian Deaths Estimated in Iraq      Iraq death toll 'soared post-war'

Three of the most reliable sources, the best, but it is necessary to read all 3 to get as clear a picture as possible. It was also claimed in BBC interviews that the estimate of 100,000 excess deaths was 'conservative' and it could be double that if  Falluja were taken into account. So, 100,000 extra deaths in a city of 300,000, where the civilian deaths from the assault in April were previously thought to be 800 ?

They had someone else on the BBC a week or so ago, I can't remember who, and the story went something like this : the US marines failed to take Falluja in April and handed control over to the Falluja Brigade, composed of ex-Ba'athists, who promptly handed themselves and their weapons etc over to the insurgents.

Two points need to be made. First, while it is clear that the Falluja Brigade had melted away or gone over by the end of August, they did not surrender immediately. Having taken control on 1 May, they were still there in mid-June.

There is a battle going on for Falluja's soul right now, and it is not clear who is winning. ... Falluja is still a shaky place. In the second week of June, a Falluja Brigade camp was shelled by insurgents, and 12 members of the brigade were wounded.
Secondly, the man in charge of the Falluja Brigade, Muhammad Latif, might have been an ex-Ba'athist, but he was one who fell from favour in July 1979.
Two weeks after Hussein became president, Latif was arrested and jailed as part of a group of 30 officers and civilians accused of trying to plot a coup. Hussein's henchmen snapped both of his arms while he was in prison;  ('The Re-Baathification of Falluja', The New York Times , June 20, 2004)
Greg Djerejian makes a good point in Revisiting the Tora Bora Meme :
In Iraq, and little noted of late, Bush has successfully mitigated the perils of having to grapple with two insurgencies simultaneously...We are now, therefore, free to focus like a laser on the key Sunni insurgent strongholds--with a battle for Fallujah looming shortly.

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