only one or two Iraqi cities firmly held by US-led forces in the
third week of their invasion, experts are questioning the
effectiveness of the
war plan, and the credibility of messages being relayed by US
are almost in control of their country, and we'll be in complete
control soon,'' said US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Friday.
congressional official Joseph Cirincione respectfully disagrees.
would be more correct to say we are operating in most areas of the
country but we control very little,” said Cirincione,
also Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace and member of the Council on Foreign
made by other Bush officials, such as Defence Secretary
Rumsfeld’s assertion that Saddam Hussein would fall “at the
first whiff of gunpowder” or Vice president Dick Cheney’s
defiant pronouncement that the Iraqi military would “fall like a
house of cards,” have fallen far short of expectations, he said.
the senior civilian leadership in US was surprised by the level of
resistance. They honestly believed people would rise up when they
entered and that hasn’t happened,” Cirincione said.
forces have overestimated their control over Iraqi cities,
said the commander of Egyptian forces in the 1991 Gulf war,
can they announce the capture of certain cities when they confess
to pockets of resistance? he asked in an interview with Al
can they claim they’ve taken a city when they’re still
being fired upon, or when they continue shelling a town centre?
This means that they must not have troops there,” he said.
forces are actually seizing the outskirts of cities, according to
Bilal, where the public is not involved in the the defence of a
city. A city’s defence plan does not include the outskirts, he
US military is winning substantial victories against conventional
forces, Cirincione said. “We
have defeated most of the Republican Guard. No one thought it would
be a contest.”
“real control” only comes when US forces walk the streets
of a city. "And that’s still a long way off,” he
the “awesome” power of the US military, it is highly vulnerable
to attacks by guerrilla or irregular forces.
forces do not attack frontline positions, he said. “They engage
the enemy wherever it is weakest, such as fuel trucks and
the level of resistance witnessed so far indicates it will be a
“very difficult” occupation, he said.
greatest challenge is still ahead trying to occupy a country where
the larger part of the population opposes American force.”
if half of Baghdad’s six million residents welcome US troops,
deep antagonism, possibly
emanating from 12 years of crippling sanctions, may reside in the
hearts of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in
Baghdad or elswhere.
based the war plan on very optimistic assessments, the US military
“grossly underestimated” the power of nationalism, “both
Iraqi nationalism and Arab nationalism,” Cirincione said.
tense air of suspicion may reign over
trigger-trained young American boys occupying Baghdad; unable to
speak the language, and having trouble discerning between
innocents and combatants.
Beirut, US troops were welcomed in the 1980s only to be
subjected to the worst attack in military history, a few months
after their entry.
attacks will be increasingly active in the future,” said retired
General Mustapha Maher formerly with the Egyptian military.
Iraqis are relying on the factor of time,” he said. “The
longer the war lasts, the greater US and the British loses will
citizens may not be prepared for casualties from a protracted
conflict, due in part to highly optimistic media coverage, said
you look at American media this war is being shown from the
perspective of the firing hand, and in the Arab world, this war is
being viewed on receiving end, with an emphasis on those being
America it looks heroic, but in the Arab world it looks like
slaughter,” he said. “The
American public does
not understand the level of hatred growing in the Muslim world as
a result of this war.” --- Al Jazeera