Up until now, military battle in Iraq of occupier versus resistance was determined primarily by issues of military strategy. Now, U.S. public opinion is the key determining factor. And this realization is driving the military responses of both sides. As a result, the risk of 'spectacular' attacks by the resistance has never been greater.
The Iraqi resistance is now gathering forces to launch large-scale attacks on American bases, in a shift from the tactics of roadside bombs and hit-and-run attacks.
In the latest attack on an isolated Marine base at Husaybah, Western Iraq a rebel force of about 100 attacked with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, even as as a dump truck loaded with explosives blew apart a roadblock at the entrance to the base.
Immediately another truck loaded with explosives, came aiming at the gap opened by the first blast. U.S. claims to have easily repelled the attack are belied by photos of the scene.
That attack on April 11 came a week after a similar mass attack on the prison at Abu Ghraib, which injured 44 Americans guarding or working in the prison. Again the assault was preceded by fierce mortar bombardment of American positions, as well as twin suicide car bombings aimed at breaching the prison wall.
One military analyst, who asked that his name not be used, told Knight Ridder that the the resistance now displays a greater level of coordination and synchronization than in the past.
Political considerations and military realities have forced commanders to abandon their gung-ho Fallujah/Ramadi-type operations. The U.S was prepared to go through the Iraqi civillians to try crush the resistance, but the tactic didn't work. Street warfare casualties were too high, and these operations left the U.S. looking militarily like a bull taunted by Iraqi matadors. The dislocation of civillians didn't seem to hamper the rebels in the least.
Since the Iraq elections, the U.S. has changed tack, deploying their limited resources of Iraqi forces to lower the U.S. casualty rate -while slowly building Iraqi political and security structures.
It's a pragmatic move, but the rebels are already using their extra operational space to come after U.S. forces in their bases. They and the U.S. leadership know that any level of significant casualties would remind the sleepy U.S. public that their army is still in Iraq.
When that happens they are going to want them out. The alleged elections in Iraq were the last PR card in the U.S administration's political deck.The seeds of a broad antiwar movement will sprout, and inoxerably lead to a U.S. withdrawal.
Both sides know that one headline attack is worth six months of resistance in it's effect on U.S. opinion. As a retired Army general just back from a fact-finding trip to Iraq has admitted -but not in such terms.
"The insurgency is viable and resilient and has the capacity to achieve significant surprise," Gen. John Keane told The Hill. "They have the capacity to plan a coherent operation for large-scale effect."
The U.S. administration is tiptoeing around the American public.
The resistance is looking for an alarm clock.
Stop Press: Looks like we beat the Sunday Herald to the punch by 24hrs. with their April 24th version of this story, by Trevor Royle:
Military fear Zarqawi ‘spectacular’.
The Herals article bears no resemblance to ours though. It's run-of-the-mill disinfo/propaganda. Royle throws a couple of cynical barbs about Zarqawi being a useful fall guy -just to establish his "independent" credentials. But then he nevertheless feeds readers the usual bullshit in the rest of the story.
Including this gem which shows the MIntel boys 'n girls know they have to plug some of the holes in the Zarqawi story:
"In recent briefings the CIA have even cast doubt on whether or not he lost a leg in Afghanistan in 2001 following a US missile strike on Taliban training camps."Anyway, they clearly know a 'Spectacular is a big risk right now - and are readying 'Zarqawi' to take the credit/blame. The Herald article is damage limitation groundwork.
'Zarqawi', of course, is actually a couple of MIntel Op's with an Internet connection and a good line in 'infidel' rhetoric:
"We warn all those who want to join the politics of infidels and apostates that the steel sword will be their only fate," the group, led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said in a statement posted on a website used by Islamists." [source]See also: We killed chopper survivor: Zarqawi
Question: who do you think was best placed to shoot the video footage?