October 21, 2004
On October 18 Adrian Bloomfield of the Daily Telegraph filed a story describing the tense relations at Fallujah between US Marines and the
"Iraqi National Guard" they had been ordered to babysit. The Iraqis mostly deserted after receiving their weapons and pay, and those who stayed behind either acted as resistance agents or artillery spotters for resistance mortar and rocket crews.
Soldiers fear that they are 'sleeping with the enemy'
The sinister atmosphere at Karmah barracks is not difficult to understand. The marines are convinced that many, perhaps most, of the 140 members of the Iraqi National Guard (ING) they share the camp with are double agents working on behalf of the insurgents holding Fallujah.
In the past week alone the marines have arrested five of the guardsmen, including their commanding officer, Capt Ali Mohammed Jasim.
(. . .)
With Fallujah under insurgent control, US marines such as those at Karmah are trying to secure the surrounding al-Anbar province.
Their efforts have been blighted by remotely detonated mines, known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), targeting the patrols that nervously venture out on to the lawless streets of towns that have become insurgent havens. Since June, some platoons have seen up to half their men wounded in action. Eighty marines have been killed in the province.
The marines are convinced that the ING knows where many of the IEDs are planted, and even say they have caught guardsmen in the act of laying mines. When joint patrols come under attack, they say, the ING simply refuses to fight. As the relationship worsens, more and more ING are simply refusing to turn up at work. Of the 140 guardsmen based at Karmah an average of between 40 and 60 turn up on any given day. At other CAP barracks, that number is sometimes as low as two. Since the arrest of the Karmah ING captain, the rapport has become even more sullen. The marines sit under canvas shelters, convinced that the guardsmen lurking in their dormitories are traitors and murderers.
"We know when this place is about to come under mortar attack because the ING suddenly disappear," one marine said, staring across the dusty compound at two guardsmen smoking on a wooden bench. "We are supposed to be fighting together, instead we are sleeping with the enemy."
( http://www.uruknet.info/?p=6437&hd=0&size=1&l=x )
Nevertheless, some so-called "Iraqi National Guard" soldiers did participate in US anti-guerilla operations in Fallujah. These "Iraqis" were Kurdish Peshmerga who had undergone special forces training, possibly under the supervision of the Israeli instructors mentioned by Seymour Hersh in his report on Israeli activity in Kurdish-controlled areas of Iraq:
Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units.
. . a senior C.I.A. official acknowledged in an interview last week that the Israelis were indeed operating in Kurdistan . . . Asked whether the Israelis had sought approval from Washington, the official laughed and said, "Do you know anybody who can tell the Israelis what to do? Theyĺre always going to do what is in their best interest." The C.I.A. official added that the Israeli presence was widely known in the American intelligence community.
(Seymour M. Hersh; "Plan B: As June 30th approaches, Israel looks to the Kurds," The New Yorker, June 21, 2004: http://www.uruknet.info/?p=3694 )
It was none other than US Deputy Chief of Operations Brigadier-General Mark Kimmit and a Chalabi goon called Entifadh Qanbar who spilled the beans about ING desertions and the trusty Kurdish Peshmerga collaborators:
U.S. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy chief of operations here, acknowledged Tuesday that many Iraqi police deserted their stations and posts as fighting raged in several cities the past week. An Iraqi army battalion refused to fight in Fallujah, declaring that its troops had not signed on to attack their countrymen.
(. . .)
Iraqi National Congress spokesman Entifadh Qanbar told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the ICDC's 36th Battalion, based in Fallujah, has performed well under fire.
Qanbar represents the political party headed by Ahmad Chalabi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council and a leading candidate for prime minister when a new government is formed in coming months.
Qanbar said the ICDC unit in Fallujah includes troops loyal to two Kurdish political parties; to the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an Iranian-backed Shiite organization; and to the INC and a rival party, the Iraqi National Accord.
In its first two weeks of operation, he said, the battalion "captured many tons of weapons ... and arrested an Egyptian terrorist cell."
(Betsy Hiel; "Reluctant Iraqi security, police units to be booted", TRIBUNE-REVIEW, April 14, 2004: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/regional/prin
Qanbar inserted the customary dose of self-serving disinformation that we have come to expect from the Ahmed Chalabi gang by enumerating various collaborationist Shia factions, including Calabi's own INC gang, among the ICDC (Iraqi Civil Defense Corps) units fighting the liberation forces at Fallujah. In
reality, the INC and INA are militarily worthless outfits and the SCIRI's Badr Brigades are too busy trying to dodge resistance bullets to contribute anything
but a token force to Fallujah. The only collaborationist groups that have manpower available are the tribes loyal to Kurdish warlords barzani and
Talabani, as borne out by this report of the Independent newspaper:
At the start of the siege of Fallujah three weeks ago, one of the five battalions of the newly formed Iraqi army refused to go to the city because many of its soldiers were not prepared to fight fellow Iraqis.
But news of the mutiny of a second Iraqi unit had not been released. Mr Allawi said US Marines "had to separate those who did want to fight from those who would not".
The battalion may have split along ethnic lines. Its soldiers were recruited from the militiamen of the Iraqi political parties which belong to the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, and about half were Kurdish soldiers, known as peshmerga. The Kurds were prepared to fight but Iraqi Arab soldiers said they had had enough. Those who refused to fight were withdrawn from the battlefield for retraining.
Patrick Cockburn; "Siege of Fallujah provokes second mutiny", Independent U.K., 29 April 2004: http://www.veteransforpeace.org/Seige_of_Fallujah_042904.htm