U.S. using Israeli tactics to subdue Iraq uprising

Friday, April 16, 2004

The U.S. Army has adopted Israel's military style to contain the insurgency in Iraq, including such tactics as the bulldozing of houses.

A new report said U.S. forces have used such Israeli military measures as heavy firepower, the sealing of villages, mass arrests and the bulldozing of homes of suspected Iraqi insurgents in the campaign to stabilize Iraq.

The report said the U.S. Army adopted the tactics employed by Israel's military in the West Bank, Gaza Strip as well as in southern Lebanon in the 1990s.

Iraqi analysts and journalists have begun to cite what they term similarities between Israeli and U.S. military tactics, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the U.S. military has adopted the Israeli methods of laying siege to Arab cities and detaining the families of insurgents.

"It is not lost on the Iraqis that the U.S. military has embraced some of the tactics used by the Israeli army in the West Bank and Gaza," the study by the Middle East Report said. "Massive displays of firepower, sealing off villages with razor wire, mass arrests and bulldozing houses of suspected militants have become commonplace. Sunni mosques have been raided and senior clerics detained."

Authored by defense analyst Nicholas Blanford, who spent a month in Iraq, the report said the U.S. tactics have reduced the number of attacks against U.S. troops in the Sunni Triangle. At the same time, the report said, the policy of the Iraqi army and police has increased the sense of resentment among Sunnis toward the U.S. occupation.

"The Americans are falling into the same vicious cycle that ensnared the Israeli army in south Lebanon in the early 1980s: cracking down on the guerrillas fuels support for the resistance, which leads to more repressive measures, and on and on," the report, entitled "The Specter of Sectarian and Ethnic Unrest in Iraq," said. "The U.S. Army views its counter-insurgency efforts largely in military terms. However, political measures are equally, if not more, important for diminishing the violence of opposition."

The report, published before the Shi'ite revolt in Iraq earlier this month, warned that Iraqi Sunni Arabs will not end their resistance to U.S. military occupation unless they feel they have a stake in a post-Saddam Iraq. Sunni Arabs have already announced plans to establish a militia to compete with forces organized by the Kurds and Shi'ites.

"You have just made Iraq another Palestine," Houda Zayati, a correspondent from the Iraqi Balad daily, told Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez during a news conference in Baghdad on April 8.

U.S. officials acknowledged the influence of the Palestinian war against Israel on the uprising in Iraq. They said Mahdi Army leader Moqtada Sadr has publicly identified with Hamas and Hizbullah.

"He started calling himself the striking arm of Hamas and Hizbullah and he has told his militia to go out and kill Iraqis and kill coalition forces," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the coalition, said.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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