Monday, August 08, 2005

Iraqi resistance: freelance freedom fighters.

That headline is both descriptive and an attempt to annoy the right people.

The news, ever since those fourteen Marines copped it in Iraq, has been packed with stories of how the Iraqi resistance is changing its tactics, becoming more deadly etc. Here's the BBC , for instance:

They suggest that the insurgents have developed new ways of penetrating the armour of military vehicles and now appear to have more sophisticated firing mechanisms.

Not much more specific info than that. However, it does go on to say:

And Mr Jaafari said that, in the course of tackling the insurgency, everyone - including detainees - should be treated humanely and according to the law.

Well, how about that ?

Anyway, Blood & Treasure has some terribly good material on the resistance, how it is organised and how it fights. As I have indicated before, the fighters are decentralised, disarticulated and cellular. However, it goes deeper than that. To summarise, they are capable of regrouping or joining other cells in the event that the cell's "leader" is captured; many advertise for freelance work on a per-job basis, often via the internet; resistance cells carefully monitor their targets for about five days, checking how and why American patrols use which routes; they videotape attacks so that they can watch and learn from mistakes etc; they are becoming more technologically sophisticated, using "platter charges" which are, it seems, capable of penetrating the heavy armour on US army vehicles; as the bombs are on their way to target, more parts are collected at various sites along the way, thus making it difficult to find a 'bomb-making factory'.

As Posthegemonic Musings puts it:

The Iraqi resistance is, we learn, characterized by flat management structure, portfolio careers, free agency, continuous improvement, delivery cycles, learning organizations, skill set development, and outsourcing. The very model of a modern multinational.

He goes on with some considerations about whether 'black globalisation' is truly separable from run-of-the-mill 'globalisation', to which the answer is a firm no (although I'm not sure about all that Hardt & Negri stuff). For example, ee Loretta Napoleani's The New Economy of Terror for an account of how terrorist networks, often sponsored by the West, have benefited from the deregulation of international finance.

Anyway, as Bush is floundering in Iraq - which a delicious irony of history has him transforming into an Islamic Republic - various efforts have been made to split Iraqis, since the overwhelming majority of them despise the occupation, with evident reason. One tactic is to demonise the resistance as a Zarqawi-led outfit of psychos. Dahr Jamail despatches the Zarqawi myth here , but for the rest see here . Another is to portray it as a Sunni assault on Shi'ites. Popular Shi'ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr disagrees .

In short, it looks as if the occupation is fucked.