Saturday, July 21, 2007

A 'surge' of their own

The monthly figures for June showed the highest daily number of attacks on US troops for four years, confirming an upward trend that has been happening for the last four years. The figures also confirm an encouraging downward trend in attacks on civilians which, at any rate, still constitute a minority of such attacks: roughly 70% of attacks are directed at coalition forces, 16% at the Iraqi security forces, and 14% on civilians. As Marc Lynch explains [audio file], this, combined with the revelations of a united resistance political front on Thursday, reflects a sense of growing confidence that the occupiers may be pushed out of Iraq. It also expresses a desire by the nationalist mainstream of the resistance to push the takfiri elements to the margins, since they now believe that they can articulate their interests in a post-occupation Iraq.

Despite some efforts to spin it in a contrary fashion, this pretty well ruins the narrative that the Americans are trying to push, that they are winning Iraqi insurgents to their side against 'Al Qaeda'. Incidentally, there is an interesting psyop going on right now with this 'revelation' that Omar al-Baghdadi, supposedly the leader of the 'Islamic State of Iraq' was a fictitious character (even though it has been claimed that he was captured). This emerged in US interrogation of a captured 'Al Qaeda leader', which means it was probably tortured out of him. Whether the information is true or not, the backstory being provided by the military is certainl false. They claim that this character was invented to give the impression that the 'Islamic State of Iraq' was not a front group for 'Al Qaeda in Iraq', and that it is a national movement and not a foreign one. This is designed to be confusing, but it is reasonably well known that a) the ISI is a composite of different groups, and b) most of the membership of 'Al Qaeda in Iraq' is actually Iraqi, and not foreign (although most of the suicide attacks are alleged to be carried out by the tiny input of 'foreign fighters'). If I didn't know better (and I don't), I would guess that the US military is right now busily trying to win a domestic propaganda battle in order to legitimise a long-term occupation. The Iraqis, they say, are coming to realise that we are their allies, and that 'Al Qaeda' are their real enemies, and so we must stay and protect them alongside our former enemies. It's something to do with leveraging xenophobia.