Counterinsurgency run amok

By Pepe Escobar

 Extract only
".....Whom are you going to trust: Fallujah civilians who
risked their lives to escape, witnesses such as
Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, hospital
doctors, Amnesty International, top United Nations
human-rights official Louise Arbour, the International
Committee of the Red Cross; or the Pentagon and
US-installed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi?

On the humanitarian front, Fallujah is a tragedy. The
city has virtually been reduced to rubble. Remaining
residents, the Red Cross confirms, are eating roots
and burying the dead in their gardens. There's no
medicine in the hospitals to help anybody. The wounded
are left to die in the streets - their remains to be
consumed by packs of stray dogs. As, a Europe-wide collective, puts it,
"World governments, international organizations,
nobody raises a finger to stop the killing." The
global reaction is apathy.

Civilians? What civilians?

Asia Times Online sources in Baghdad confirm the anger
across the Sunni heartland - even among moderates -
against the occupation and Allawi has reached
incendiary proportions. His credibility - already low
before the Fallujah massacre - is now completely gone.

Allawi insists on the record that not a single
civilian has died in Fallujah. Obviously nobody in his
cabinet told him what Baghdad is talking about - the
hundreds of rotting corpses in the streets, the
thousands of civilians still trapped inside their
homes, starving, many of them wounded, with no water
and no medical aid. And nobody has told him of dozens
of children now in Baghdad's Naaman hospital who lost
their limbs, victims of US air strikes and artillery

A top Red Cross official in Baghdad now estimates that
at least 800 civilians have been killed so far - and
this is a "low" figure, based on accounts by Red
Crescent aid workers barred by the Americans from
entering the city, residents still inside Fallujah,
and refugees now huddling in camps in the desert near
Fallujah. The refugees tell horror stories - including
confirmation, already reported by Asia Times Online,
of the Americans using cluster bombs and spraying
white phosphorus, a banned chemical weapon.

The talk in the streets of Baghdad, always referring
to accounts by families and friends in and around
Fallujah, confirms that there have been hundreds of
civilian deaths. Moreover, according to the Red Cross
official, since September Allawi's Ministry of Health
has not provided any medical supplies to hospitals and
clinics in Fallujah: "The hospitals do not even have
aspirin," he said, confirming many accounts in these
past few days from despairing Fallujah doctors. The
official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of
US military reprisal.

Even submitted to media blackout - an al-Arabiya
reporter, for instance, was arrested by the Americans
because he was trying to enter Fallujah - the Arab
press is slowly waking up to the full extent of the
tragedy, not only on networks such as al-Jazeera and
al-Arabiya, but also in newspapers like the
pro-American Saudi daily Asharq a-Awsat. Our sources
say that most of Baghdad and the whole Sunni triangle
is already convinced that the Americans "captured"
Fallujah general hospital, bombed at least two clinics
and are preventing the Red Crescent from delivering
urgent help because as many bodies as possible must be
removed before any independent observers have a chance
to evaluate the real extent of the carnage....."