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Extract from Informed Comment for November 19 2004 Friday, November 19, 2004

Did Fallujah Sink the Elections?

Among the justifications given by the US for its campaign against guerrillas in Fallujah was that it would prepare the way for elections in January. It was said that elections could not be held as long as major cities were not even in government control.

It seems likely, however, that the Fallujah offensive has so deeply alienated the Sunni Arab populace of Iraq, which is probably 4 million to 4.5 million strong, that it has ensured that they will boycott the polls as American-sponsored. The political goals of the Fallujah campaign, in other words, were foredoomed to failure, even if military objectives were met, with the capture and destruction of thousands of pounds of explosives intended for other cities. (Most of the military goals probably weren't met either, however, since the guerrillas could easily reestablish themselves and the guerrilla war seems likely to go on at much the same pace as before for the foreseeable future. There are after all 250,000 tons of explosives and ammunitions unaccounted for in Iraq, which the US allowed the guerrillas to raid and store)....More