Uh Huh Oh Yeah

Here’s an interesting article in the New York Times about the presence of ‘foreign fighters’ (i.e. ones there against the expressed wishes of the US administration) in Iraq.

Saudis accounted for the largest number of fighters listed on the records by far — 305, or 41 percent — American intelligence officers found as they combed through documents and computers in the weeks after the raid. The data show that despite increased efforts by Saudi Arabia to clamp down on would-be terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001, when 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, some Saudi fighters are still getting through.

Libyans accounted for 137 foreign fighters, or 18 percent of the total, the senior American military officials said. They discussed the raid with the stipulation that they not be named because of the delicate nature of the issue.


In contrast to the comparatively small number of foreigners, more than 25,000 inmates are in American detention centers in Iraq. Of those, only about 290, or some 1.2 percent, are foreigners, military officials say.

So most of those fighting against the Americans are in fact Iraqis, although that is not how things are normally portrayed. Yet it’s hardly surprising, seeing as 60% of Iraqis are in favour of attacks on U.S. troops.

It is clear who the culprits are, however:

American officials have accused Iran, the largest Shiite nation in the Middle East, of sending powerful bombs to Iraq and of supporting and financing Shiite militias that attack American troops. They also contend that top Iranian leaders support efforts to arm Shiite fighters.

But whatever aid Iran provides to militias inside Iraq does not seem to extend to supplying actual combatants: Only 11 Iranians are in American detention, United States officials say.

So what to do? Prominent US senator Joseph Lieberman, for instance, advocates bombing Iran because of its role in the Iraqi insurgency. Given the preponderance of fighters from Saudi Arabia and Libya, one expects Lieberman and others to call for the bombing of these countries.

5 Responses to “Uh Huh Oh Yeah”

  1. 1 dav November 22, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Seymour Hersh made the point in his recent lecture in Trinity that if Iran actually wanted to interfere in Iraq, any more than the level they have over the last 20 years say, then the US would be up shit creek. Instead of IEDs, car bombs and suicide bombing – they’d have to contend with rocket launchers, SAM sites, ‘advanced’ explosives, intelligence and god knows what else – thus compromising the coalition’s (we should probably stop using that term since the US are the only ones really left there) air dominance and well every other dominance.


    Oh and they’re on the list somewhere…

    “No stages,” he said. “This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq… this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war… our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” [Richard Perle, 2002]


  2. 2 Hugh Green November 22, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Perle is a revolting swine.

  3. 3 Donagh November 22, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    The whole thing about the buisiness with the build up to the attack on Iraq was the prevading sense that it was a foregone conclusion. The US was going to attack and all the UN hoo-ha was fine and dandy but it was shadow play. All those who protested knew this, but they had to turn up so that when they’re children asked them what they did at the time they could confidently look them in the eye and say that they did not stand idly by. But all they had to do was register a complaint. A bit like sending a letter to an Ombudsman. I realise of course, that my point here isn’t entirely original, I just can’t remember who made it first.

    But then read something like the recent Mother Jones article about the focus group who were looking for the language required to convince people that it would be acceptable to Iran and you realise that thinking about things as a foregone conclusion is really no longer an option.

    “On November 1, she went to the offices of Martin Focus Groups in Alexandria, Virginia, knowing she would be paid $150 for two hours of her time. After joining a half dozen other women in a conference room, she discovered that she had been called in for what seemed an unusual assignment: to help test-market language that could be used to sell military action against Iran to the American public. “The whole basis of the whole thing was, ‘we’re going to go into Iran and what do we have to do to get you guys to along with it?” says Sonnenmark, 49.”


  4. 4 Hugh Green November 22, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    I think Zizek recently made the (perhaps slightly obnoxious) point that the protesters were complicit in the same game being played by the groups mobilising for war.

  5. 5 dav November 22, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Not just complicit, dishonestly complicit apparently:

    “…the gesture is that of calling the other’s bluff, counting on the fact that what the other really fears is that one will fully comply with his or her demand. And would not the same gesture also throw our radical academics into a panic? Here the old ’68 motto ‘Soyons realistes, demandons l’impossible!’ acquires a new cynical and sinister meaning which, perhaps, reveals its truth: ‘Let’s be realists: we, the academic Left, want to appear critical while fully enjoying the privileges the system offers us. So let’s bombard the system with impossible demands: we all know that these demands won’t be met, so we can be sure that nothing will actually change, and we’ll maintain our privileged status!’”


    On the surface of it, Bush’s re-election supported his contention.

    Playing the devil’s advocate… In perpetuating the system as it stands, apathetically supporting the status quo on the basis that we are powerless to change anything, simply endorses the ways and means of those that fulfil the evil inevitabilities that puritans of the concept arrive at. If the war is about oil, why can’t we use that argument to attempt to reduce our dependence on it? Most, and indeed I am no saint (not that anyone assumed otherwise), of us still haven’t grasped the implications of climate change.

    In a sense then, because the antiwar movement has relieved itself of the delusion the war was ‘just’ or motivated by some sort of ‘compassionate’ inclination, the responsibility is far greater.

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November 2007

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