Sunday, February 20, 2005

America arms the 'deadenders'

From the Asia Times:

"Now it emerges that there is a strong movement in southern Iraq for the establishment of autonomous Shi'ite provinces as a precursor to introducing vilayet-e-faqih (rule by the clergy) in the whole country.

Of these calls for autonomy or federalism, the most disconcerting for US authorities is the call for religious rule. Already, leading Shi'ite clerics in Iraq are pushing for 'Islam to be recognized as the guiding principle of the new constitution'.

To head off this threat of a Shi'ite clergy-driven religious movement, the US has, according to Asia Times Online investigations, resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population to 'nip the evil in the bud'.

Asia Times Online has learned that in a highly clandestine operation, the US has procured Pakistan-manufactured weapons, including rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, ammunition, rockets and other light weaponry. Consignments have been loaded in bulk onto US military cargo aircraft at Chaklala airbase in the past few weeks. The aircraft arrived from and departed for Iraq.

The US-armed and supported militias in the south will comprise former members of the Ba'ath Party, which has already split into three factions, only one of which is pro-Saddam Hussein. They would be expected to receive assistance from pro-US interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National Accord.

A military analyst familiar with strategic and proxy operations commented that there is a specific reason behind procuring arms from Pakistan, rather than acquiring US-made ones.

'A similar strategy was adopted in Afghanistan during the initial few years of the anti-USSR resistance [the early 1980s] movement where guerrillas were supplied with Chinese-made AK-47 rifles [which were procured by Pakistan with US money], Egyptian and German-made G-3 rifles. Similarly, other arms, like anti-aircraft guns, short-range missiles and mortars, were also procured by the US from different countries and supplied to Pakistan, which handed them over to the guerrillas,' the analyst maintained.

The obvious reason for this tactic is to give the impression that the resistance acquired its arms and ammunition from different channels and from different countries - and anywhere other than the United States."

If your head doesn't explode, follow this up with some information from Time:

". . . after nearly two years of fighting, parts of the insurgency in Iraq are prepared to talk and move toward putting away their arms - and the U.S. is willing to listen. An account of the secret meeting between the senior insurgent negotiator and the U.S. military officials was provided to TIME by the insurgent negotiator. He says two such meetings have taken place. While U.S. officials would not confirm the details of any specific meetings, sources in Washington told TIME that for the first time the U.S. is in direct contact with members of the Sunni insurgency, including former members of Saddam's Baathist regime.

Pentagon officials say the secret contacts with insurgent leaders are being conducted mainly by U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers. A Western observer close to the discussions says that 'there is no authorized dialogue with the insurgents' but that the U.S. has joined 'back-channel' communications with rebels. Says the observer: 'There's a lot bubbling under the surface today.'"

So the Americans are retrying the successful 1980's operation in Afghanistan against the Soviets - you know, the one which established al Qaeda and bin Laden - by covertly supplying arms to the Ba'athist insurgents. Contrary to how this is described in the Asia Times, such arms will not only fail to 'nip in the bud' the break-up of the country, it will go a long way to ensuring that such a break-up is inevitable. The Asia Times lets the cat out of the bag:

"People from different walks of life from Basra and other southern provinces can be heard on television and radio channels demanding a federal system in which southern Shi'ites could govern their oil resources for their benefit.

Notably, Ahmad Chalabi, a leading secular Shi'ite candidate in the Iraqi elections, has called for autonomy for the Shi'ite south, which contains some of the world's largest oil fields. Chalabi, a former US favorite who fell out with Washington after the 2003 invasion, said the move would ensure a fairer share of wealth for a region that provides the bulk of Iraqi revenue but receives only a fraction of state spending. The mainly Shi'ite southern provinces of Amara, Nasiriya and Basra are Iraq's poorest, Chalabi said."

Despite a falling out a while ago, Chalabi is still the main neocon agent in Iraq, which explains how he is still hanging around despite having no real power base in the country. The plan is to arm the insurgency to assist in creating the civil war which will eventually force the creation of three mini-states in Iraq. Chalabi is working the political angles, and the newly-armed insurgency will work the military angles. All of this leads to the Likudnik goal of breaking Arab states up into small unthreatening statelets. The funny thing is that these Ba'athist insurgents will use many of these American-supplied weapons to kill American soldiers, but I guess the goals of Israel are worth a few more dead Americans.