As the war prolongs, inevitably resulting in more and more Iraqi casualties and mounting wreck and ruin

April 07-13 2003



It is now becoming increasingly clear that the war against Iraq by US-led 3 states coalition forces is not going according to the plan originally conceived by the US war planners. On the 13th day of the war, Iraq remained, most of the time under clouds of the smoke because of one of the heaviest "shock and awe" bombing in the history of wars on a virtually defenceless "enemy". Despite massive destruction and heavy losses of human life, mostly, innocent civilians, neither there has been a revolt against Saddam nor surrender by his army. Instead of any dent caused to his authority in Iraq, Saddam is gradually emerging as a hero of Arab masses for his gallantry and courage to challenge the world only super power in contrast to the captive rulers in most of the Arab world.

Almost two weeks into the war, American and British troops find themselves bogged down, with very few spectacular gains to their credit. Wherever the troops have advanced, they have come up against stiff resistance something they had not anticipated and were obviously ill-prepared for. Among the biggest shocks for the coalition was the resistance they encountered in the south of the country, where the Shia population was believed to be fiercely anti-Saddam. The recent suicide attack, which killed five American soldiers near Najaf, is another unnerving development and may well be the first in a series of such attacks. The Iraqis seem to have learnt some lessons from the debacle of the first Gulf war in 1991. This time round, they seem determined to fight the war on their own terms by drawing the enemy into cities where the vast air superiority of the Americans could be neutralized. The unexpected resistance and overstretched supply lines have now forced the US to call for reinforcements, entailing a pause in the fighting. Most US and British soldiers were expecting a short war in which the Iraqi forces would surrender and the public would greet the troops as 'liberators'. This scenario has clearly proved to be far too optimistic.



US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, widely considered one of the architects of the war, is now coming under fire for embarking on this high-risk adventure with not enough ground troops. A series of false assumptions seems to have gone into the American's war strategy. The most fundamental point is that there was simply no need to rush into this adventure when the weapons inspectors were already doing their job of disarming Iraq peacefully. Despite strong opposition, not least from the UN Security Council, the US and Britain went ahead with their attack, boasting that their 'shock and awe' tactics would swiftly bring the Saddam regime down. The most misplaced assumption was that the people, specially in the south, had been so deeply alienated by Saddam Hussain's tyranny that they would welcome US and British troops as liberators. It was also wrongly believed that Iraqi troops in their thousands would surrender or flee at the first sight of the allied forces. The Americans clearly underestimated the strength of Iraqi nationalism, and the deep public antipathy towards an alien invasion. These self-serving assumptions were obviously based on wishful thinking rather than on a correct reading of the situation on the ground.

As the war prolongs, inevitably resulting in more and more Iraqi casualties and mounting wreck and ruin, the chances of the coalition forces entering a 'friendly Baghdad' will diminish, if ever that should become possible, said on observer in Washington. "You aren't going to get much of a welcome from people whose husbands, sons and brothers you've just killed".

More and more people are now taking deeper looks at history. One Arab commentator had noted: "In 1980, Saddam attacked Iran. During the eight years of the Iraq-Iran war, Britain and its western allies tilted towards Iraq." It has been confirmed that the Thatcher government provided military credits and sold arms to Saddam. Britain had all along known that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons because western companies sold him all the ingredients necessary.

It is also being recalled that in 1988, when Saddam turned on his own people, killing around 5,000 Kurds, the western powers looked the other way. If ever there was a time for humanitarian intervention in Iraq, it was 1988.



Since the beginning of this war, protest demonstrations rocked many cities in many countries. Apart from the people taking to the streets, shouting anti-war slogans, intellectuals across the world have been holding conferences and seminars which resounds with denunciation of this war and condemnation of the carpet bombing of Iraq's major cities, resulting in massive civilians casualties.

The anti-war sentiment in Pakistan was provided by Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali's statement that our alliance with the US over combating international terrorism had absolutely nothing to do with the Iraq war. Pakistan remains opposed to the war and has extended no facilities to any party in this connection.