News Release

* Fallujah * Sadr City — Context and Parallels

DAVID ENDERS
Currently in D.C., Enders edited Baghdad Bulletin and has spent much of the last year in Iraq. He will be returning there in mid-April. He said today: “In Fallujah, as a mission to avenge the deaths of four ‘contractors’ killed there last week is underway, it is important to note: The four men killed, who have often been referred to as ‘civilian contractors’ in the press, worked for a private security company from North Carolina. Private soldiers in Iraq are combatants — they kill and detain Iraqis…. There are more private soldiers (over 10,000) in Iraq at the present time than there are British soldiers…. By closing Shi’ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr’s newspaper, it appears the U.S. army has given the young imam the necessary leverage to call for armed struggle on his behalf….”

DOUGLAS VALENTINE
Author of the book The Phoenix Program, Valentine said today: “More and more the so-called ‘counter-insurgency’ in Iraq resembles the CIA’s infamous Phoenix Program in South Vietnam, in which the CIA — under cover of military ‘cordon and search’ operations — went into villages that supported the resistance, in hopes of catching or killing guerrilla leaders. The My Lai massacre was the penultimate example of such a flawed policy. Today, in a traditional ‘cordon and search’ (or ‘search and destroy’) operation, U.S. Marines closed all roads into Fallujah….”
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AS’AD ABUKHALIL
AbuKhalil is professor of political science at California State University at Stanislaus and visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He is available to comment on events in Iraq and the region. (His book about the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is being released in a few weeks.)
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ANDY SHALLAL
In an IPA news release dated April 10, 2003, just after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Shallal said: “When I was a kid in Iraq, we had coups and I would go out and jump in the street because it was the coolest thing. It’s like D.C. when the Redskins win the Super Bowl. The problem is what comes after.” With the one-year anniversary of Hussein’s fall approaching, Shallal, founder of Iraqi-Americans for Peaceful Alternatives, said today: “Before the incident of the Al-Hawza [newspaper] closing, most Shi’ite demonstrations were peaceful…. They are beginning to realize that the freedom they were promised is not going to simply materialize — no jobs, no security and now no voice…. The U.S. is left with a cabal of cronies (the Governing Council) whose allegiance is far more to the corporate invaders than it is to the people of Iraq. Ahmed Chalabi is holding all the cards — he now controls the ministry of finance (incredible considering his background), trade and oil. It’s like having Kenneth Lay become the head of the Treasury Department…. One must ask oneself: Is this part of the U.S. plan — to create more disruptions in order to further clamp down? Why is the U.S. sending relatively untrained Iraqi police to clash with the demonstrators? How can the U.S. justify closing a newspaper office — what happened to freedom and democracy? … Fallujah reminds one of Jenin — the parallel with what is happening in Palestine is very stark. Sadr himself has made the connection.”
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Note: For information on past crackdowns on media in Iraq, see: http://www.accuracy.org//press_releases/PR092403.htm. Last Summer, Human Rights Watch issued an 18-page report, “Violent Response: The U.S. Army in al-Fallujah,” shortly after U.S. troops fired on a group of protestors in Fallujah. See: www.hrw.org/press/2003/06/iraq061703.www.hrw.org/press/2003/06/iraq061703.htm.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167