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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

11/10/2004

Fallujah

Anger over the assault grew among Iraq's Sunni minority, and international groups and the Russian government warned that military action could undermine elections in January. The U.N. refugee agency expressed fears over civilians' safety.

The Sunni clerics' Association of Muslim Scholars called for a boycott of the elections. The association's director, Harith al-Dhari, said the Sunnis could not take part in an election held "over the corpses of those killed in Fallujah."
washington post
With 70% of Fallujah in Coalition/Iraqi hands Sunni seething has begun.

The Sunni Muslims in Iraq have a problem: they are, at best, 20% of the population. So long as Uncle Cuddles was in charge they were fine as he owed his position to their loyalty and their ruthlessness in suppressing the Shi'ites and the Kurds. Now he's gone and the prospect of an election which they cannot win bites.

The reduction of Fallujah - and what a wonderfully medieval term for what is essentially a battle between the 21st and 13th centuries - proceeds apace. You cannot get a better over view than Wrechard's over at Belmont Club. However, the political implications of the battle in the Sunni triangle - and it involves more than Fallujah - are going to take a while to puzzle out.

To a degree those implications will depend on how many "insurgents" are killed and how many of those turn out not to be insurgents at all but rather foreign fighters. My sense is that if the bulk of the casualties are foreign fighters it will not matter a great deal to the intensely tribal Sunni how many are killed or captured.

As well, the politics of the battle will depend on how effective the taking of Fallujah is in reducing car bombings and the assorted slaughters and kidnappings in Iraq. If this is, in fact, the vipers nest there is the chance that a level of security will be restored to the rest of the country with it's elimination. But that is a big if.