Author`s name Michael Simpson

The Stick and Carrot Policy

Iraq is often compared with Vietnam and Chechnya because of the expansion of the partisan war
A partisan war in Iraq continues that is why the occupation forces still carry out operations aimed at liquidation of the enemy. One of the recent operations is called after a rattlesnake; it is held in the area to the north of Baghdad. One of US servicemen said that the occupation forces would bring down such overwhelming power upon the enemy that they wouldn't dare to fire. This may be so indeed. But we remember that even stronger "overwhelming military power" was exerted upon Iraqis during the recent war. So, although the military pronounce their traditional cheerful statements (in fact, they are repeated before every operation), the US Administration and Washington are still considering the issue of prevention of a lingering partisan war.

Iraq is often compared with Vietnam (the present-day country and the one within the period of Soviet troops stayed there) and Chechnya because of the expansion of the partisan war. Chechnya has become really very popular to make a comparison with. The main idea of recommendations the US Administration receives in connection with the operation in Iraq come to one idea: actions of the Russian troops in the North Caucasian republic of Chechnya are a bad example. It is said that Americans should be wiser.

Last publication on the subject appeared in Britain's The Financial Times. Mark Brzezinski, a Washington attorney, served as director for Russian and Eurasian affairs on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration published his article where he says that America must try to avoid getting into the Chechen trap. The author draws parallels between the problems Russia's army faces in Chechnya and America's army confronts in Iraq; in both cases the armies have to fight against foreign terrorists. At that, objectives of these "Mujahideens" are similar: they are fighting in Iraq and Chechnya in order to "expand the turf of Islamic fundamentalism".

According to Mark Brzezinski, this is the only similarity between the Russian troops in Chechnya and the American ones in Iraq. The author emphasizes that the coalition forces in Iraq are taking every possible measure to reduce the number of losses among the civil population. No information has been reported from Iraq about mass plundering, violence and other violations of human rights similar to those that the Russian troops commit while mopping-up territories in Chechen settlements. In addition, American and allied troops deliver drinking water, food and medical aid to the civil population of Iraq; if necessary, they provide shelter for homeless people.

Thus, the author says, the occupation administration has an opportunity for a maneuver. This opportunity consists in guaranteeing of everyday needs of the Iraqi population: food and water provision, medical aid and "observation of the national and cultural peculiarities". If Americans and their allies will be a success with this mission, then partisans (Iraqi and foreign ones) will lose support of the local population, which in its turn will frustrate the partisan war.

In fact, the problem is even more serious. First of all, there are just few historical examples proving that occupation armies managed to win the sympathy of conquered people. The Iraqi people are the conquered indeed. Second, soldiers of the occupation army are ignorant of the local mode of living that is why it's quite a problem for them to observe "the national and cultural peculiarities of Iraq."  The recent shooting of six Britons in Majar is significant in this case. Local elders blamed British soldiers for serious violation of the Moslem traditions during mopping-up operations, those one that Mark Brzezinski denies. To tell the truth, Britons are much more correct than American soldiers in Iraq. The bloody incident in Majar has become almost the only moment since the end of the war when British soldiers died. And this is at the time when information about slain American soldiers is reported every day.

Iraq was an independent state before the USA and Great Britain launched the military operation there. The regime of Saddam Hussein could hardly be called humane. At least, Iraqis didn't turn the country into a den of bandits resembling the slave-owning system as it happened with Chechnya within 1996-1999. 

Last Saturday, Americans arrested 15 people in Mosul. According to BBC, "the raid was held against the local Vakhabits." Doesn't it remind you of Chechnya?

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