US Losses In Fallujah to Overweight Victory: Expert

Washington will win the military battle in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah but its strategic looses will certainly outweigh such a victory, said a French strategic expert.

Branding the US practices against the Fallujah residents as “state terrorism,” Pascal Boniface, Director of the Institute for International and Strategic Studies in Paris, expected the onslaught to further fan anti-US feelings in the entire Islamic world.

Addressing a seminar organized by the Arab World Institute on Wednesday, November 17 , Boniface said the cold-blooded killing of an unarmed, wounded Iraqi by a US soldiers in a Fallujah mosques was not an isolated incident.

He said the murder as well as the prisoners abuses in the infamous Abu Ghreib and Guantanamo Bay detentions demonstrate an established policy and doctrine.

Several US television networks aired footage of members of a US marine unit entering a mosque in Fallujah before one marine shot an unarmed, wounded man in the head as he lay prone against a wall.

The crime generated revulsion and diatribe from leading international human rights watchdogs, which dismissed it as a war crime and demanded an immediate investigation.

The Iraqi abuse scandal exploded onto the world stage on April 29 , after the US CBS news network published several graphic photos of Iraqi detainees tortured and sexually abused by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

Since then the scandal has been deepening, exposing more elements and factors about interrogation techniques approved by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has been under domestic and international pressure to step down.

Strategic Loss

The French expert described the Fallujah offensive as a ” strategic loss” for the Bush administration.

The Americans would undoubtedly win the fighting but they would strategically lose the battle as they did with the Iraq invasion, Boniface said.

Some 10 , 000US marines and army forces, alongside some2 , 000Iraqi national guard soldiers unleashed a long expected onslaught on the resistance hub Monday, November8 , capping long nights of massive US raids.

The French expert considered the Fallujah operation as a new proof of American troubles in the Iraqis quagmire.

He refuted American allegations that the offensive was to eliminate terrorists from the city.

Boniface expected the onslaught to fan the already spiraling anti-US sentiments across Arab and Muslim countries and create more generations of those described by Washington as terrorists, not only in Iraq but in other parts of the world.

He added that the operation also killed stone dead the legitimacy of the planned January elections and its outcome.

The interim government lost credibility among Iraqis and Arabs who see it as a puppet in the hands of the US occupation forces, said the French expert.

Forty seven Sunni, Shiite, Turkoman and Christian bodies had declared their boycott of the general election over the Fallujah offensive.

A US report warned that any significant withdrawal of US forces from Fallujah would strengthen the Iraqi resistance in the city, The New York Times reported Thursday.

“The enemy will be able to effectively defeat the marines’ ability to accomplish its primary objectives of developing an effective Iraqi security force and setting the conditions for successful Iraqi elections,” said the seven-page report.

Arab Public Opinion

Boniface hailed Arab popular reaction to the Fallujah offensive.

He said that despite the absence of democracy and political pressure groups, the Arab public opinion is turning into a mighty force interacting with developments in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

The French expert noted that the emerging force of the public opinion, motivated by the Arab satellite channels, is now seen by the west and the Americans as the official spokesman of the Arab world.

He excluded the possibility of other US pre-emptive strikes against other Islamic countries, especially Iran and Syria.

Boniface said Washington’s preventive doctrine proved to be a failure and is not likely to be repeated in other areas.

However, he said it remains possible hitting specific targets, such as Iranian nuclear reactors.