National Bloc leader Carlos Edde says the real drama of the Anglo-American war against Iraq will occur during the post-war phase, as the “coalition” seeks to translate military victory into the political realm.
Edde said he was not surprised by the course the war thus far, and indicated that Western complaints that Iraqis were not fighting fairly were out of place.
American politicians and military officials have, in recent days, accused Iraqi irregulars of “terrorist” tactics, which have included a suicide car-bombing carried out by an enlisted man, and hiding in cities to bait the coalition forces into attacking them street by street.
“I’m not surprised by the tactics being used, due to the terrain. You can’t have a Maginot Line in the desert,” Edde said, referring to the static French defense line built after World War I and easily avoided by the Nazis in World War II.
“I don’t see how anyone could expect the Iraqis to adopt 17th-century military tactics, like lining up in lines and waiting to get shot,” Edde quipped.
As for whether the Iraqis, by adopting suicide tactics or setting up in cities to lure the enemy into street battles, are showing signs of desperation, Edde said the tactics were natural.
“The battle is taking place according to the technological differences. In desperate battles, you see desperate measures,” he said. “I have no doubt that the war will end up in a military victory (for the United States and Britain). But I have grave doubts that they will be able to transform this into a political victory. Bush made a big mistake when he forced people to choose between an unpopular regime and an unpopular policy.”
It would be difficult to predict a hearty welcome by Iraqis for the Americans and British as liberators, Edde continued, detailing the Iraqi people’s resentment of the civilian casualties during the war and the last 12 years of UN sanctions. “The United States was either naive or over-optimistic to think that by defeating the regime of Saddam Hussein, it would somehow secure legitimacy,” Edde said.
Asked about recent accusations by senior US officials that Syrian is aiding the Iraqi war effort, Edde said: “I tend to believe that there is no substantial evidence” to support the claims.
“I doubt there’s a willful policy of Syria helping Iraq,” he said, posing instead the importance of the growing phenomenon of Arab volunteers heading off to Iraq. “The more the war drags on, the more important this will become,” he said.
The challenges of the post-Saddam Hussein era, he said, will likely prove highly problematic. “It’s one thing to win a conventional battle victory,” he said, “but it’s another thing to occupy a country.”