blogenlust
8.15.2004

Iraqi's won't fight


Again, was this not predictable?
Sunday's showdown in Najaf was troubled even before the fighting resumed. Several officials from the Iraqi defense ministry told Knight Ridder that more than 100 Iraqi national guardsmen and a battalion of Iraqi soldiers chose to quit rather than attack fellow Iraqis in a city that includes some of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam. Neither U.S. military officials nor Iraqi government officials would confirm the resignations. "We received a report that a whole battalion (in Najaf) threw down their rifles," said one high-ranking defense ministry official, who didn't want his name published because he's not an official spokesman. "We expected this, and we expect it again and again." [...] The officers, most of them decorated veterans from the former regime, shook their heads at the thought of Iraqis battling Iraqis on sacred soil. Several said they would resign immediately if senior officers ordered them to serve in Najaf. They asked to withhold their names for fear of reprimand. "I'm ready to fight for my country's independence and for my country's stability," one lieutenant colonel said. "But I won't fight my own people." "No way," added another officer, who said his brother - a colonel - quit the same day he received orders to serve in the field. "These are my people. Why should I fight someone just because he has a difference in opinion about the future of the country?"
I think there is a reason why we haven't been hearing a lot of information about what is going on in Najaf this week and last. The Iraqi army refuses to fight the insurgency, and who can blame them for not wanting to attack their own countrymen? In addition, Cole says that many popular ayatollah's are distancing themselves and turning against the American occupation. Throw in the fact that Najaf is one of the holiest cities in all of Islam, and you have all the ingredients for a disaster in the making.