Friday, April 16, 2004

Iraq insurgency: US forces holding 200 members of Iraqi Civil Defence Corps 

Winning hearts and minds.... Honestly, what did we expect?

US forces have detained around 200 Iraqi paramilitary soldiers who refused to take part in a US offensive against the Sunni Muslim city of Fallujah, their former comrades said today.

The US military declined to confirm whether the men were being held.

Senior officers play down the significance of such incidents but, asked about reports of mutiny among Iraqi troops, have acknowledged a "command failure" took place during the Fallujah offensive.

Soldiers from the Baghdad-based 36th Security Brigade, part of the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC), said that last week US commanders took them at night to Fallujah, west of the capital, where US forces were massing to crush a growing insurgency.

"They told us to attack the city and we were astonished. How could an Iraqi fight an Iraqi like this? This meant that nothing had changed from the Saddam Hussein days. We refused en masse," said Ali al-Shamari.

Shamari said the brigade members did not know they were heading to Fallujah until they arrived there.

After the brigade refused to fight, he said, soldiers were stripped of their badges and confined to tents in a US base on the outskirts of Fallujah. Their rations were restricted to one meal per day.

"I escaped, but around 200 of our comrades remain there. We demand their release," Shamari said.

Ali Hussein, a Shi'ite private, said the brigade's mission since its formation had been security tasks such as conducting searches and guarding buildings.

"Suddenly, we were asked to take part in a huge offensive," Hussein said, adding that he felt sympathy for Fallujah residents although they were from the Sunni minority who had dominated the Shi'ites for decades.
(via Sidney Morning Herald)

Hey, I've got an idea! Let's ship 'em to Gitmo!

Seems like the situation in Fallujah must have been a lot worse than we were told, for us to throw these guys in there.

corrente SBL - New Location
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