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Last week out side Ramadi, another insurgent city west of Fallujah, US troops issued two-way radios to the Iraqi forces supposedly supporting them. But the communications rich Americans were not concerned with coordinating movements with their Iraqi allies, they were listening in to know when these so-called Iraqis comrades were tipping off the bad guys inside Ramadi as to the Americans positions. Some Iraqis did more then just tip off insurgents. A Knight-Ridder photographer saw Iraqi ICDC soldiers and Iraqi police mixed in with insurgents who ambushed Marines on two separate occasions. On a grimmer note, some of the renegade Iraqis were wearing US Marine uniforms and body armor.

One senior Iraqi political officer, who refused to be identified, put it bluntly: “It’s a disaster, the entire security situation that the coalition has constructed. The Intelligence service is a joke. The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) are implicated in the mutilations of the Americans (in Fallujah). Fifty percent of the ICDC mutinied. Some did their jobs. Some ran away. Some joined Muqtada.”

In the infamous city of Fallujah, some of the insurgents killed by Marines were wearing police equipment. The commander of the 1st Armored Division complained that about 40% of the Iraqi security forces deserted and that about one in ten “actually worked against” US troops.

Any army in the field will tend to leak soldiers during combat operations. But in Fallujah the entire 36th Security Brigade of the Iraqi Defense Corps refused to fight. Based in Baghdad, the 36th was ordered into trucks and moved to Fallujah where they would be used to support the US forces assembling there to attack the city. Ali al-Shamari explained the following mutiny: “They told us to attack the city and we were astonished. How could an Iraqi fight an Iraqi like that? This meant that nothing had changed from the Saddam Hussein days. We refused en masse.” Shamari further complained that the brigade did not know where it was headed until it arrived outside the city.

After the Brigade refused, the mutineers were stripped of their unit patches, and confined to an American base outside the city. Rations were reduced to one meal a day. “ I escaped, but around 200 of our comrades remain there. We demand their release,” Shamari stated.

Prior to its deployment to Fallujah, the brigade had been used to guard facilities and conduct searches. “Suddenly, we were asked to take part in a huge offensive.” Said one unhappy private. The 36th brigade was composed of former Iraqi army soldiers and the Peshmerga, part of the Kurdish militia. The executive director of the Iraq Center for research and Strategic studies observed that putting Sunnis and Kurds together in the same unit is as mistake. They hate each other.

One Kurdish soldier explained,” They were bombing the city with warplanes and cluster bombs. I could not be a part of this.”

The 36th Brigade was not the only Iraqi unit to refuse to fight. Previously, the 2nd battalion of the ICDC was loaded into a convoy, also headed to Fallujah. As it drove through Sadr City, it was attacked by insurgents. The battalion then turned around and head back to their camp northeast of Baghdad. What, if any, punishment they received is not known.

With the handover of power back to the Iraqis looming, it is hard to imagine how the security issue can be resolved. Major General Martin tried to sum up the situation: “It’s very difficult at times to convince them that Iraqis are killing fellow Iraqis and fellow Muslims, because it’s something they shouldn’t have to accept. Over time I think they will have to accept it.”

Dempsey added,” We have to get this latest increase in violence under control. We have to take a look at the Iraqi security forces and learn why they walked.” By Grady Hawkins

In US military circles, the First Marine Division is one of the most famous outfits ever put together. It has served with distinction, valor, and honor through some of the bloodiest campaigns in Marine Corps history. It is dug in right now outside Fallujah, Iraq, waiting for the orders to take the city. The Marine Corps motto, “First to Fight” has been part of their history as well. Unfortunately for the 1st Marines, their allies dug in beside them may prove to be less than willing. Some of them may prove to be downright treacherous. And as usual, when you find a treacherous ally, it has more often than not been trained, equipped, armed and paid for with US dollars from US taxpayers. As you recall, Saddam Hussein did indeed have weapons of mass destructions in the 1980’s and early nineties, just check the closest US Corporation and you’ll find the receipts.