OPINION

The Iraqi minefield

The first signs of resistance to the US occupation of Iraq appeared before Washington’s euphoria over its victory had even abated. So naturally, the import of these signs was underestimated. Indeed, US officials seriously believed the Iraqi people had accepted the Americans as their liberators – and that the process of postwar adaptation would be smooth. As predicted by many political commentators, especially in Europe, events quickly belied these convictions. But even they were surprised by the extent, intensity and effectiveness of the resistance. As it transpires, the occupation of Iraq is much bloodier than the war ever was. US forces are in a minefield. Daily attacks are causing constant bloodshed which is feeding a climate of insecurity which is, in turn, destroying their morale. It is very likely that Saddam Hussein’s regime had prepared a devolved network of resistance shortly before the launch of the US-led attack. Evidently, it did not have any illusions about the outcome of the war and attempted to make life difficult for its «liberators.» The important thing is that the resistance enjoys significant popular support. This slide into the quagmire is affecting the political equilibrium in the USA too. Indeed, it is likely that it will influence the outcome of presidential elections next November. For reasons of political prestige, President Bush cannot disengage himself. But then continuing along the same route is no solution either…