imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Reports of airport assault premature

by backside Saturday, Apr. 05, 2003 at 2:36 PM


Robert Fisk: Reports of airport assault premature



SADDAM HUSSEIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - So where are the Americans? I prowled the empty departure lounges, mooched through the abandoned customs department, chatted to the seven armed militia guards, met the airport director and stood beside the runways where two dust-covered Iraqi Airways passenger jets -- an old 727 and an even more elderly Antonov -- stood forlornly on the runway not far from an equally decrepit military helicopter.

And all I could hear was the distant whisper of high-flying jets and the chatter of the flocks of birds which have nested near the airport car park on this, the first day of real summer in Baghdad.

Only three hours earlier, the BBC had reported claims that forward units of an American mechanised infantry division were less than 16km west of Baghdad -- and that some US troops had taken up positions on the very edge of the international airport.

But I was 27km west of the city. And there were no Americans, no armour, not a soul around the runways of the airport whose namesake, in poster form, sat nonchalantly in the arrivals lounge in a business suit, cigar in hand. Even more astonishingly, there was no sign of the 12,000 Republican Guards whom the US division expected to fight.

Indeed, Saddam Hussein International Airport looked as if it was enduring an industrial strike (let us not conceive of such an event in Saddam's Iraq) rather than an imminent takeover by the world's only superpower.

Was it true, the Iraqi minister of information was asked at his daily 2pm press conference (11pm NZT) - a routine institution of usually deadly tedium - that the Americans were at the airport?

"Rubbish!" he shouted. "Lies! Go and look for yourself."

So we did.

And, alas for the Anglo-American spokesmen in Doha and the US officer quoted on the BBC, the Iraqi minister was right and the Americans were wrong. But it's a good idea to take these things, if not with a pinch of salt, then at least with the knowledge that there are always two reasons for every decision taken in this violent, ruthless land.

Sure, the Americans had been caught lying again - as they were about the "securing" of Nasiriyah more than a week ago - but was that the only reason journalists were permitted to visit Baghdad airport? We saw no Republican Guards - just as the Americans have themselves somehow failed to discover the 12,000 Republican Guards supposedly facing them.

Indeed, what I found most extraordinary was that there appeared to be absolutely no attempt to block the road into Baghdad from the airport.

Save for a few soldiers on the streets and a police squad car, you might have thought this a mildly warm holiday afternoon.

Was their some kind of trap about to be sprung? Were the Americans being lured into the gentle, palm-fringed highway into town because, unknown to all of us, there was in fact some real armour hidden away in the great fields on the western banks of the Tigris?

All day, I had asked myself about the supposed American assault-to-come on Baghdad.

Where were the panicking crowds? Where were the food queues? Where were the empty streets? True, the motorway to the airport was a spooky, lonely journey.

But the centre of Baghdad was livelier than for many days.

The city authorities have put more of their Chinese double-decker buses back on the streets - normal service, as they say, has been resumed - and the railway company claimed its trains were still leaving for northern Iraq.

At lunchtime, I dropped into the Furud Takeaway for my daily fix of chicken "shish-taouk", tomatoes and green beans.

It was packed with Shia families, the ladies in black chadors, the men largely bearded, chomping through giant "mezzes" of "hoummus" and "tabouleh" and lamb and rice.

The television was showing an Iranian channel, a musical in the Persian language. Iranian TV has two Arabic channels whose signal can be picked up without a satellite dish - and many Baghdadis trust their news service more than that of Kuwaiti or Saudi television.

Near the Rafidiyeh Bridge, in a canyon of traffic, I caught sight of a middle-aged man staring at the great monument to Saddam's "victory" in the 1980-88 war with Iran.

At the base of a column, iron, helmeted soldiers stood behind iron sandbags, firing an iron machine-gun at their Persian enemies, an iron soldier throwing an iron grenade in the same direction.

There is this monument to military victory in Baghdad, a monument to the "martyrs" of that victory - perhaps half a million of them - and a monument to the unknown soldier of that same war.

Ex-prisoners asked for a monument to their suffering - in eight years, there were 60,000 of them - but their request was officially turned down.

Was that to emphasise the humiliation of surrender? Is this a lesson for the young Iraqi soldiers of today whose combat troops I saw on the road south of Baghdad on Wednesday, jumping from their trucks in steel helmets and flak jackets? Each night, I can hear the drumbeat of explosions and cluster bombs west of the city.

Who is dying there? The Chief of Staff of the Republican Guards' Baghdad Division -- the same division whom the Americans are supposedly incinerating - announces that he has suffered only 17 dead and 35 wounded.

Every morning, the newspaper Qaddisiyeh carries a detailed battle report from the front lines - always supposing there is a front line - which includes unit numbers and brigades.

On Wednesday, for example, the newspaper informed its readers that the Americans failed to cut the Kut to Baghdad highway, that Iraqi forces destroyed 14 US tanks in the province of Diwaniyeh, that the 704th, 424th and 504th Brigades of the Iraqi army's 3rd Army Corps prevented a US thrust near Suq el-Shuqh.

And so on and so forth.

Whether this represents anything like the battles which the Iraqis believe they are fighting will await the inquiries of historians.

Certainly, no one here takes the total of tanks and planes destroyed too seriously, although the Iraqis inevitably popped up yesterday to "confirm" the American admission of an F-18 aircraft shot down over the country.

Thus another long day, peppered with the rumble of faraway detonations, closed at Baghdad airport last night, dusk falling over the grimy terminals with their painted exhortations of "Down, Down America" and the airport's director, Wafa Abdullah Jabbouri, announcing that "there is no-one at the airport, you can see it's completely safe, even the workers still turn up each day." No doubt they do.

And while there's a large complex of buildings blown to pieces by missiles a mile away and the airport radar system is out of action after an early raid by American or British jets, Mr. Jabbouri appeared to be correct.

Had the Americans found themselves miles away on the edge of the old RAF airbase at Habbaniyeh, one wondered, and confused it with the airport outside Baghdad? Had they sent a patrol up to the far side of the Saddam airport for a few minutes, just to say they'd been there? Back in 1941, a German patrol briefly captured the last tram-stop on the line west of Moscow, collecting the discarded passenger tickets as souvenirs - and then got no farther.

But few here believe the Americans cannot bash their way into Baghdad if they really want to. After all, Napoleon got to Moscow in the end.

I guess it's the same old question. The Russians could hold Stalingrad because they loved Russia as much as they feared Marshal Stalin.

Does that equation of patriotism and dictatorship apply to the Iraqis? Messers Bush and Blair must hope it does not.

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy