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

The "El Salvador Option"

by Joachim Guilliard Friday, Jun. 03, 2005 at 10:36 AM

The US administration recognizes that its troops face a resistance firmly anchored in the population. As a result, it relies on a hidden dirty war..The model for contemporary Iraq is not Vietnam but El Salvador where 70,000 were killed in the 12-year war.


Elections, Military Offensives and Death Squads in Iraq – US Strategies of Control in the Occupied Country

By Joachim Guilliard

[This article published in: Junge Welt, 5/19/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

The image of the new Iraqi government has already been damaged through the month-long scramble for posts after the January 30 election up to May 4, 2005. Its only possibility for gaining credibility among Iraqis is to seriously support a binding immediate timetable for the American withdrawal. But this government will not do this out of self-interest and regard for the actual balance of power since it cannot hold onto power without US protection.

The rulers of the country are the US with its 140,000 soldiers and numerous civilian and military facilities in Baghdad’s “Green Zone.” Everyone who visits Iraq can see how the occupying power has become entrenched for the long run in the country. For example, in camp “Victory North” near the Baghdad airport, the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) over the course of a year has built a whole city consisting of air-conditioned bungalows, gyms, Burger-Kings, an enormous supermarket and everything that is usually part of the American way of life. The city already houses 14,000 soldiers. The camp is twice as large as camp “Bondsteel” in Kosovo, one of the largest US bases overseas.

Altogether fourteen bases are now being built in the region that will accommodate 100,000 soldiers. In the long-term, these permanent entities will be the military base of the “pan-Arabic reformation” mentioned by the prominent conservative US journalist Krauthammer, that “attempt to change the culture of the Middle East,” i.e. to change Arab and Islamic countries from North Africa to the Caspian Sea into pro-western, neoliberal capitalist states.

However all US forces are tied down in Iraq. US commanders report an average of more than 60 attacks daily. Parts of the country have been largely withdrawn from the control of the US army for a long time. The US army could not weaken the resistance either with great offensives or massive attacks on suspected strongholds of their adversaries. On the contrary, the resistance was constantly stronger and more effective militarily. Building a US-led Iraq army lags numerically far behind expectations. The readiness for action of the new police- and army units is weak and their actual loyalty uncertain. The first measure of the US troops during their military offensive “Operation River Blitz” against the resistance in the cities by the Euphrates, according to the Christian Science Monitor, was the arrest of the police of the city.


The occupiers are still in the dark about the strength and organization of their adversary. According to estimates of General Muhammed Schahwani, the head of the new Iraqi secret service appointed by Paul Bremer, 40,000 “hardcore fighters” are supported by 150,000 Iraqis who work as “part-time guerilla fighters,” spies and logistic personnel. These fighters can count on support or toleration by large parts of the population, Schahwani says. Schahwani was head of the secret service under Saddam Hussein before he left the country and joined Ijad Allawi’s National Accord.

The US administration recognized that its troops face a resistance firmly anchored in the population. As a result, it relies increasingly on a hidden “dirty” war. In December 2003 the US journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hirsch revealed programs of the US government that recall the secret service e3xperts in “Operation Phoenix” in Vietnam. According to an article in the US magazine Newsweek, the Pentagon likes to describe these plans as the “Salvador Option” – referring to the successful use of state terror, torture and death squads against oppositional forces in Central America. (1)

As Hirsch uncovered, special units for the targeted liquidation of occupation opponents were trained already in the fall of 2003 with the help of Israeli experts. They have been operating for a long time. (2) On top of this, there is massive use of private mercenaries subject to no control and including many former secret service officers and former members of special units of the army.

For Peter Maass of the New York Times, the model for contemporary Iraq is not Vietnam but El Salvador where from 1980 a rightwing dictatorship with US support fought a leftwing liberation movement. Over 70,000 were killed in the twelve-year war, most of them civilians. (3) However in Iraq a mixture of the two arose. Maass ignored that Iraq is still a militarily occupied country in which 140,000 US soldiers are in direct intervention against a resistance movement that turns first of all against this occupation.

The hidden war should be waged essentially by the allied Iraqis themselves. Ijad Allawi as head of the transitional government did the decisive preliminary work in his term in office with the right of war and building a new “security apparatus.” Much of that reveals the handwriting of US ambassador John Negroponte who pulled the strings in Central America as ambassador in Honduras and sent a series of “advisors” with concrete experiences from this time into the government departments.


Shortly after assuming office, Allawi began by building a secret police as the spearhead in combating the rebellion. As security advisor for the new “General Security Directorate” (GSD), he appointed general major Adnan Thavit al Samarra’I, a former high secret service officer of Saddam Hussein who was involved in Allawi’s failed putsch in 1996.

Seemingly overnight, new paramilitary units appeared that are also connected with the “Salvador option” and call to mind the rightwing paramilitary in Colombia. At least six of these militias called “pop-ups” by the US military are spread over all Iraq. The relatively well-paid fighters come mainly from the security services and special units of the army of the old regime and have the clannish spirit and discipline missed by the US in the regular Iraqi military and police forces.

The strongest of these heavily armed militias, the “special police commandos,” consists of 5000 to 10,000 fighters. They were involved in the attack on Samarra in October 2004 that was a test run for the storm on Falludscha. The “commandos” operate in Mosul, Ramad and other centers of resistance. Their commanded is the security advisor Adnan Thavit, one of Allawi’s closest allies and grandson of the former Interior minister Falah Al Naqib. Its fighters were police who earlier had “experiences in the struggle against terrorism” and received special training under the former regime.

At least two other militias, the Muthana brigade and the “Defenders of Khadamiya” have direct connections with Allawi. They receive massive support from the Pentagon. The total strength of these new irregular brigades seen by US commanders as the new avant-garde in the struggle against the rebellion is estimated at over 15,000 men. The Pentagon has bred new warlords since the loyalty of the militia-men is to their respective leaders and not to the occupying power.

The term “pop-ups” is misleading. The militias did not mushroom up overnight. The first plans for creating these units were forged at the end of 2003 in meetings between the CIA and Allawi as a private part of the “transition concept.” Allawi had announced the formation of these “special police units” even before assuming office.

Units of the US marines maintain their own militias, e.g. the “Iraqi Freedom Guard” and the “Freedom Fighters.” They are composed mainly of radical Shiites from the South and were used in operations of the Marines in the Al-Anbar province, one of the centers of resistance against Sunnite resistance fighters.


On the basis of statements of General Wayne Downing, the former head of all US special forces who is now retired, death squads are operating in these new commandos. In a television interview, Downing described the operation of these paramilitary units as reliable and useful and added that the US now had “special police commandos” in Iraq who “carry out these offensive operations.” A whole series of incidents corroborates this statement.

The brutality of these special brigades against suspects has been proven. Peter Maass was a repeated witness of grave abuses of suspects by Thavit’s “commandos” always accompanied by a smaller US unit. He heard reports from US soldiers about brutal torture in the prisons. (4)

The US army tries to stylize brutality as a result of Iraqi “tradition.” However leading “US advisors” of the militias had years of concrete experiences from Central America. For example, James Steele who “advised” the death squads of the government in El Salvador in the 1980s as head of a special unit of the US army was directly involved in building and deploying the new militias. Steve Casteel, “advisor” in the Iraqi “ministry of the interior” who was engaged in the dirty drugs- and anti-guerilla war in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia has a similar career.

“When the media described the elections as a triumph of the Bush administration, US economist and media critic Edward S. Herman said, “they give the government a free hand as in the earlier Vietnamese and Salvadorian elections, partly as justification for aggression and occupation.” The US will “intensify its program of liberation through force to marginalize the rebellion and prepare the ground for the rule of groups deeply committed to the invaders/occupiers,” Herman says. As Seymour Hirsch showed in “We’ve Been taken Over by a Cult” (5), “the government constantly escalated its bombing attacks month after month and thus turned all Iraq into a `free fire zone’ - `Strike everything, kill everyone’ is almost unreported in the media. We can expect more of this.” (6)

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
more good news Sheepdog Friday, Jun. 03, 2005 at 12:06 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Addendum: Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Tucker Did Not Advocate Voting in Businesses S25 11:45PM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

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