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December 6, 2003

Also of import in this

Daniel Radosh

Also of import in this story, we learn that the Iraqi nickname for Tony Blair is "Monkey of the Desert. The lightbulb moment in Ian Fisher's interviews with Iraqi insurgents and their supporters comes halfway through:

His choice of the word 'mujahedeen' was perhaps one of the most telling details about what this insurgency would like to be.

The word means 'holy warrior,' and for many Muslims it connotes brave struggles against occupiers over centuries, against the crusaders a millennium ago or against the Russians in Afghanistan a mere two decades ago. These resisters would like that honorable title bestowed on them. The recruiting leaflets the American military says were found here called for Iraqis to join them on a 'jihad,' or holy war, against the Americans ? prompting a large United States military raid on the town this week.

But the Americans increasingly use a different word: 'fedayeen.'

In Iraq, the fedayeen were Saddam Hussein's dark-uniformed storm-troopers, who, unbroken after the American-led alliance invaded Iraq last spring, appear to be among the most potent force behind the attacks on Americans and their allies here, American officials say.

Many Iraqis also consider the resisters fedayeen, even those Iraqis who strongly oppose the American occupation here, and worry that Mr. Hussein would return if the resisters win.

'If it were not for Saddam, I think more people would have joined already,' said Kashid Ahmad Saleh, 48, a farmer here who is deeply angry at the American presence."

Uh oh. A ubiquitous assumption -- often, but not always unspoken -- about the war is that once Saddam is killed the resistance will finally fall apart because 1) he won't be around to direct and/or inspire his followers (remember how that already happened after we got Uday & Qusay?) and 2) the legions of Iraqis who hate him but fear him will no longer be afraid to join the Americans against the remaining Baathists. But this opens possibility 3) once Iraqis know for sure that driving out the Americans won't lead to the return of Saddam, the resistance will explode.

That would kinda suck, huh?

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