Bombing the Red Crescent: To what gain?

I can’t go as far as to defend the actions of the jerks, but as far a a terrorist world view, I could almost understand the Iraqi police (Colaborators), the Oil Fields (hurt the infedels in the wallet), and even the UN (seen as an icon of Western power). What I don’t see any advantage in is bombing the Red Cross/Red Crescent. Isn’t it an organization that has pretty much proven it’s apolitical, and in the case of the Red Crescent, respectful of Middle Eastern sensibilities? Could this bombing erode support for the terrorists in the Middle East?

Terrorism operates through the imposition of terror. Yes, a tautology, but fear is the specific “gain” desired by these anthropoid creatures. They want to make everyone in Iraq fear any sort of cooperation with anyone who is not trying very hard to kill all Americans. Thus, kill UN, kill Red Crescent, kill police. Kill everybody who does not kill who the terrorists want to kill. Rule by fear. Impose total fear upon the population.

That is how these people think.

From my limited understanding of guerrilla/resistance warfare, I believe the major aims of these terrorists would probably include the denial of “normalizing” efforts by the occupying forces (along with the disruption of infrastructure reconstruction). By targeting NGO’s and international agencies along with ‘coalition’ forces, those groups who are organized against the US occupation are attempting to:[ul][li]foment and reinforce general dissatisfaction with the US among Iraqis,[]portray the US as incompetent to effect positive change, and[]set up a perception that effective resistance would translate to effective leadership of the country (were they to achieve a forced withdrawal of US control)[/ul][/li]**[sub]Again, this is based on a less-than-stringent analysis and a layman’s knowledge of terror tactics. IMHO IIRC and YMMV[/sub]

The ICRC in Iraq:

So by attacking the Red Cross, the opposition increases the chances that the rights of civilians and persons deprived of their freedom are not respected, and also makes it tougher for the occupying powers to ensure that they are fulfilling their humantitarian obligations. Eliminating the ‘apolitical’ humanitarian groups makes the coalition’s job just that much harder.

To me it seems like the statement the bombers wanted to make was, “We respect no boundaries, acknowledge no exceptions.” And by targeting the Red Crescent, they deny any neutrality. Come to think of it, maybe they’re trying to say something like, “If you’re not with us, you’re agin’ us.” Sound familiar?

From a slightly more practical point of view, the Red Cross/Red Crescent makes a point of not having armed guards. Terrorism relies heavily upon creating the most havoc with the least amount of effort. Therefore the Red Cross headquarters must have been attractive to the attackers.

The (apparently coordinated) attack had at least five targets: four police stations and the Red Cross. One of the police station attempts was apparently foiled, demonstrating that it’s not a guaranteed tactic.

The Red Cross may have been an attractive “safety” target, one attack nearly guaranteed to work even if the other four attempts failed.

To my mind, this is an example of something I suppose could be called “combined asymmetric warfare,” in which potentially difficult political and/or military targets are combined with easy-to-hit civilian targets in a coordinated strike. Recall that the attacks of 9/11 included a military target–the Pentagon, civilian targets–the World Trade Center, and a political target which appears to have been the U.S. Capitol. Although it turned out that the military target was just as vulnerable as the others, the planners of 9/11 probably didn’t count on that.

The Baghdad bombings appear to be similar in concept.

I don’t remember. Did somebody famous say those words, and do you have proof that they did?

The Red Crescent certainly was a bad choice of target… lets see how the Iraqis react to it. It frustrating for them anyway and the US gets to be blamed for the lack of security.

I doubt its Saddam's people either... too unpopular an attack.

From a pragmatic POV, if the Red Cross/Red Crescent is attacked and driven away, wouldn’t that require the United States’ forces to step in and fill the role? And wouldn’t that further stretch US forces to the point where they’d be easier targets?

You also have to bear in mind the timing of the attack. It was the first day of Ramadan, and also the first day when the American enforced curfew was lifted in Baghdad. If the Americans re-enforce the curfew during Ramadan, it will make them even less popular with the locals.

Yep gotta agree with that. The IRA have planted secondary devices to get the emergency personnel that came to deal with the carnage from the first bomb. Quite a sickening frame of mind but their not called terrorists for nothing :frowning:


Actually, I don’t think any of those qualify as terrorism (Though the Red Cross/Red Crescent attacks would). For the most part, the attacks in Iraq have been classic resistance-fighter stuff, much like the well-known french resistance of the early 40s.

Unfortunately, it tends to be a bit of a gray area as to what seperates resistance fighters from terrorists. Especially with the tendancy to define it mostly based off who’s side they’re on…

If we are going to excuse away terrorism, why stop with the Red Cross? Getting rid of the RC certainly plays into hands of terrorists; Doing so would increase the cost of occupation for America.

I suspect they are hoping to provoke a US military crackdown as they want the alienating effect on the population that such responses have. Call it the Tupamaro Syndrome.

If the same group attacked Red Crescent as attack US military forces, then ALL of their attacks qualify as terrorist activity. If it’s two different groups, then there is a distinction.

It seems to me that the message to the populace is, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” In other words, we are not going to respect our own Ramadan any more than we are going to respect the Red Crescent’s traditionally untouchable status. So to the question of whether or not they will gain anything by acts like these depends on how people in Iraq respond to this message. Will they be horrified by the brutality and disrespect shown by the acts, and turn against the bombers? Or will they say to themselves, we are in a fight for our lives, and we have to fight dirty to win. I think this is NurseCarmen’s question, and frankly it’s a great question. Who can say what the people of Iraq are really feeling? And is there a real unity in their beliefs? It’s hard to know what to believe, who to listen to, or where to look for answers to questions like these. Every news outlet has its own adgenda, Al-Jazeera or ABC.

Another question would be, even if the “people of Iraq” universally deplore attacks on traditionally apolitical aid groups, does that necessarily reduce the effectiveness of such attacks? In other words, do the terrorists necessarily need to win the hearts and minds of the people in order to achieve their goals?

Inspite of its international character, the red cross can also be perceived as a western symbol - a cross!!!

The islamic equivalent is the red halfmoon …

Perhaps that’s the way they think.