FALLUJAH - US and Iraqi officials claim that security is improving across
al-Anbar province and much of Iraq. Security during the last half of 2007 was
indeed better than in the period between February 2006 and mid-2007. But this
has brought little solace to many Iraqis, because violence is still worse than
in 2005 and early 2006.
Top Iraqi and US officials and politicians have been saying that Iraq is
back on its feet and that security has been established in the most volatile
provinces like al-Anbar, to the west of Baghdad. Security responsibilities here
will be handed over to Iraqis in March, the US military says.
Violence levels are down, but attacks have not ceased. "Nine US soldiers
were killed in 24 hours, US B-1 and F-16 bombers dropped over 40,000 pounds
of special munitions on the Arab Juboor villages just south of Baghdad, and
Awakening (militia paid for by the US) leaders and senior police officers
are being assassinated all over Iraq, yet US army leaders and top officials
say Iraq is safe and sound," lawyer and human rights activist Mahmood al-Dulaimy
Dulaimy said US President George W. Bush has succeeded in convincing many
people in the United States that everything in Iraq is all right. "It is
you media people who fool the world by transmitting false news about the situation
in Iraq," Dulaimy said. "Look around you and tell me what is good
Looking around, one finds a ruined country. And neither occupation forces nor
Iraqi government personnel seem to care about saving the little normal life
The independent US-based group Just Foreign Policy says more than 1.1 million
Iraqis have been killed through the occupation. According to an Oxfam International
report, four million Iraqis are in need of emergency aid. The United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are more than 4.5 million
Iraqis displaced from their homes.
"Is it good that we still cannot go to Baghdad to sell our crops and buy
seeds and other necessary things for our farms?" asked young Jassim from
Fallujah. "Is it good that we only plant ten percent of our land because
there is not enough electricity and fuel to run our pumps?"
Many people in Fallujah say they simply want the US forces to leave. "If
the US generals mean they will hand over security to Iraqis and leave the
province, then I will salute them all," retired Iraqi army colonel Salman
Ahmed told IPS in Fallujah. "But I know it is just another comedy like
that played elsewhere in Iraq, where Iraqis (officials) are just ropes for American
dirty laundry. We want our country back for real, not just on paper."
People in Fallujah, the second biggest city of al-Anbar province after capital
Ramadi, say they are still in the grip of draconian security measures implemented
and backed by the US military.
"If security is so good then let them end the tragedy of our city,"
a member of the Fallujah City Council, speaking on condition of anonymity told
IPS. "We want our freedom back and we want to leave and enter our city
without this humiliation by soldiers and policemen. Fallujah is dying, and our
masters (Americans) are bragging about security and prosperity."
Fifty-five-year-old mother Um Bashar came to the house where IPS was meeting
"Let them (Americans) take everything and bring me my son back,"
she said. "He stayed to guard the house in the November 2004 siege and
the Americans captured him. Now he is missing. Some people who were released
told us he was with them in the airport prison."
Iraqi people do not speak of improvement. They do not see it; they see only
that these claims have become important for the US elections.
(Inter Press Service)