With Ali al-Fadhily
FALLUJAH - Increased violence is being countered by harsh new measures across
the Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province west of Baghdad, residents say.
"Thousands have been killed here by the Multinational Forces [MNF] and
Iraqi allies, and the situation is getting worse every day," a member of
the Fallujah city council speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "We
have no role to play because the Americans always prefer violent solutions that
have led from one disaster to another."
The violence appears to be affecting the civilian population far more than
it is stifling the resistance. The suffering of people in Fallujah increases
by the day, and the number of resistance snipers appears to be increasing in
response to the U.S. use of snipers against civilians.
"In fact it is many more snipers now, considering the number of incidents
that have taken place," Sebri Ahmed of the local police told IPS. "Our
men are terrified, and the majority of them have quit after serious threats
of getting killed, like our three main leaders."
Gen. Hudhairi Abbas, former deputy police chief of Fallujah, was killed two
months ago. Col. Ahmed Dirii was killed soon after, and last week the police
leader of al-Anbar, Gen. Shaaban al-Janabi, was assassinated in front of his
family's house in Fallujah.
There are now no police patrols on the streets of Fallujah, and the only policemen
around remain inside their main station.
"How come those three Fallujan-born officers were killed while the Fallujah
police leader Gen. Salah Aati was hiding behind concrete barriers?" a police
officer said. Aati lives in the green zone of Baghdad, a highly barricaded government
Meanwhile, attacks against occupation forces have increased in frequency and
severity. On Eid recently, four U.S. Humvees in a convoy were destroyed by roadside
The military responded by closing all the checkpoints in the city. Thousands
had to spend the night, the first of the holidays, outside of the city. The
main roads inside the city were also closed.
"Four firemen were killed by the U.S. Army because they were late to get
to the four burning Hummers," a young man who witnessed the attack told
IPS. "They were not killed by mistake, they were killed in front of many
The U.S. military has admitted that it killed three firemen by mistake because
they were suspected to be militants.
Hundreds of residents later attended the burial of the firemen together with
five other men killed by occupation forces the same day.
"The Americans brought five dead civilians whom they shot in the city
streets in revenge for their casualties," a man at the former football
field now called Martyrs Graveyard told IPS. "We are going to need another
graveyard, this one is going to be full soon." All semblance of normal
living in the province is disappearing. Saif al-Juboori, a student at the University
of al-Anbar in Ramadi, says this will be a wasted year for thousands of students.
"The whole university is now under siege, and there is a checkpoint at
the main gate," Juboori told IPS. "The students or teachers who approach
must lift their shirts from 50 meters away and listen to nasty comments of arrogant
soldiers who give body checks before admitting people in. Most will no longer
accept such humiliation, and so there will be no college this year."
Ramadi has been facing electricity and water cuts for about two weeks now.
Most residents believe this is punishment for the popular support for Iraqi
"We would rather starve to death than accept this occupation and its Iranian
allies," a 20-year-old student told IPS. "We will not let the blood
of our brother martyrs go unpunished."
Despite the punishing tactics of the occupation forces, people appear unwilling
to cooperate with local officials or the U.S. military against local fighters.
"Iraqis believe firmly that U.S. ambassador [Zalmay] Khalilzad is the
actual ruler of the occupied country despite the repeated comedy of transfers
of sovereignty to Iyad Allawi, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and now Nouri al-Maliki's
governments," a senior leader of the Arab National Movement in Iraq, speaking
on condition of anonymity, told IPS.
"Yet, that does not mean that the U.S. embassy has real control, as long
as there are resistance fighters who are firmly holding the Iraqi streets in
Sunni areas, and militias with their death squads controlling the rest of the
country as well as the huge oil market." Resistance fighters recently came
out to show their strength in Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar province.
Dozens of cars loaded with armed men went around the city.
Immediately after that, power and water supplies were cut, and raids carried
out in civilian areas. Several were killed by U.S. snipers, residents said.
The police did nothing. They have a hard time protecting themselves. Gunmen
have attacked Iraqi police stations in Samarra, Beji, and Mosul.
"We are back to point zero," a senior officer in the Ministry of
Interior told IPS. "Our forces are either loyal to militias and political
parties or too powerless to do their duties."
"Every one who fights the American occupation has our full support,"
Yassin Hussein, a 30-year-old teacher in Ramadi told IPS. "They lied to
us all the time, and it is time for them to admit their terrible failure and
leave. Let them go rebuild New Orleans."
Hussein said resistance fighters are the only force able to keep local peace
and keep criminal gangs in check. "The Americans are too busy trying to
take care of their own security to care about Iraqis."
(Inter Press Service)