With almost a complete media blackout of the events unfolding in Fallujah, about the only information source has become bloggers in Iraq and Al-Jazeera’s camera crews. From Riverbend:

    Today, the day the Iraqi Puppets hail “National Day”, will mark the day of the “Falloojeh Massacre”… Bremer has called for a truce and ceasefire in Falloojeh very recently and claimed that the bombing will stop, but the bombing continues as I write this. Over 300 are dead in Falloojeh and they have taken to burying the dead in the town football field because they aren’t allowed near the cemetery. The bodies are decomposing in the heat and the people are struggling to bury them as quickly as they arrive. The football field that once supported running, youthful feet and cheering fans has turned into a mass grave holding men, women and children.

One Year Later

Fallujah (warning: graphic photos)

Blackwater “Set Up” by ICDC

At first, it seemed to be a random attack. But now the security firm — Blackwater USA — said the workers were lured into a planned ambush by men they thought were friendly members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.

A Blackwater official told The New York Times that the company doesn’t know if the men were active members of the corps or impostors wearing corps uniforms.

Another interesting detail to add to the growing collection of examples showing that the ICDC and Iraqi “Police” have turned on their “coalition” masters and are actively engaged in the insurgency.

You may have noticed that when the US marines first announced the siege of Fallujah, they claimed that there were Iraqi ICDC with them, some stories saying two battalions. All mention of Iraqis fighting for the coalition has disappeared.

Here is a story rather amusing in hindsight, of the last ICDC payday before the siege.

After walking out the gates of the Marines’ base on Saturday with wads of Iraqi dinars —- the local currency —- in their hands, many of the troops could be seen shedding their uniforms and donning civilian clothes for the ride back into town. They are not yet ready to come out as America’s allies, some of the Marines said.

From the NYTimes story, Security Firm Says Its Workers Were Lured Into Iraqi Ambush

Imposters or not, he said, the incident underscored deepening concern about the reliability of the Iraqi civil defense forces at a time when allied troops are fighting in many parts of Iraq to suppress militant Sunni and Shiite groups.

Mr. Toohey’s account, if confirmed, could deflect blame for the incident from Blackwater, which is based in Moyock, N.C. And the company’s initial findings are in line with recent complaints from senior American officials about Iraqi forces.

In testimony last month to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American commander in the Middle East, spoke openly of his worries about the Iraqi security and police forces, now numbering more than 200,000.

“There’s no doubt that terrorists and insurgents will attempt to infiltrate the security forces,” he said. “We know it’s happening, and we know it has happened. We attempt to do our best with regard to vetting people.”

Also, the Pentagon has received new intelligence reports warning that Sunni and Shiite militia groups have been ransacking Iraqi police stations in some cities, and then handing out both weapons and police uniforms to angry mobs, government officials said.

Yesterday, the interim interior minister of Iraq, the official responsible for the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, resigned, citing criticism from L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator. Although Blackwater provides for Mr. Bremer’s personal security detail, it is not clear whether Mr. Bremer’s criticism specifically related to the Falluja attack on the Blackwater team.

“There’s a question about whether they were set up and whether it was an inside job by Iraqi civil defense people,” one American intelligence official said. “That’s a problem across Iraq, knowing which of the so-called Iraqi police forces are on our side and on their side. There’s no question there is information flowing out to the bad guys.”

UPDATE – On the NYTimes article linked above, Jim Henley directs us to this post by flit, who makes a devastating observation.

The drivers and other witnesses, he said, described “a classic, well-planned vehicle ambush” in which the five-vehicle convoy was suddenly blocked from the front and the rear by vehicles.

“The ICDC blocked the road, and the ambush happened,” he said, referring to the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, a force trained by the United States to guard roads and utilities and to fight insurgents. The assailants first “opened up at point-blank range” on the rear car in the convoy, he said, then fired on the lead vehicle.

* The Times doesn’t explicitly say it, but the implication is clear: they trapped them all, and then let the Iraqis go. (Remember, this is allegedly the same Fallujah ICDC who Reynolds and Sullivan and many others praised last month as the new minutemen, too.)

A couple other things are clarified now:

  • The three flatbed trucks being guarded were for moving kitchen equipment, presumably for Regency Hoteliers. No food involved.
  • The convoy met their “escorts” at the intersection of Highways 10 and 1, but the ambush itself occurred deeper inside the city proper.

Sharon’s Iraqi Intifada

In the spirit of credit where credit is due, I think laying a large chunk of the blame for the violence in Iraq on The Man Of Peacetm, Ariel Sharon, for his assassination of Sheik Yassin in Gaza is perfectly justified.

My case:

Faiza, writing in A Family in Baghdad, April 6:

When did all of this tension start?
Maybe two week ago…
After the assassination of Sheikh Yassin of Hamas.
I think that was the spark that started everything…
People went out in the streets protesting and demonstrating againd Israel and The United States.
Some days after that, Muqtada AsSadr declared that he is the attacking arm of Hamas and Hizb Allah, and that he can take this responsibility.
And people applauded and clapped!
Then the American forces closed his journal, and surrounded his office.
There I think the crisis started.
The Iraqi street was boiling like a volcano, feeling sad and angry of what is happening in Palestine, and it just needed a small spark, to turn the fire of hell…
Before that, the Falluja events happened, that I didn’t met a single Iraqi that felt comfortable with it to happen.
People here were against what happened in Falluja, but the American Administration considered what happened as an excuse to start punishing people there…
Yesterday’s night witnessed the fighting of Falluja, and the fighting with Sadr Army.
Our neighbour rang us in the late night, be careful and don’t go out, he said.
“They are holding RPGs in the nearby Husainyya (Shia mosque) and waiting for Americans to come, they want to burn them”
I couldn’t sleep yesterday’s night… feeling nervous and waiting for explosions…
At the morning we went to ask the neighbour what happened, he said that other neighbours went and convinced the soldiers to calm down.
It is really a mess… chaos is the master…



Continue reading “Sharon’s Iraqi Intifada”

Iraqis March to Fallujah

UPDATE:Marchers break through US roadblocks
April 9, 2004

THOUSANDS of Sunni and Shiite Muslims forced their way through US military checkpoints Thursday to ferry food and medical supplies to the besieged Sunni bastion of Fallujah where US marines are trying to crush insurgents.

Troops in armoured vehicles tried to stop the convoy of cars and pedestrians from reaching the town located 50 kilometers west of Baghdad.fallujahconvoy

But US forces were overwhelmed as residents of villages west of the capital came to the convoy’s assistance, hurling insults and stones at the beleaguered troops.

Some 20 kilometers west of Baghdad, a US patrol was attacked just moments before the Iraqi marchers arrived. Armed insurgents could be seen dancing around two blazing military vehicles.

Two US Humvees tried to stop the marchers but were forced to drive off as residents joined the marchers, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater).

US troops again blocked the highway further west, but were forced to let the Iraqis past as they came under a hail of stones.

Sitting on top of supply trucks, young men also hurled empty bottles of water and waved their shoes in sign of disdain at the US troops.

The cross-community demonstration of support for Fallujah had been organized by Baghdad clerics both Sunni and Shiite amid reports that the death toll in the town had reached 105 since late Tuesday.


Thousands of Iraqis are at the gates of Fallujah, many arriving in a convoy from Baghdad carrying food, water, and blood for the city’s residents.


Thousands of Iraqis meanwhile forced their way through a checkpoint on the Fallujah road, most on foot followed by cars full of food and medical supplies for residents of the besieged city.


“Our families in Fallujah
, remember that our dead go to heaven and theirs to hell,” read a banner held by the marchers who had gathered early Thursday at the Um al-Qora mosque in west Baghdad where people donated food, drinks and medicine.

“No Sunnis, no Shiites, yes for Islamic unity. We are Sunni and Shiite brothers and will never sell our country,” they chanted.

The marchers carried Iraqi flags as well as portraits of Sunni Palestinian Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the head of the Hamas movement killed last month by Israel, and Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose forces were fighting the US-led coalition.

“Allahu Akbar,” or “God is greatest” sounded from the Um al-Qora mosque as people made the donations._9561_fallujah-supplies-8-4-2004

Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Ghafur al-Samarai, the mosque imam and a member of the Committee of Religious Clerics, said that “Baghdad residents decided to send initially 90 cars with food and medicines to Fallujah families.”

“The Iraqi Red Crescent got a permission from the coalition, following negotiations over one day and one night to bring these supplies into the city,” he said.

“We want to express solidarity with our brothers who are being bombed by warplanes and tanks. People donated these things, and women even sold their jewelry,” he said.

“It is a form of jihad (religious war) which can also come in the form of demonstrations, donations and fighting. The people who are occupied have the right to fight occupation, whatever the means they use,” he said.

He called on the US army to stop the operation in the city.

Iraqis Invading US Next

Rumsfeld on Wednesday sought to downplay the Iraqi resistance.

“The vast majority of the 25 million Iraqi people want freedom for their country,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of Iraqis are against those who are looting, intimidating and stopping children from going to school at the point of a gun.”

Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi writing from Baghdad:

I really want to understand from Rumsfeld where are his “majority”?? the “majority” of Iraqis that are against the current uprising, the majority that he wants to help them in reaching to their freedom… where are they?

If the millions in the “Sunni Triangle” are the minority, and the other millions of AsSadr are the minority… where are the majority? In Washington?

And if the minority can do all of this! And kick the coalition forces from cities like Kut… what can the majority do? Occupy the United States?

Raed, when I read what Rumsfeld said, I thought maybe he was practicing for a new career writing for the Onion.