[Imc-beirut] Iraq Dispatches: Fallujah Under Threat Yet Again

iraq_dispatches at dahrjamailiraq.com iraq_dispatches at dahrjamailiraq.com
Mon Sep 11 09:25:22 PDT 2006


** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **


      Fallujah Under Threat Yet Again

*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

*FALLUJAH, Sep 11 (IPS) - After enduring two major assaults, Fallujah is
under threat from U.S. forces again, residents say.*

"They destroyed our city twice and they are threatening us a third
time," 52-year-old Ahmed Dhahy told IPS in Fallujah, the Sunni-dominated
city 50km west of Baghdad.

"They want us to do their job for them and turn in those who target
them," he said.

Dhahy, who lost 32 relatives when his father's house was bombed by a
U.S. aircraft during the April 2004 attack on the city, said the U.S.
military had threatened it would destroy the city if resistance fighters
were not handed over to them.

"Last week the Americans used loudspeakers on the backs of their tanks
and Humvees to threaten us," Dhahy said. Residents said the U.S. forces
warned of a "large military operation" if fighters were not handed over.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said he had no reports of such action.

Fallujah was heavily bombed in April 2004 and again in November that
year. The attacks destroyed 75 percent of city infrastructure and left
more than 5,000 dead, according to local non-governmental groups.

But following the heavy assaults, resistance fighters have continued to
launch attacks against U.S. and official Iraqi forces in the city.
Fallujah remains under tight security, with the U.S. military using
biometric identification, full body searches and bar-coded ID's for
residents to enter and leave their city.

"The Iraqi resistance has not stopped for a single day despite the huge
U.S. army activities," a city police captain speaking on condition of
anonymity told IPS.

"The wise men of the city explained to U.S. officials that it is
impossible to stop the resistance by military operations, but it seems
the Americans prefer to do it the hard way."

The police captain said anti-occupation fighters had increased their
activities in the face of sectarian violence in which Shia death squads
have killed thousands of Sunnis in Baghdad. Many residents of Fallujah
have relatives in the capital city.

Lack of reconstruction, and the U.S. military's failure to pay due
compensation to victims' families have added to the unrest, the captain
said.

"There used to be resistance attacks against the U.S. and Iraqi forces
in Fallujah daily," added the captain. "But now they have increased to
several per day. Many soldiers have been killed and their vehicles
destroyed. So it is clear that the security measures they have taken in
Fallujah have failed."

Several residents told IPS that all sorts of killings have been taking
place over the past eight months. Religious leaders have been targeted
regularly, with no group claiming responsibility.

On Sunday Sep. 10, former chief of traffic police Brigadier Ahmed Diraa
was shot dead in his car. Residents in Fallujah told IPS that Diraa had
quit his post a month earlier.

In the face of killings, and now threats of a new attack, residents
remain defiant of the occupation forces. The hardships that people have
endured seem to have strengthened rather than weakened them.

"There are so many arrests and killings, and collective punishments such
as random shootings, violent inspection raids, repeated curfews and
deliberate cutting of water and electricity," Mohammed al-Darraji, head
of an Iraqi human rights group in Fallujah called The Iraqi Centre for
Human Rights Observation told IPS.

"What is going on in this city requires international intervention to
protect civilians and to punish those who seriously damaged Fallujah
society and committed serious crimes against humanity," al-Darraji
added. His group has been monitoring breaches of the Geneva Conventions
in the city since the April 2004 siege.

"There is a long list of collective punishments that have turned the
city into a frightful detention camp," he said.

Another human rights campaigner in Fallujah who asked to be referred to
as Khalid said human rights activists in Iraq felt betrayed by the
United Nations.

The UN had played ignorant "by leaving U.S. troops to act alone in the
city," Khalid, who works with Raya Human Rights, a non-governmental
organisation in the city told IPS. "This was after the media exposed the
enormity of the violence and human rights violations during the last
three years."

_______________________________________________
(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
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