Friday, February 25, 2005

Ramadi - the next Falluja?

Actually, some people who fled Falluja went to Ramadi - they are in the same Anbar province.
Residents of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province some 100 km east of Baghdad, have started to flee the city following the latest offensive launched by US Marines and the Iraqi army.

The military have carried out raids in the province over the past few days in an attempt to crack down on insurgents, with the main focus of operations eing Ramadi, a rebel stronghold.


Government offices and shops have closed and people are having difficulties getting food supplies as the offensive came quickly and without warning, giving them no time to prepare.


Firdous al-Abadi, a spokeswoman for the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS), told IRIN that many people had been trapped in the university and inside mosques for over 48 hours as fighting raged outside.

"The government should take responsibility and provide those people with everything that is required for their survival," al-Abadi added. "People are tired of running from place to place."

Al-Abadi also said that the IRCS had sent a supply convoy last weekend to Fallujah, as nearly 100 families were still homeless inside the city after their homes were destroyed.
  Alternet article

And by the way, people are still dying (including soldiers) in action in Falluja.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Falluja massacre update

Dr Salam Ismael, now 28 years old, was head of junior doctors in Baghdad before the invasion of Iraq. He was in Fallujah in April 2004 where he treated casualties of the assault on the city.

At the end of 2004 he came to Britain to collect funds for an aid convoy to Fallujah. Now the British government does not want Dr Salam Ismael’s testimony to be heard.

He was due to come here last week to speak at trade union and anti-war meetings. But he was refused entry. The reason given was that he received expenses, covering the basic costs of his trip, when he came to Britain last year and this constitutes “illegal working”.

Dr Salam Ismael merely wishes to speak the truth. Yet it seems the freedom that Bush and Blair claim to champion in Iraq does not extend to allowing its citizens to travel freely.

Legal challenges, supported by the Stop the War Coalition, were launched this week in an effort to allow Dr Salam Ismael to come to Britain.

Excerpts from Dr. Ismael's account:
Nobody knows how many died. The occupation forces are now bulldozing the neighbourhoods to cover up their crime. What happened in Fallujah was an act of barbarity. The whole world must be told the truth.


I had come to Fallujah in January as part of a humanitarian aid convoy funded by donations from Britain.

Our small convoy of trucks and vans brought 15 tons of flour, eight tons of rice, medical aid and 900 pieces of clothing for the orphans. We knew that thousands of refugees were camped in terrible conditions in four camps on the outskirts of town.

There we heard the accounts of families killed in their houses, of wounded people dragged into the streets and run over by tanks, of a container with the bodies of 481 civilians inside, of premeditated murder, looting and acts of savagery and cruelty that beggar belief.
  Read the full account. (Warning: photos)

THE RESPECTED cameraman and producer Michael Burke co-operated with Dr Salam Ismael to produce powerful material that was due to be shown on Channel 4 News this week. It included film taken of mass burials near Saqlawiya, on the outskirts of Fallujah.

The bodies that were interred there were collected mainly from the Jolan district in the city. Socialist Worker’s Simon Assaf saw the unedited footage and describes its graphic content.


As the sun begins to set a small cluster of civilians laden with belongings emerge from Fallujah.

They have been told to leave their houses by the US troops and their Iraqi allies.

They claim that the US troops were clearing out the houses so they can demolish their neighbourhood. They join the thousands of others now living in tents around the shattered city.
  Read the full account.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Fallujan police purge

Three-quarters of police officers in the city of Falluja are to lose their jobs in a purge of resistance sympathisers, an Iraqi commander has said.

The commander of Iraqi security forces in the western city, General Madhi Hashim, said not all policemen would be reincorporated

"The force had some 2000 policemen but we will rehire only 500," he said.

"They will be picked for their integrity and on condition they never took part in terrorist operations."
  Aljazeera article
That could be hard to prove.

And get this:

Hashim said the city's old police force had been disbanded on 4 November, four days before a devastating US-led offensive on the city was launched.
That was handy either way, eh?
He said the new police chief would be General Shaaban al-Janabi. "The Interior Ministry has appointed General Shaaban, but he will not have full control over decision-making. If he proves able after a month, he will take full and official responsibility," Hashim said.

Al-Janabi, a former officer in Saddam Hussein's army, had been the first choice of Falluja's tribal leaders, Hashim said.
You just know these people are thinking things would have been so much better if Saddam had just been left in power.