Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Fallujah - the Third Time Round

The third Battle of Falljuah (Iraq) seems to be coming to a close as forces of the Iraqi government close in on whatever ISIS forces are holding on to the city. Concerns are being expressed for civilians trapped in the city and yesterday morning it was reported that ISIS was killing those who were trying to leave. That seems to be a fairly standard report coming out of these things.

Yesterday i happened to find a report on YouTube from a Vice News reporter traveling with an  Iraqi Army special forces unit, 'the Golden Division',  as they moved in on Fallujah.  The parts of the operation depicted involved the 'liberation of two outlying towns just north of Fallujah.



Fallujah is no stranger to danger in the mess that is modern Iraq.  It first became a news item, for civilized people, when the denizens of the place killed three American 'contractors' back in the days when Bushco's 'mission accomplished' was starting to derail itself. They killed, burned and strung-up the corpses and, for their pains, received the gentle ministrations of a US Marine regiment. The first assault just seemed to annoy the locals - at least those who weren't killed - and they 'forced' the Marines to do it all over again,  bigger and better, a few months later.  Fallujah was pacified, and largely flattened.

When the town was rebuilt,  it was as some kind of 'model' for what civilization was going to look like in Iraq. The centre of the city was a fortified FOB to protect government and police buildings. It was hoped that the surviving Sunnis would 'see sense' and, like many other Sunnis,  accept Uncle Sammy's gratitude. They did and they and started hunting down "AQ terrorists" for him.

Things were looking good until the Americans decamped,  leaving a lightly-armed Sunni Anbar facing the Shia-dominated, and American-armed  Iraqi government.  It didn't take long for an 'insurrection' to occur.  The Sunnis re-staked their  claim on Anbar and fought the Shia forces to a stand-still.  The Sunni revolt was still underway when ISIS came driving down from the north and captured the place,  two years ago in November.

After the Iraqi Army was  routed so badly the US had to form a new coalition to help and returned to Iraq.  Now the US-backed Iraqi government, after training and re-equipping,  is poised to hit back.  What seems apparent is that the Sunnis of Anbar are about to get the 'comeuppance' they were 'due' five years ago. And because they've been lying-down with the devil, they're going to  get the Shia version of Islamic, and Iraqi,  justice - in spades.

One of the things that is most noticeable about the clip attached, is the eminent humanity displayed by the unit commander,   who,  although he's pretty convinced he's dealing with some bad dudes, shooting at him, he's also pretty sure some are hiding among the civilians he takes.  But he, repeatedly hectors his men,  'Don't hit them!'.  At least on camera and, incidentally, after they do.

 Given the 'injustice' we are told America rescued Iraqis from, most of the men we see sitting captive will be lucky if all they get is a good hiding.  In one scene the commander's mask slips as he goes, in person, to arrest a family who, he was told denounced a woman's son to ISIS.  "I'll break your teeth."  seemed a mild promise of worse to come as a man and his three sons were frog-marched off for 'investigation'  in Baghdad.

But if the commander is not as good as the good guys might hope, he closes the report by warning that the forces following behind him are real villains.

 Yesterday a news story reported that the assault on Fallujah was being 'delayed'  because of 'communications problems' in the attacking units.  I would bet that that problem is the one the fighting commanders have to deal with when the rievers, rapists and real killers show up. I'm pretty sure everybody knows this operation will either make peace, or set Iraq up for another decade of  sectarian violence.   Or the drift into sectarian statelets with continued strife.

Just like the neocons' plan for that  'New American Century' in west Asia foretold.

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