It is time to revisit the Guardian’s claim that Haditha is a jihadi “citadel” along the lines of Fallujah of old. Soldier’s Dad points us the recent issue of This Week in Iraq, a newsletter published by Multinational Forces Iraq, which helps refute two of the claims in the article: Haditha is not being patrolled, and the insurgents control the output from the Haditha Dam
The Guardian’s Claim #1, Haditha is not being patrolled:
There is no fighting here because there is no one to challenge the Islamists. The police station and municipal offices were destroyed last year and US marines make only fleeting visits every few months.
There are two articles on page 16 of This Week in Iraq which show Haditha is being patrolled regularly. “Corpsman pounds village streets providing care” discusses how a Navy corpsman accompanies patrols in Haditha and gives medical care to the children and adults of the town. “US Marines, Iraqi Army making a difference” discusses patrols in Haditha. The joint Iraqi and American patrols visited local businesses, the local market and a medical clinic, where it offered to provide needed medical supplies.
The Guardian’s Claim #2:
Last year the US trumpeted its rehabilitation of a nearby power plant: “The incredible progress at Haditha is just one example of the huge strides made by the US army corps of engineers.” Now insurgents earn praise from residents for allegedly pressuring managers to supply electricity almost 24 hours a day, a luxury denied the rest of Iraq.
On page 1 of This Week in Iraq, there is an article titled “A look to the future: Iraqi Security Forces arrives dam” , which discusses the marriage of US and Iraqi patrols around the Haditha Dam area. US forces have been present at Haditha Dam since April of 2003, and have maintained a garrison since October of that year. While it is entirely possible the operators of the Haditha Dam are diverting energy to Haditha via intimidation, the author offers no evidence other than innuendo. Iraqi officials are no doubt monitoring the output of the dam, as energy supplies in Iraq are tight, and Coalition forces are in place to correct any problems if detected.
As stated in The Islamic Republic of Haditha?, there is much room for skepticism of the claims made by the Guardian. The Guardian‘s portrayal of Haditha as the next Fallujah certainly fits the meme of quagmire, but the facts show this is less than accurate.