Hit and run tactics continue throughout the Sunni Triangle. Baghdad, Mosul, Ramadi and other cities and towns continue to encounter attacks on police stations, coalition forces, and civilians in the form of ambushes and suicide bombings. The removal of Fallujah as a base of operations to the insurgents and terrorists is a blow to the command and control of these organizations, but the violence is by no means over, nor is it likely to end anytime soon. The International Committee of the Red Cross claims all sides are committing egregious violations of humanitarian laws, but does not name specifics. No doubt if American violations could be identified they would be. In brighter news, an agreement to relieve almost 80% of Iraq’s debt appears to be very close to being realized.
Attacks on Kurdish soldiers and politicians increase as attempts to fan the flames of ethic violence between Kurds and Sunni Arabs are escalated. Kurdish leaders are aware of the plans and are not biting. In Mosul, Iraqi forces detain suspected terrorists. Like many areas of the Sunni Triangle, the local police appear to be the major obstacle in maintaining order. The local police are susceptible to corruption and intimidation, and the importing of police from other regions causes its own set of unique problems.
While violence persists in Fallujah, the reconstruction of Fallujah has begun. This is crucial to restoring order in the city that has served as the hub of terror since the fall of Saddam’s regime.
The initial cost estimate is at least $100 million, which will come from U.S. and Iraqi coffers. Officials emphasize that Iraqis will be hired for the hands-on construction, a public works mega-project that is certain to help spur the economy. The estimate includes compensation to the many residents whose homes and businesses were damaged in the fighting. “Falloujans will do the work,” pledged Taylor, whose office is charged with dispensing billions of dollars for rebuilding efforts nationwide.
One huge obstacle: winning the Falloujans over. They have been persistently hostile to the U.S. presence in Iraq, even though U.S. commanders say the offensive to expel insurgents was undertaken in their name. Many residents may have resented the rebels, but it is unclear that they welcome U.S. troops or Iraq’s central government. “How can we know if life will be better now?” asked Riad Jassim, 29, who came to one of the humanitarian assistance sites set up by U.S. troops. “We really don’t know what will happen next.”
If handled properly, the reconstruction efforts can go a long way to keep Fallujah out of the hands of the insurgents. Planning for the operation, from the assault to reconstruction, has been in the works for seven months, and Civil Affairs units, SeaBees and other units are following the assault teams to restore basic services. As with Mosul, a main challenge is building the local police force.
The Islamofascists have nothing to offer but terrorism and Taliban-like rule. The insurgents will continue to attack Iraqi government functionaries (police, soldiers, polititians, government workers), up to and even past the elections to attempt to destroy the legitimacy of the Iraqi governments. With aggressive Coalition operations in the Sunni Triangle, insurgents will be unable to take and hold territory. Their tactics will consist of lashing out against the government and terrorizing the local populations. A strong will, a strong hand and a commitment to offering an alternative to the Islamofascists is key to restoring stability in the Sunni Triangle.
News from the Embeds
There was a reason I intuitively trusted embedded reporter Tony Harnden’s reports from Fallujah. He understand the nature of the conflict as he is a former soldier, and viewed the soldiers of Army Task Force 2-2 as his protectors, not as his enemy. He even went to so far as to attend National Rifle Assoication courses to learn to fire an M-16 in case the need arose. There was some friction with the Army unit due to the reality that he is a reporter, but he was willing to help the soldiers in any way possible. Contrast this with Kevin Sites, who submitted the video of the Marine in the shooting of the terrorist in the Mosque. Dexter Filkins reports on his experiences as an embed with Bravo Company of the First Battalion, Eighth Marines. This is a moving and powerful piece that explains the complexities and horrors of modern war and urban combat. The valor of our fighting men and women, something that is rarely reported by our media, is outlined, as well as the difficult conditions and situations faced daily while under fire.
If you want to help
I have created a link to the Spirit of America’s Friends of Iraq Challenge. One of the things I am very disappointed with our government about is that there has been very little effort to get American citizens involved in efforts to help in Iraq and elsewhere. The Friends of Iraq Challenge gives you an opportunity to help with the efforts to rebuild Iraq. The main page of the Friends of Iraq Challenge explains this in detail. I have set this up to direct the funds to wherever it is deemed important.
Support freedom, democracy and peace in Iraq
Leading bloggers are competing to raise funds to benefit the people of Iraq. 100% of all donations go to needs selected by these bloggers. Many of our projects support requests made by Americans serving in Iraq (Marines, Army, SeaBees) for goods that help the Iraqi people. Other projects directly support Iraqis who are on the front lines of building a better future for Iraq.
Thanks to Chester for the heads up.
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