June 12, 2006

Ramadi: Fallujah Redux

by Dahr Jamail

Fearful residents are now pouring out of Ramadi after the US military has been assaulting the city for months with tactics like cutting water, electricity and medical aid, imposing curfews, and attacking by means of snipers and random air strikes. This time, Iraqis there are right to fear the worst - an all out attack on the city, similar to what was done to nearby Fallujah.

It has always been just a matter of time before the US military would finally get around to destroying Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar province. After all, Ramadi is not far from Fallujah, and so similar to Fallujah both tribally and in their disdain towards the idea of being occupied, that many people in Ramadi even refer to Fallujah as "Ramadi." I know many people from Ramadi who lost relatives and friends during both US assaults on Fallujah, and the level of anti-American sentiment has always been high there.

By now, we all know the scene when the US military in Iraq decides to attack an entire city . . . we've seen this standard operating procedure repeated, to one degree or another, in Haditha, Al-Qa'im, Samarra, parts of Baghdad, Balad, Najaf and Fallujah twice ... so far. The city is sealed for weeks if not months, water and electricity are cut, medical aid is cut, curfews imposed, mobility impaired, air strikes utilized, then the real attack begins. Now in Ramadi, the real attack has begun.

Warplanes are streaking the sky as bombings increase, loudspeakers aimed into the city warn civilians of a "fierce impending attack," (even though it has already begun), and thousands of families remain trapped in their homes, just like in Fallujah during both attacks on that city. . . .


Tony Kevin, "Fallujah: All the Makings of a War Crime," Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2004

"'Ramadi Madness': Scene by scene," Palm Beach Post, March 13, 2005

VIDEO: Sigfrido Ranucci, "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre," RAI (Italy), November 2005

[Correspondents with the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Baghdad recently reported on the use of snipers by the U.S. military in Ramadi: "People in Ramadi . . . estimate that about 70 percent of the city's population have fled in the last week, many of them holding white flags for fear of being shot at by Marine snipers."--Dahr Jamail and Ali Fadhil, "Ramadi Residents Struggle to Survive," Inter Press Service, June 20, 2006]

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