Dahr Jamail: Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics


Richard Moore

Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2006 09:45:20 -0800
From: •••@••.•••

Subject: MidEast Dispatches: Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics

** Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **

      Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics

*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

*FALLUJAH, Dec 9 (IPS) - People living in areas where resistance to U.S.-led 
occupation is mounting are facing increased levels of collective punishment from
the occupation forces, residents say.*

Siniyah town 200 km north of Baghdad with a population of 25,000 has been under 
siege by the U.S. military for two weeks.

IPS had earlier reported unrest in Siniyah Jan. 20 when the U.S. military 
constructed a six-mile sand wall in a failed attempt to check resistance 

Located near Beji in the volatile but oil-rich Salahedin province, Siniyah has 
become a vivid example of harsh tactics used by occupation forces, who have lost
control over most of the country.

"Thirteen children died during the two-week siege due to U.S. troops' 
disallowance for doctors to open their private clinics as well as closure of the
general medical centre there," a doctor from the city reported to IPS via 
satellite phone.

The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from the U.S. 
military. IPS had to reach him by phone since the military blockade has cut the 
city off from the outside world.

"This is not the first time U.S. troops have conducted such a siege here, but 
this time it represents murder," the doctor said.

A U.S. military public relations officer in Baghdad told IPS on phone that the 
military was doing "what it had to do to fight the terrorists in and around 
Siniyah" and that "no medical aid is being interfered with."

When IPS told him it had received contradictory information from a doctor in 
that city, he replied, "that is just not true."

The siege has generated resentment against the Shia-dominated Iraqi government 
led by Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki, who has failed to comment on the deaths. 
Sunnis have not missed the sharp contrast to his order to U.S. troops to lift 
their checkpoints around the Shia area of Sadr City in Baghdad.

Sectarian conflict has been rising between Shias and Sunnis, two differing 
followings within Islam. Sunnis are the majority worldwide, but Shias are said 
to be the majority within Iraq.

Abdul Kareem al-Samarrai'i, a leading member of the Islamic Party that 
participates in the Maliki government, stated on Baghdad Space Channel that the 
13 children died in Siniyah "because of the siege and the U.S. army orders to 
deprive the town of any medical care."

Duluiyah, another small town roughly 60 km north of Baghdad has been under siege
by the U.S. military for the last three weeks.

"They (U.S. military) applied the siege upon Duluiyah (close to Samarra) many 
times, the last of which partially ended last week," Samir Muhammad of the 
Samarra municipality council told IPS.

The Geneva Conventions forbid use of collective punishment. International law 
says the occupying power in a country is responsible for safeguarding the 
civilian population.

Fallujah in al-Anbar province to the west of Baghdad continues to face attacks 
and harassment by the U.S. military, according to local residents.

"Why don't those people admit their failure and leave," 55-year-old Khalaf 
Dawood from Fallujah told IPS. "They are being hit and their soldiers are 
getting killed all over the city. All they are doing is killing civilians and 
suffocating the city economically as revenge."

Electricity supply in Fallujah was recently cut off for three days after 
resistance snipers launched attacks on U.S. soldiers. U.S. military vehicles are
attacked regularly around the city.

Several local people told IPS that on average one civilian a day is killed by 
U.S. gunfire in Fallujah, while raids on houses have been stepped up heavily.

The U.S. military commander in Fallujah admitted to local media last month that 
at least five attacks on average were being conducted everyday against his 
troops and Iraqi army units. The vast majority of the population of Fallujah 
continues to demand unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from their city.

Meanwhile, the situation in Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar province where 
Fallujah is also located, has deteriorated further. Residents told IPS that 
bombardment from U.S. warplanes and helicopters has killed many civilians.

IPS reported Nov. 17 that U.S. military had shelled several houses in Ramadi, 
killing 35 civilians.

A partial siege of the city continues, and residents are complaining that a new 
militia formed by Maliki's government in the name of "fighting terror" has been 
rounding up young men from the city.

The militia recently took control of the University of Anbar in Ramadi and 
started harassing students. U.S. soldiers blocked the main road to the 
university before the militia entered the campus.

"They even harassed the president (principal) of the university and accused him 
of being an al-Qaeda leader," a university professor speaking on condition of 
anonymity told IPS. "The principal is a professor in chemistry and a very 
peaceful man who has dedicated his life to science and supervising PHD and MSC 

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

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