Jamail: U.S. Losing Control Fast


Richard Moore

Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 09:28:58 -0700
From: •••@••.•••
Subject: Iraq Dispatches: U.S. Losing Control Fast

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

      U.S. Losing Control Fast

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

*RAMADI, Sep 5 (IPS) - The U.S. military has lost control over the volatile 
al-Anbar province, Iraqi police and residents say.*

The area to the west of Baghdad includes Fallujah, Ramadi and other towns that 
have seen the worst of military occupation, and the strongest resistance.

Despite massive military operations which destroyed most of Fallujah and much of
cities like Haditha and al-Qa'im in Ramadi, real control of the city now seems 
to be in the hands of local resistance.

In losing control of this province, the U.S. would have lost control over much 
of Iraq.

"We are talking about nearly a third of the area of Iraq," Ahmed Salman, a 
historian from Fallujah told IPS. "Al-Anbar borders Jordan, Syria and Saudi 
Arabia, and the resistance there will never stop as long as there are American 
soldiers on the ground."

Salman said the U.S. military is working against itself. "Their actions ruin 
their goal because they use these huge, violent military operations which kill 
so many civilians, and make it impossible to calm down the people of al-Anbar."

The resistance seems in control of the province now. "No government official can
do anything without contacting the resistance first," Abu Ghalib, a government 
official in Ramadi told IPS.

"Even the governor used to take their approval for everything. When he stopped 
doing so, they issued a death sentence against him, and now he cannot move 
without American protection."

Recent weeks have brought countless attacks on U.S. troops in Haditha, Ramadi, 
Fallujah and on the Baghdad-Amman highway. Several armoured vehicles have been 
destroyed, and dozens of U.S. soldiers killed in the al-Anbar province, 
according to both Iraqi witnesses and the U.S. Department of Defence.

Long stretches of the 550km Baghdad-Amman highway which crosses al-Anbar are now
controlled by resistance groups. Other parts are targeted by highway looters.

"If we import any supplies for the U.S. Army or Iraqi government, the fighters 
will take it from us and sell it in the local market," trader Hayder al-Mussawi 
said. "And if we import for the local market, the robbers will take it."

Eyewitnesses in Ramadi say many of the attacks are taking place within their 
city. They say that the U.S. military recently asked citizens in al-Anbar to 
stop targeting them, and promised to withdraw to their bases in Haditha and 
Habaniyah (near Fallujah) soon, leaving the cities for Iraqi security forces to 

"I do not think that is possible," retired Iraqi police Brigadier-General Kahtan
al-Dulaimi from Ramadi told IPS. "I believe no local unit could stand the severe
resistance of al-Anbar, and it will be the last province to be handed over to 
Iraqi security forces."

According to the group Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, 964 coalition soldiers 
have been killed in al-Anbar, more than in any other Iraqi province.. Baghdad is
second, with 665 coalition deaths.

Residents of Ramadi told IPS that the U.S. military has knocked down several 
buildings near the government centre in the city, the capital of the province.

In an apparent move to secure their offices, U.S. Army and Marine engineers have
started to level a half-kilometre stretch of low-rise buildings opposite the 
centre. Abandoned buildings in this area have been used repeatedly to launch 
attacks on the government complex.

"They are trying to create a separation area between the offices of the puppet 
government and the buildings the resistance are using to attack them," a Ramadi 
resident said. "But now the Americans are making us all angry because they are 
destroying our city."

U.S. troops have acknowledged their own difficulties in doing this. "We're used 
to taking down walls, doors and windows, but eight city blocks is something new 
to us," Marine 1st Lt. Ben Klay, 24, said in the U.S. Department of Defence 
newspaper Stars and Stripes.

In nearby Fallujah, residents are reporting daily clashes between Iraqi-U.S. 
security forces and the resistance.

"The local police force which used to be out of the conflict are now being 
attacked," said a resident who gave his name as Abu Mohammed. "Hundreds of local
policemen have quit the force after seeing that they are considered a legitimate
target by fighters.."

The U.S. forces seem to have no clear policy in the face of the sustained 

"The U.S. Army seems so confused in handling the security situation in Anbar," 
said historian Salman. "Attacks are conducted from al-Qa'im on the Syrian border
to Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad, all the way through Haditha, Hit, Ramadi and 
Fallujah on a daily basis."

He added: "A contributing factor to the instability of the province is the 
endless misery of the civilians who live with no services, no infrastructure, 
random shootings and so many wrongful detentions."

According to the new Pentagon quarterly report on Measuring Security and 
Stability in Iraq, Iraqi casualties rose 51 percent in recent months. The report
says Sunni-based insurgency is "potent and viable."

The report says that in a period since the establishment of the new Iraqi 
government, between May 20 and Aug. 11 this year, the average number of weekly 
attacks rose to nearly 800, almost double the number of the attacks in early 

Casualties among Iraqi civilians and security forces averaged nearly 120 a day 
during the period, up from 80 a day reported in the previous quarterly report. 
Two years ago they were averaging roughly 30 a day.

On Aug. 31 the Pentagon announced that it is increasing the number of U.S. 
troops in Iraq to 140,000, which is 13,000 more than the number five weeks ago.

At least 65 U.S. soldiers were killed in August, with 36 of the deaths reported 
in al-Anbar. That brought the total number killed to at least 2,642.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.

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