The Streets Of Fallujah
By Dahr Jamail
16 November, 2004
never fails to get my adrenaline flowing when my hotel rumbles from
a car bomb detonating in central Baghdad.
Last night around
7pm the explosion occurred at a hotel compound which houses foreign
contractors over near Firdos Square.
Shortly there after
the Green Zone took a sustained mortar attack which went
on long enough for them to hit the blaring sirens which warn the inhabitants
to take cover, long after the mortar rounds had stopped falling.
with Syria and Jordan remain closed, according to US-appointed prime
minister Allawi since declaring Iraq in a state of national emergency.
Due to Baghdad International
Airport being closed for the same reason, a friend managed to drive
across the closed border of Jordan a few days ago because
hed grown weary of waiting for the airport to reopen.
Prior to leaving
Amman he checked with the car hire kiosks who told him they had been
running cars to and from Iraq non-stop, despite the closed
At the Jordanian
border there were, according to my friend, at least 100 cars waiting
to cross the border into Iraq. An Iraqi guard in civilian
clothing told them, while laughing, The border is closed, but
I will open it for you, despite what Allawi says.
At the customs clearance
building, although they were driving in a GMC with 10 large suitcases
lashed to the top of it, a quick bribe of $3 to the official allowed
them to be waved through without a single door of their truck being
There were no US
soldiers, nor any Iraqi National Guard. His passport was stamped without
even being looked at, and he left within minutes.
All of the other
cars and trucks traveling into Iraq near him made it across the border
as well. Again, as he said, There were easily over 100.
There is so much
fighting and chaos around Iraq now that it is simply impossible to report
everything, so Ill just cover a few highlights.
Four oil wells in
northern Iraq have been destroyed by the resistance, adding to the heinous
fuel shortage that has wracked the country for weeks now.
Petrol lines in
Baghdad continue to stretch for miles in places, making people angry
and frustrated. Driving around the city is more and more difficult,
as the petrol lines squeeze 2 and 3 lane roads down to a single lane,
snarling traffic and raising tempers.
There are sporadic
attacks continuing throughout the capital city day and night, as the
Iraqi resistance continue to fight against the occupiers of their country.
Armed men continue
to roam freely about the streets of Mosul and Ramadi in defiance of
the US military, Iraqi National Guard (ING) and Iraqi Police (IP). A
US convoy was attacked north of Ramadi and a Humvee was exploded; no
word yet from the military on casualties.
In Baquba, about
40 miles northeast of Baghdad, another police station was attacked,
5 police vehicles torched along with several Iraqi National Guard trucks
and the US base in the city was mortared. My friend in the area told
me on the phone, There were so many bullets Mr. Daher, I hid in
my shop and God protected me, but it is crazy here. I want to come to
Baghdad to see you, but there is no petrol in Baquba.
The horrendous humanitarian
disaster of Fallujah drags on as the US military continues to refuse
the entry of an Iraqi Red Crescent (IRC) convoy of relief supplies.
The Red Crescent has appealed to the UN to intervene, but no such luck,
nor does the military relent.
IPs, who are
under U.S. control, have looted Fallujah General Hospital.
The military stopped
the Red Crescent at the gates of the city and are not allowing them
in. They allowed some bodies to be buried, but others are being eaten
by dogs and cats in the streets, as reported by refugees just out of
the city, as well as residents still trapped there.
The military said
it saw no need for the IRC to deliver aid to people inside Fallujah
because it did not think any civilians were still inside the city.
claim, along with virtually every aid work, refugee, and resident of
Fallujah was US Marine Col. Mike Shupp who said, There is no need
to bring [Red Crescent] supplies in because we have supplies of our
own for the people.
Firdu al-Ubadi added, We know of at least 157 families inside
Fallujah who need our help.
The media repression
by the military around Fallujah continues to run thick, as a journalist
for the al-Arabia network who attempted to get inside Fallujah was detained
by the military. Meanwhile, al-Jazeera continues to run announcements
over their satellite station, apologizing to its viewers for not having
better coverage in Iraq due to their office being closed indefinitely
several months ago by the US-backed interim government.
continue to get the word out. They report today that Asma Khamis al-Muhannadi,
a doctor who witnessed the US and Iraqi National Guard raid the general
hospital said, We were tied up and beaten despite being unarmed
and having only our medical instruments.
She said the hospital
was targeted by bombs and rockets during the initial siege of Fallujah,
and troops dragged patients from their beds and pushed them against
on to say that all of them were put under intense inspection and, Two
female doctors were forced to totally undress.
She continued on,
I was with a woman in labor, she said, The umbilical
cord had not yet been cut. At that time, a US soldier shouted at one
of the (Iraqi) national guards to arrest me and tie my hands while I
was helping the mother to deliver. I will never forget this incident
in my life.
Like I said, these
are just some highlights.