Friday, March 02, 2007

Ramadi Cut Off; Falluja Protests Qa'ida

It looks like the insurgents of Ramadi are getting squeezed. It's about time. And the protest in Falluja is more evidence that Iraqi Sunni Arabs are turning against Al Qa'da. I like the way Qa'ida is spelled here - it makes sense if the apostrophe is supposed to represent the 'ain sound.

Ramadi Cut off; Falluja Protests Qa'ida
Anbar Cities under Siege: Eyewitnesses

Fighting between pro-government and pro-al-Qa'ida local forces continues in Anbar today, and residents of Ramadi report that their city is totally cut off from the outside world.

The Americans have blocked all Internet access in Ramadi, and that land and cellular telephone links to the outside world are dead, residents report. IraqSlogger sources say that the only people in Ramadi who can communicate from inside the city to the world outside are those with access to satellite phones.

Families who have left Ramadi, even to spend just a few days in Baghdad, are finding that they are unable to enter the city. One Ramadi family that had traveled to Baghdad only four days ago decided against trying to return home, in light of the lockdown and the heavy fighting taking place between the Americans and armed militant groups.

An Iraqi man collects his belongings from the rubble of his home in Ramadi on Feb. 27, after a suicide bomber in a stolen ambulance killed 14 Iraqis in an attack on a police post in an area controlled by Sunni tribes opposed to Al-Qaeda.

From Ramadi via satellite phone, residents report a building American armed presence. Sheik 'Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the leader of the pro-government Anbar Salvation Front, had asked Baghdad to pull the National Guard out of the Ramadi area, and to allow his tribal fighters be responsible for security.

In Falluja, today, after the Friday prayer, residents demonstrated in the streets condemning the "terrorists who are destroying Falluja." Slogger sources report that the recent increase in the scale of al-Qa'ida attacks commenced after the Americans announced they would hand the city off to local forces.

After the battle of Ameriyat Al-Falluja, the status of the area is unclear. Some residents report that the area is still under al-Qa'ida control. The al-Uwaisat tribe, known for strong links to al-Qa'ida, still seems to hold the area. Fighting has apparently continued between tribal forces for control.

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