Monday, January 24, 2005

Falluja update

Although there has been resounding silence about the humanitarian disaster in Falluja, the true cost to the civilian population is emerging. Preliminary estimates are as high as 6,000 Iraqis killed, a third of the city destroyed, and over 200,000 civilians living as refugees. It is estimated that it could be months before people are allowed to return to what is left of their homes. According to a UN emergency working group on this humanitarian crisis, there are shortages of food items and cooking fuel. The temperatures have dropped, underscoring an urgent need for winterization items and appropriate shelter. The International Committee for the Red Cross reported on December 23 that three of the city's water purification plants had been destroyed and the fourth badly damaged.

Aid organizations have repeatedly been denied access to the city, hospitals, and refugee populations in the surrounding areas. Sporadic fighting continues as some insurgent forces return. Iraqi National Security Advisor Qassem Daoud has warned of explosive ordnance still hidden in debris and on the streets. Residents seeking to return are required to go through intense security checks before being allowed to re-enter Falluja.


As firefights continue in Falluja, Iraq's third-largest city, Mosul, has become a new front line in the ongoing war. Suicide bombs and car bombs, firefights, kidnapping, targeted assassinations, and citywide curfews compound the violence.


Violence is claiming an increasing number of Iraqi civilians - an estimated 100,000 civilians had been killed before the November Falluja attack. During the months of October and November, 338 Iraqis associated with the "new" government or with Americans were assassinated.


As the US relies on Shia Muslim combatants to join with US forces on the siege of Sunni-inhabited Falluja, and Kurds to help rein in the violence in Mosul, surely an argument can be made that civil war is being fostered by the occupation.

  All Falluja posts

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