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Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 1,839
Iraqis take control of Haditha
    #4566347 - 08/22/05 01:57 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Guardian gains rare access to Iraqi town and finds it fully in control of 'mujahideen'

The executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon.

One of last week's victims was a young man in a black tracksuit. Like the others he was left on his belly by the blue iron railings at the bridge's southern end. His severed head rested on his back, facing Baghdad. Children cheered when they heard that the next day's spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations. A man named Watban and his brother had been found guilty of spying.

With so many alleged American agents dying here Haqlania bridge was renamed Agents' bridge. Then a local wag dubbed it Agents' fridge, evoking a mortuary, and that name has stuck.

A three-day visit by a reporter working for the Guardian last week established what neither the Iraqi government nor the US military has admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates river, is an insurgent citadel.

That Islamist guerrillas were active in the area was no secret but only now has the extent of their control been revealed. They are the sole authority, running the town's security, administration and communications.

A three-hour drive north from Baghdad, under the nose of an American base, it is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies, which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.

Haditha exposes the limitations of the Iraqi state and US power on the day when the political process is supposed to make a great leap - a draft constitution finalised and approved by midnight tonight.

For politicians and diplomats in Baghdad's fortified green zone the constitution is a means to stabilise Iraq and woo Sunni Arabs away from the rebellion. For Haditha, 140 miles north-west of the capital, whether a draft is agreed is irrelevant. Residents already have a set of laws and rules promulgated by insurgents.

From attacks on US and Iraqi forces it is clear that other Anbar towns, such as Qaim, Rawa, Anna and Ramadi, are to varying degrees under the sway of rebels.

Last year the US trumpeted its rehabilitation of a nearby power plant: "The incredible progress at Haditha is just one example of the huge strides made by the US army corps of engineers."

Now insurgents earn praise from residents for allegedly pressuring managers to supply electricity almost 24 hours a day, a luxury denied the rest of Iraq.

Twice in recent months marines backed by aircraft and armour swept into Haditha to flush out the rebels. In a pattern repeated across Anbar there were skirmishes, a few suspects killed or detained, and success was declared.

In reality, said residents, the insurgents withdrew for a few days and returned when the Americans left. They have learned from last November's battle in Falluja, when hundreds died fighting the marines and still lost the city.

Now their strategy appears to be to wait out the Americans, calculating they will leave within a few years, and then escalate what some consider the real war against a government led by Shias, a rival sect which Sunni extremists consider apostasy.

The US military declined to respond to questions detailing the extent of insurgent control in the town.


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Re: Iraqis take control of Haditha [Re: Alex213]
    #4566441 - 08/22/05 02:35 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

are you the old alex123, 321xela, or issachunt. its hard to keep up with you.

America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama

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Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 1,839
Re: Iraqis take control of Haditha [Re: lonestar2004]
    #4570218 - 08/23/05 12:19 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I'm none of them. Ask Phred.

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Posts: 15,608
Re: Iraqis take control of Haditha [Re: Alex213]
    #4570245 - 08/23/05 12:23 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

It seems like we either hear of really bad stuff coming out of Iraq (bombings, shootings, etc...) or really good stuff (new schools opened, civilians being helped, etc...). Because of this, I get both elated and depressed several times a day when thinking about Iraq.

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