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(See introduction to series here.)
The Washington Post provided the most straightforward series of reports on Fallujah I've seen, including a few stories that qualify as overlooked gems.
Dates below are for the publication of the story - not the events the reports describe.
Monday, 8 November, Opening salvos
Premier Puts Most of Iraq Under State of Emergency
By Karl Vick, Washington Post Foreign Service
BAGHDAD, Nov. 8 -- U.S. ground forces fought insurgents on the outskirts of Fallujah early Monday, and U.S. warplanes pounded the insurgent-held city, as a full military assault appeared increasingly imminent. On Sunday, Iraq's interim government had announced a state of emergency for most of the country.
Overnight, Iraqi forces backed by U.S. troops seized Fallujah's main hospital, located across the Euphrates River from the bulk of the city -- connected by the ironwork bridge from which the burned bodies of U.S. security contractors were hanged last spring. The largely symbolic action put an Iraqi imprimatur on an offensive that will necessarily be led by American armor, aircraft and troops, which Monday morning were still awaiting orders to advance. U.S. commanders have not said when the major offensive would start.
By Dafna Linzer, Washington Post Staff Writer
NEW YORK, Nov. 5 -- The United States, Britain and Iraq on Friday angrily dismissed a warning from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that a military offensive in the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah could jeopardize the credibility of upcoming elections in Iraq.
In letters dated Oct. 31 and addressed to President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and interim Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi, Annan said using military force against insurgents in the city would further alienate Sunni Muslims already feeling left out of a political process orchestrated largely by Washington.
"I wish to share with you my increasing concern at the prospect of an escalation in violence, which I fear could be very disruptive for Iraq's political transition," Annan wrote to the three leaders.
"I also worry about the negative impact that major military assaults, in which the main burden seems bound to be borne by American forces, are likely to have on the prospects for encouraging a broader participation by Iraqis in the political process, including in the elections."
Annan's comments and criticism drew anger and frustration from U.S., British and Iraqi officials.
Tuesday, 9 November: The "real" battle begins
Unlike in April, Effort Has Iraqi Government's Support
By Bradley Graham, Washington Post Staff Writer
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld declared yesterday that the military assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah would be carried through to completion, unlike the U.S. Marine operation in April that was aborted after several days.
"I cannot imagine that it would stop without being completed," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference.
Pressed on the possibility that interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi might halt the offensive, Rumsfeld said he would be "amazed" if that happened. He said the Iraqi leader had been involved in extensive discussions on whether to proceed. "The decision to go included the decision to finish and to finish together," Rumsfeld said.
Wednesday, 10 November: Has the enemy fled?
Units Meet Scattered Resistance; Attacks Continue Elsewhere
By Jackie Spinner, Karl Vick and Omar Fekeiki, Washington Post Foreign Service
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov. 9 -- U.S. forces pushed into the heart of Fallujah on Tuesday, encountering roadside bombs, rockets and gunfire on the second day of a battle to wrest control of the city from insurgents.
Army and Marine units that entered Fallujah from the northeast and northwest on Monday night had fought their way to the city center and beyond by Tuesday night, U.S. commanders said.
Soldiers with the Army's 1st Infantry Division made their way to the southeastern part of the city, a neighborhood of factories and warehouses where they expected to find guerrillas waiting for them. Instead, the district was relatively quiet, though the units reported being fired on by women and children armed with assault rifles.
"There were multiple groups running around shooting at us," said Air Force Senior Airman Michael Smyre, 26, of Hickory, N.C., an airstrike spotter attached to the 1st Infantry who was wounded when a rocket hit his armored vehicle. "You could see a lot of rubble, trash everywhere. It was real nasty-looking."
Marines fighting to the west of the Army units advanced to the main east-west highway that divides Fallujah and reported persistent resistance from insurgents firing from mosques.
Seabees, Other Units Began Planning Early for the Reconstruction of Fallujah
By Jackie Spinner, Washington Post Staff Writer
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov. 9 -- Weeks before Marine and Army units stormed into Fallujah, blowing up buildings and blasting holes in insurgent positions, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Larry Merola was already working on a plan to fix the damage.
Merola, an architect from Stoughton, Mass., was part of a Seabee team of engineers, builders and carpenters responsible for estimating the battle damage long before the first tank rolled.
Merola and his crew -- which included an ironworker from Connecticut, an electrician from Virginia and a general contractor from New Hampshire -- pored over combat plans with Marine commanders and made suggestions for how to secure the city without completely tearing it apart.
"A lot of trigger-pullers and pilots, they can do just about anything with their weapons," said Merola, 38, a reservist with the 7th Naval Construction Regiment, based in Newport, R.I. "But you don't want to give people a piece of flat earth to start over with when you're done."
Now, with U.S. and Iraqi security forces pushing their way through Fallujah, military commanders say an essential component in the battle to retake the city is putting it back together when the infantry leaves. More than $90 million in U.S.-funded reconstruction projects are planned for the city once it is secure.
"We don't do a combat operation in Fallujah unless we are prepared to repair it," said Col. John R. Ballard, commander of the Marine 4th Civil Affairs Group, based in Washington. "This isn't about punishing the town. This is about getting rid of a very bad influence. When we do that, there is going to be damage."
Thursday, November 11: Hump day (this is not a 5-day week)
Violence Breaks Out Elsewhere in Iraq as Insurgents Seek New Fronts
By Jackie Spinner and Omar Fekeiki, Washington Post Foreign Service
FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov. 10 -- U.S. and Iraqi forces established control over more than 70 percent of Fallujah on Wednesday, U.S. commanders said, and troops described encountering only small pockets of resistance as they pushed through a city that they likened to a ghost town.
"It's a lot lighter than we expected," said Staff Sgt. Jimmy Amyett, 24, of the 1st Infantry Division's Fox Troop, 4th Cavalry. When his unit first moved into Fallujah, he said, "we thought the city would explode on us."
Elsewhere in Iraq, fierce fighting broke out in several cities, as insurgents strove to open fronts away from Fallujah. In Baghdad, gunmen kidnapped relatives of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi from their home on Tuesday, a spokesman for Allawi said Wednesday. An Islamic militant group said it would execute Allawi's relatives unless U.S. and Iraqi forces withdrew from Fallujah.
An Iraqi general, meanwhile, said troops discovered abandoned houses in the northern part of Fallujah where kidnappers had "slaughtered" foreign hostages. "We found the insurgents' black clothes," said Brig. Gen. Abdul-Qadir Muhammed Jasim, the Iraqi army's chief of operations for the region. "We've found hundreds of CDs, documents with their names."
By Karl Vick and Naseer Nouri, Washington Post Foreign Service
BAGHDAD, Nov. 10 -- Armed men kidnapped three relatives of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, and fierce fighting broke out in several Iraqi cities Wednesday as insurgents strove to open fronts away from the U.S. military assault on Fallujah.
Allawi's first cousin Ghazi Allawi, 74, and two female relatives were abducted from their Baghdad home Tuesday night after a brief gun battle with bodyguards assigned to the family, according to a spokesman for the prime minister's office.
An Islamic militant group later posted a warning that the three faced execution in 48 hours unless Allawi ordered U.S. and Iraqi troops out of Fallujah. Allawi's office issued statements refusing the demand.
"This action is another of the terrorists' crimes and will not weaken the will of the government to fight terrorism to achieve peace and stability in a free and democratic Iraq," said another Allawi spokesman, Thaer Hasan Naqib.
By Jackie Spinner, Washington Post Staff Writer
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov. 10 -- U.S. Army observers watched as the white pickup truck sped from house to house in Fallujah on Wednesday morning, stopping more than 20 times to drop off armfuls of rocket-propelled grenades. Every few stops, the driver threw dirt on the roof of the cab, apparently in an attempt to disguise his vehicle.
A few miles away, soldiers in the 1st Infantry Division's 1st Platoon, Alpha Battery trained their M109A6 Paladin, a self-propelled 155mm howitzer, on the truck. Minutes later, a shell shot out of the cannon, whizzed across the sky and landed next to the truck with a massive boom, shooting off shrapnel.
In the resulting cloud of dust and fire, the observers could not tell whether the truck had been hit directly. But even if the driver got away, said Staff Sgt. Shawn Zawistowski, a member of the 1st Infantry's Task Force 2-2, "I guarantee we made him think twice."
Powerful artillery pieces such as the Paladin deserve much of the credit for the ease and speed with which the U.S. military has been able to take control of most of Fallujah, according to American soldiers who have been sweeping through the city over the past two days.
By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Special to The Washington Post
FALLUJAH, Iraq -- He first tried to get to Iraq in April 2003, when U.S. troops established control over the country and jihad became a place on a map.
"I wanted to come and fight for Islam," said Abu Thar, who started the journey from the capital city of his native country, Yemen, across the Arabian Peninsula. "I met a Jordanian merchant who provided me with tickets to Syria and a hundred dollars.
"He even drove me to the airport himself."
Abu Thar arrived at the airport in Sanaa, the Yemen capital, with a group of other Yemeni students, a flock of would-be jihadis forming a neat line at the immigration counter. Abu Thar was wearing a traditional Arab robe and a small turban.
"And when the police asked me why I was going to Damascus, I said, 'To work.' They asked me what kind of work. I said, 'To work for the salvation of my soul.' And they sent me back."
A thin young man with an ascetic manner and a lovely voice, Abu Thar fingered the fabric of his cheap cotton trousers. By his reckoning, the Western clothes were what finally got him started on the smugglers' road to Iraq, in time for the showdown in Fallujah.
"This time," he said, "I learned the lesson and bought these."
If foreign fighters are the primary stated reason that 10,000 U.S. troops this week commenced the largest combat operation since the fall of Baghdad, the journey of Abu Thar sheds rare light on their presence in Fallujah. Arab fighters poured in when Marines first laid siege to the city in April. At the time, many Fallujans welcomed the foreign fighters as reinforcements against an occupation force that many felt were punishing an entire city for the actions of the few who had mutilated the bodies of American contractors days before.
But in the six months that followed, by many accounts, a coolness developed between hosts and guests. The Arabs were blamed for beheadings, car bombs that killed civilians and for imposing their strict notions of faith on a local population with traditions of its own.
In the end, the stubborn presence of foreign fighters scotched efforts to return control of Fallujah to Iraq's interim government. By Monday night, when U.S. tanks rolled into the city largely emptied of civilians, American commanders estimate that Arabs from countries other than Iraq accounted for at least 20 percent of the 3,000 or so fighters who remained.
This is the story of one.
Friday, 12 November: After the Night of Power
Evidence of Guerrilla Atrocities Is Found
By Jackie Spinner, Karl Vick and Omar Fekeiki, Washington Post Foreign Service
FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov. 11 -- U.S. forces pushed toward a corner of Fallujah where commanders said insurgents may be preparing to make a last stand, as soldiers and civilians uncovered evidence of atrocities committed by the foreign and Iraqi guerrillas who controlled the city for nearly seven months.
In the industrial area on Fallujah's south side, residents said Thursday that the bodies of 20 foreign fighters had been found outside a truck repair shop, many killed by a single shot to the head. Insurgents native to Fallujah said the foreigners were executed for deserting their positions when the U.S.-led assault on the city began Monday night.
In the northern half of the city, now largely under the control of U.S. and Iraqi forces, Marines making a door-to-door sweep on Wednesday found a bruised, starving man chained to the wall of a house. The man, who identified himself as a taxi driver from nearby Abu Ghraib, said he had been kidnapped by men who refused to give him food or water and beat him with electrical cords during 10 days of captivity.
By Karl Vick and Bassam Sebti, Washington Post Foreign Service
BAGHDAD, Nov. 11 -- Armed insurgents rampaged Thursday through Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, detonated a massive car bomb in the capital and apparently seized control of two smaller urban centers. This violence took place as U.S. forces continued their major offensive in Fallujah.
The scattered and spreading guerrilla attacks appeared to be part of a threatened effort by insurgents to open new battle fronts away from Fallujah, an anti-American bastion 35 miles west of Baghdad in the Sunni Triangle.
Masked men brandishing machine guns and wrapped in ammunition bandoliers overran police stations in Mosul, a major city 220 miles north of the capital, carrying off weapons and armored vests in a second day of street violence, U.S. military officials here said.
In Baghdad, gunfire and explosions continued to rattle sections of the city, while gunmen battled U.S. Army units and Iraqi police in western neighborhoods largely populated by Sunni Muslims and officials of former president Saddam Hussein's Sunni-led government.
In a late-morning attack on Sadoun Street, a busy commercial strip, a car bomb exploded with a force that stunned even jaded residents.
The blast killed 17 people, blackened one block of the street, destroyed a medical supply store and incinerated 10 cars. The suicide bomber had apparently tried to hit a passing convoy of five Iraqi police cars.
"These are the Arab fighters who are losing now in Fallujah. I saw a whole family burned in front of me," said Abu Adullah, as a tear rolled down his cheek. Adullah's real estate office was damaged in the blast.
"May God curse them," he said. "May God curse them."
Saturday 13 November: The Push
U.S. Forces Meet Fierce Resistance In Fallujah
Push South Greeted By 'Hornet's Nest'
By Jackie Spinner and Karl Vick, Washington Post Foreign Service
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov. 12 -- Insurgents in trenches met advancing U.S. and Iraqi forces in southern Fallujah with a burst of bullets and rockets Friday in what commanders described as one of the fiercest days of fighting since the battle to retake the city began five days ago.
Marines and soldiers said they encountered guerrillas dug into traditional defensive positions from which they could pop up, shoot and quickly take cover. The Americans said they and their Iraqi allies fought back with rifles, automatic weapons, belt-fed machine guns, mortars and hand grenades.
"It was a hornets' nest," said Capt. Erik Krivda, of Gaithersburg, the officer in charge of the Army's 1st Infantry Division Task Force 2-2 tactical operations command center.
Sunday, 14 November: End game on the eve of Eid
Marines Find Mutilated Body Believed to Be Western Woman
NEAR FALLUJAH -- The U.S. military's ground and air assault of Fallujah has gone quicker than expected, with the entire city occupied after six days of fighting, the Marine commander who planned the offensive said Sunday. The military said 31 Americans have been killed in the siege.
Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski said he and other commanders learned from April's failed three-week Marine assault on Fallujah, which was called off by the Bush administration after a worldwide outcry over civilians deaths. This time, the military sent in six times as many troops and 20 types of aircraft. Troops also faked attacks before the assault to confuse enemy fighters.
On Sunday, U.S. soldiers from Task Force 2-2 of the 1st Infantry Division discovered an immense series of underground bunkers linked by tunnels that insurgents stocked with medical supplies, a CNN correspondent embedded with the unit reported.
Warplanes dropped four 2,000-pound bombs on the bunker network in the city's southeast corner, setting off 45 minutes of secondary explosions as weapons stockpiles detonated, CNN correspondent Jane Arraf said
Next: The LA Times
Thanks for the updates. Then there is this; http://arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=54568&d=16&m=11&y-2004
Here is the comment I wrote to the paper: " War is hell. These people were given every opportunity by the interum government to leave, to turn over the foreigners and the deadenders from SH's regime. These people harbored the outsiders who were armed and threatening. They tried these tactics on the American populace during Viet Nam, and the truth we learned is that we took casualties by trying not to hit civilians. It worked then, but we are a more educated population now. The left in our country paying your salary? George Soros still has a few buck left to throw your way. We know the integrity, the training, the planning our troops undergo to avoid as much as possible, so don't try to pull the 'Nam crap on us again! Once fooled, our fault. Twice fooled; ain't going to happen!"
Please leave your comment, too! Set the author straight.Posted by DagneyT at November 16, 2004 06:09 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(1) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)