Friday, June 03, 2005

Dahr Jamail "The Failed Siege of Fallujah"

Dahr Jamail's latest is an article in Asia Times that you can read at his blog as well. WARNING: Those who've relied on Dexter Filkins reporting on Falluja in the New York Times may want to sit down because your whole world may shatter. Here's an excerpt from the opening:

"The failed siege of Fallujah"

After two devastating sieges of Fallujah in April and November of 2004, which left thousands of Iraqis dead and hundreds of thousands without homes, the aftermath of the US attempt to rid the city of resistance fighters in an effort to improve security in the country continues to plague the residents of Fallujah, and Iraq as a whole.
Simmering anger grows with time among Fallujans who, after having most of their city destroyed by the US military onslaught, have seen promises of rebuilding by both the US military and Iraqi government remain mostly unfulfilled.
"There are daily war crimes being committed in Fallujah, even now," said Mohammed Abdulla, the executive director of the Study Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Fallujah (SCHRDF). His organization works within the destruction of Fallujah, trying to monitor the plight of residents, bring them reconstruction aid, and document the war crimes and illegal weapons that were used during the November siege.
"Now we have none of the rebuilding which was promised, which people need so desperately in order to get their lives back in order," said Abdulla during a recent interview with Asia Times Online in Amman.
Doctors working inside the city continue to complain of US and Iraqi security forces impeding their medical care. Along with the continuance of strict US military checkpoints, residents in the city say the treatment they receive from both the US military and Iraqi security forces operating inside Fallujah is both degrading and humiliating. This treatment is also being perceived by most as intentional.
"The checkpoints are too obstructive," said Dr Amer Ani, who volunteers at Fallujah General Hospital. "Fighting has resumed inside the city, because in the last two weeks there have been man-to-man clashes in different districts of the city. This has caused ambulances to have difficulty entering and exiting the city, especially the main hospital.
"I work in the refugee camp on the border, and because of the checkpoint on the outskirts of the city, no patients from that camp can enter the city," said Ani. "Thus, they are forced to go to another clinic 14 kilometers from them, whereas the closest treatment in the city is less than one kilometer from them."
Ani went on to add that the main hospital and several primary health clinics in the city need rebuilding, but the building materials are being prevented from entering by US forces.
Dr Riyad al-Obeidy, who works in Ramadi, is also currently volunteering inside Fallujah. "Previously, the Ministry of Health was delivering aid into the city, but now this is prohibited, for unknown reasons," he said. "Thus, now there are shortages of external fixators, surgical sets for operations, and trauma equipment. There is really a humanitarian health problem. People are living as refugees inside their city, living in tents - so we have lack of clean water and hygiene, so there is rampant spreading of typhoid. With summer coming, this will all get worse."

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