Saturday, January 12, 2008
By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail
"......Many people in Fallujah say they simply want the U.S. forces to leave. "If the U.S. generals mean they will hand over security to Iraqis and leave the province, then I will salute them all," retired Iraqi army colonel Salman Ahmed told IPS in Fallujah. "But I know it is just another comedy like that played elsewhere in Iraq, where Iraqis (officials) are just ropes for American dirty laundry. We want our country back for real, not just on paper."
People in Fallujah, the second biggest city of al-Anbar province after capital Ramadi, say they are still in the grip of draconian security measures implemented and backed by the U.S. military.
"If security is so good then let them end the tragedy of our city," a member of the Fallujah City Council, speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "We want our freedom back and we want to leave and enter our city without this humiliation by soldiers and policemen. Fallujah is dying, and our masters (Americans) are bragging about security and prosperity."
Fifty-five-year-old mother Um Bashar came to the house where IPS was meeting with residents. "Let them (Americans) take everything and bring me my son back," she said. "He stayed to guard the house in the November 2004 siege and the Americans captured him. Now he is missing. Some people who were released told us he was with them in the airport prison."
Iraqi people do not speak of improvement. They do not see it; they see only that these claims have become important for the U.S. elections. "