It is said that the siege of the city of Fallujah, which is situated nearly 60 kilometres from Baghdad, has been ongoing for the past two years. We are also being told that those who enter the city are allowed to do so for good reason as part of the effort to save it from the terrorist organisation known as Daesh. There is also the argument that bombing the city, and its destruction, as well as the expulsion of its women and children, is all meant to liberate the residents from the siege, hunger and illness.
These lies deserve to be buried alongside the others that are being created by Iraqi politicians and fed to us through the media. Such rhetoric resembles that employed by Zionists who claim that by taking over Palestinian lands they hope to create institutions from which Palestinians can benefit.
The truth is that Fallujah has been and always will be a thorn in the side of the Iraqi government. The siege is not the result of today’s events or those of the past two years, and the “news” of its “liberation” has been witnessed time and time again. In fact, Fallujah’s residents have been dedicated to liberating the city from worthless politicians, who have not been able to deceive the local people.
The narrative of the latest invaders — US mercenaries and Iranian militias — is that they are fighting the so-called Islamic State and that its stronghold is Fallujah. They also claim that they are there to ensure the stability of the city, which negates the claim that the people of Fallujah have the right to remain in their homes; after all, they are considered to be terrorists by those on the outside who give the invaders a mandate to destroy them. This takes us back to the narrative of the British occupiers in the 1940s and the Americans after them who claimed to have come to Iraq as liberators and not occupiers. The use of this type of rhetoric shows us that the term “occupation” now means that the occupiers no longer necessarily come from the outside.
It is also true that the invaders and their leaders are afraid of Fallujah because it is, quite simply, the city of resistance that refused to bow down when the biggest military force in the world invaded and tried to destroy it. The people of Fallujah refused to bow their heads down as many others did when faced with the US occupation. Fallujah is the resistance city that invaders have tried to destroy with depleted uranium and white phosphorous; the city that former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki bombed with explosive barrels.
Fallujah is not besieged and bombed because it is a Daesh stronghold; was Daesh there in the 1940s when the people of Fallujah rose against the British occupier? Did Daesh have a role when the Americans tried to impose their will on the city? The people paid the price with their lives for resisting the invasion, not only for their own dignity but for the dignity of the whole of Iraq.
The misinformation campaigns that were both created and broadcast by successive occupation governments, beginning with that of secular Iyad Allawi to Nouri Al-Maliki and Haider Al-Abadi (both from the Islamic Dawa Party), have shown that there is a government programme to obliterate Fallujah and wipe its people from the face of the earth. This belief holds true, from the sectarian commentary to the honest calls for the obliteration of the citizens of Fallujah, who are often described as “cancerous” and must be removed through siege, starvation and bombardment. All of the details point to a fear that the city of resistance will continue to stand against the national policies of the Iraqi government, or because it is standing up against Iran and America among other factors.
Although the Iranians claim that Major General Qassem Soleimani of the Iranian Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution is in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government, Iran’s interference and clear role in trapping and terrorising the people of Fallujah has not hindered their resistance. In any case, isn’t such a claim also made by US forces? Aren’t the claims that foreign forces are there “at the request of the host government” also made in other Arab countries?
Today, the people of Fallujah are threatened by famine and those who remain in the city risk being killed by the militias. The films that are being broadcast by Iran’s troops and militias show evidence of the crimes that the Iranians are proud of, as they behead people or drag naked bodies along the ground. The earlier US and British occupiers undoubtedly paved the way for such criminal activities.
The humanitarian situation for civilians is dire, reported Mustafa Trabouli, a spokesperson for the besieged city. “We are currently exposed to artillery shelling, mortars and military aircraft,” he said in a recorded message. “A few days ago we were struck by 2,000 rockets and this led to the destruction of many homes while the inhabitants were still inside them. We are no longer able to remove the bodies of the dead from under the rubble. We are unable to get the wounded to the hospitals. Doctors in Fallujah are conducting surgical operations without any anaesthesia. We are suffering from a lack of medication and food supplies. There is no water and no electricity. When a few supplies were sent to us the army took control of them.” Trabouli begged the world to stop the tragedy in Fallujah, to deliver aid to the civilians and end the barbaric bombing. Too many people are still in need of food, fresh water and medicine.
Ever since sectarianism took control of the government in Baghdad, the politicians have attempted to erase the Iraqi national identity in multiple ways. Their efforts include changing street and city names as they want to erase the collective history and memory of Iraqi society. Not content with that, right now in Fallujah there are 50,000 civilians held under siege by the sectarian regime, which knows no language except destruction and corruption. The regime is blind to the fact that the people cannot be obliterated and cities that are alive cannot be destroyed.
After the Romans had held Carthage under siege for three years, they entered the city and destroyed it completely. They killed most of the city’s inhabitants and burnt all that was left. They destroyed the city walls and spread salt on the ground so that nothing would ever grow again and no one would be able to live there. However, like Hiroshima, which the Americans tried to destroy, Carthage was reborn.