If March 2003 was an occasion to remember the US-led invasion of Iraq, April 2003 is an occasion to remember one of its most fascinating episodes: the martyrdom of Fallujah.
Fallujah is an Iraqi city known as “the city of mosques” as there are 200 mosques within the city. This fact also cements its reputation as being a conservative Sunni area which also provided many elite forces to Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime in the past.
But after the 2003 US invasion it also became what Karen Armstrong in her book Fields of Blood called “the Arab 9/11” – hundreds of civilians died and hundreds of thousands were rendered homeless due to the actions of the US.
We will be taking a look at how and why it became known as the “Arab 9/11.”
The City Which Resisted Like Vietnam Did
It all began when Iraqi demonstrators thought that foreign occupation was a bad thing (not unsimilar to the current situation the Ukrainians find themselves in) and the US thought that the best way to respond to them was to actually kill them. How un-American of them!
Tensions kept building up – with Americans killing and injuring Iraqis and with their intentional targeting of mosques – until it reached boiling point in March 2004; when four Blackwater contractors and operatives, including Navy SEAL Scott Helvenston (someone close to Hollywood celebrities because of his fitness tips), were killed. Their bodies were burned and then hung from a bridge.
The “world media” was not only shocked by the acts themselves, but also by how Iraqis, including children, were celebrating.
It thus triggered a response which came in the form of the First Battle of Fallujah, code-named Operation Vigilant Resolve.
This battle is not as well-known as the later battle, but is remembered for few reasons:
It was the first time that the role of private military contractors (PMCs) in the War on Terror had come to light, and there would eventually be 100,000 of them on Iraqi soil later on. Additionally the Blackwater mercenaries in particular would be found guilty of war crimes, such as the infamous 2007 Nisour Square massacre. Of course, they were eventually pardoned by Trump.
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It was also during this battle that, for the first time, the primary enemy of the US was no longer Saddam loyalists but rather Sunni insurgents – a movement which, at the time, was represented by al-Zarqawi.
Yet despite these details, and the hundreds of civilian deaths, the First Battle of Fallujah has somehow been overshadowed by the Second Battle of Fallujah, which began in November 2004 after months of low-intensity conflict between the US and insurgents.
The Second Battle of Fallujah was code-named Operation Phantom Fury. It continued for six weeks – twice the duration as that of the previous battle. However it’s the intensity of the operation which made it historic. In fact, it has been deemed the most difficult urban conflict that the US Marines have faced since 1986 with the siege of Hue in Vietnam.
Dozens of Marines had died. Frustrated at the heroic resistance of the city, it was normal that the US (with Britain as its ally and the Iraqi collaborators) offers the same response as it did to Vietnam: namely that apart from the psychological humiliation (house-to-house patrolling is an insult within conservative Sunni societies), it unleashed an apocalyptic level of destruction.
In 2012 Al-Jazeera reported:
Doctors at Fallujah General Hospital told Al Jazeera in 2004 that 736 Iraqis had been killed during the April siege. They said approximately 60 per cent of the victims were women, children, and elderly, and told of medical personnel being fired on by US forces while trying to evacuate the wounded.
By the end of nearly three weeks of heavy bombings and a ground invasion in the November siege, more than 1,000 Iraqis were killed, according to Fallujah doctors.
Most of the residents of the city of 300,000 had been displaced from their homes at that time, and while most have returned, thousands remain homeless, unemployed, and struggle to rebuild their lives.
It is estimated that 70 per cent of the buildings and homes in Fallujah were damaged or destroyed, along with at least 100 mosques, 6,000 shops, and nine government offices.
The Legacy Continues: Cancer, Birth Defects & More
The US doesn’t only want to kill. It wants to kill while “respecting” human rights.
The US attacked Iraq for having supposed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) which no one ever found. The same US used chemical weapons such as white phosphorus, depleted uranium and the Mark 77 – an incendiary bomb and substance resembling napalm, made infamous precisely in Vietnam.
The Independent published an article in 2010 named named Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima’!
Business Insider reported in 2012 (many years after the battle had ended):
The increases in cancer, infant mortality and perturbations in birth sex ratio in Fallujah are significantly greater than those recorded for survivors of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a study and reported by Karlos Zurutuza of Inter Press Service (IPS).The study, released by the Switzerland-based International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, shows that in the years following Operation Phantom Fury there has been a 4-fold increase in all cancer, including a 12-fold increases in childhood cancer in those aged 0-14.
According to hospital spokesman Nadim al-Hadidi, Fallujah hospital cannot offer any statistics on children born with birth defects because there are just too many.
Noam Chomsky considers the findings “immensely more embarrassing than the WikiLeaks leaks on Afghanistan,” according to IPS.
On birth defects specifically, Al-Jazeera reported in 2012:
In July 2010, Busby released a study that showed a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in Fallujah since the 2004 attacks. The report also showed the sex ratio had declined from normal to 86 boys to 100 girls, together with a spread of diseases indicative of genetic damage similar to but of far greater incidence than Hiroshima.
Dr Alani visited Japan recently, where she met with Japanese doctors who study birth defect rates they believe related to radiation from the US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
She was told birth defect incidence rates there are between 1-2 per cent. Alani’s log of cases of birth defects amounts to a rate of 14.7 per cent of all babies born in Fallujah, more than 14 times the rate in the affected areas of Japan.
So the “civilized West” has left a horrific legacy in Iraq which will continue for generations to come: countless mothers will experience what should be the most joyful occasion in their life – the birth of their child – turn into a medical nightmare.
Is this the price Muslims have to pay for resisting liberal imperialism and its dogmas such as democracy?
Also note how many Muslims seeking “alliances” with Western conservatives are constantly grieving abortions and the dropping fertility rate in the West… is that really our biggest problem?
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Shouldn’t we be more concerned by the fact that our Muslim sisters in Fallujah have been condemned to have their babies born with birth defects?
For those who want to know more, The Sacking of Fallujah: A People’s History, released in 2019 is an excellent book. And for those who may not want to read, there’s a documentary that was aired on Italy’s state channel back in 2005 named Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre.
Tragic and our heads hang in shame. It is often said by Muslims today that to take the ummah out of its misery and back to ‘izzah, we need another Salahuddin. But before that, we need to become people who deserve another Salahuddin!
This doesn’t work for the masses.
You first establish a few really religious, knowledgeable or willing to learn and willing to die for Islam and Muslims and then once you take power you lead by example and show people they don’t have to follow the western nonsense.
Most people follow like sheep, this is not a judgement just a fact.
I’m not calling for rebellion but it’s becoming more and more apparent that it’s the only way.
Despite all the da’wah we still need to have a pious ruler.
Pious ruler doesn’t drop from the sky. He has to come from within. And if you think that ruler can establish shari’ah within a population that’s highly secularized, liberalized and brainwashed, you’re dreaming.
There is always a minority in every town that is willing to live by Islam. They need to separate from the liberalised masses and establish their own smaller town. Then leadership can be built.
My only way to cope with all the rage I get from all the crimes the West and in general the Kuffar have done to our Ummah and Muslim brothers and sisters is to long for the day we will take revenge and destroy their armies and take over their cities and reduce them to slavery if they don’t surrender.
Except it’s all just a dream, Dunya will always disappoint the believers.
Horrible, the whole Bush regime should have faced trial as war criminals
Your morality and viewpoint of life and others like you are responsible for all of this.
Uhhh, I am pretty much a left-wing hippie so I don’t know how I am responsible. That’s like saying all Muslims are responsible for any terrorist act committed by a Muslim
Ain’t that much better under Obama, mate.
Every American soldier who went there should be beheaded.
Anyone who says otherwise is an imbecile.
The soldiers CHOSE to go to War. It’s a job and they loved it.
As you may have noticed, this comment is actually getting upvotes.
“Also note how many Muslims seeking “alliances” with Western conservatives are constantly grieving abortions and the dropping fertility rate in the West… is that really our biggest problem?”
Spot on. I always wonder why some Muslims are so obsessed with fertility rates in the west and want non-Muslims to have a lot of children. So that? Those children will grow up to become war criminals or neonazis. It’s not our problem.
The problem is that the lifestyle, that causes fertility rates to drop in the western world, is also being promoted on Muslim populations worldwide. Just look at how fertility rates are falling across the muslim world(specially in the arab world), this without talking about the increase in divorce rates and people starting to marry when they reach their mid-late 30’s.
I had enough of anglos civilization. Only a genius among them are able to understand the damages they have done
Btw why does everyone here oppose the Vietnam war? Aren’t the atheist Viet communists worse than the Christian US crusaders?
calling americans “christians” is a very bold statement tbh.
If americans had massacred our ummah and then accepted Islam like the Mongols, not a single person of Imaan would have a problem with them.
It is insistence of Americans to force down their true religion with is liberalism that is most hateful.
One thing is opposing communism and another is commit genocide and destruction on an entire population. Mohamed Ali, the American heavyweight boxing champion, he was a muslim and he refused to serve in Vietnam even when it was a war against communism. This does not take the fact that communism caused genocides and the worst crimes against millions of muslims in eastern Europe and Asia.
Would we say the same about Yugoslavia, which genocide Muslims, iuntil NATO came and committed war crimes there?
What about the commie/Christian East Timor, which seceded from Indonesia?
First,it was nationalist orthodox christians Serbs that committed genocide on Muslim Bosnians. And NATO did not commit war crimes in the Balkans, bcause as far as I know they targeted only military objectives to prevent the serb army from taking over Kosovo(mostly Muslim ethnic Albanians and other Muslim and Christian ethnic minorities). I do not know the case of East Timor, I only know they are christians and were a Portuguese colony if I’m not mistaken.
MuslimSkeptuc has spoken negatively if the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and the secession of Kosovo.
Besides, they bombed civilian targets such as bridges and industry, and left cluster bombs for kids to pick up. Like a mini Iraq
Destroying supply lines is the most basic thing to do to win a war, and this means destroying roads, bridges, etc. Destroying supply lines does not amount to war crimes, war crimes is the indiscriminate bombing of residential areas, torture and execution of unarmed prisoners, systemic use of terror tactics including se*ual violence against entire civilian populations, ethnic cleansing, etc.
If NATO had not intervened, the serbian army would have done to the muslim cosovar albanians(and other muslim minorities) the same war crimes they did on the Bosnian muslim population. NATO’s interests just aligned with that of the Cosovar Albanians, because the serbian army was a pupet of Russia. And now Cosovo is an ally of NATO against Russian interests(Represented by Serbia) in the Balkans…
The Iraq invasion was a war that served ziionist interests. Iraq was a country that had the potential of becoming a regional economic power(and a strong military as a result) due to the strategic position and resources.To keep the hegemony of ziionist interests in the regio, the US military had to do the dirty job. And Iraq was very easy to dismantle, it was a country divided by sectarian lines(sunnis/shias) and etno-nationalist lines(arabs/kurds).