Iraq: October 23, 2004


  The military pressure continues on the anti-government and terrorist sanctuary of Fallujah, and it shows in several ways. The tribal and religious leaders of Fallujah are demanding that the use of smart bombs and ground attacks stop before negotiations resume. But the negotiations have gone nowhere, as the local leadership refuses to take on the Baath Party and al Qaeda gunmen. Many of these Fallujah leaders also have blood on their hands; some of it from the time of Saddam's rule, some of it more recent. In desperation, anti-government thugs kidnapped a well respected aid worker, Margaret Hassan, and threatened to kill her unless the coalition backs off on Fallujah. Margaret Hassan, who is Irish, is married to an Iraqi and has worked in Iraq on aid projects for over three decades. Killing her would cause even more hatred towards the terrorists and anti-government forces. Finally, some of the anti-government organizations in Fallujah are trying to move out. But the city is surrounded. The cordon isn't air tight, but arrests are being made. But there is no place to go that was as "safe" as Fallujah. Every other area in Iraq has more informers, and pro-government groups. But Fallujah is becoming increasingly hostile, there being no shortage of informers willing to provide up-to-date target information for American bombers and artillery.


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