Iraq PM urges people of Fallujah to expel al-Qaida

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s prime minister urged residents and tribes of Fallujah to “expel” al-Qaida militants from the Sunni-dominated city to avoid an all-out battle — remarks that may signal an imminent military move to retake the former insurgent stronghold.

Nouri al-Maliki’s message came as dozens of families fled Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in fear of a major showdown. Iraqi government troops have surrounded the city, which was overrun by al-Qaida fighters last week.  

Al-Maliki did not say how he expects Fallujah residents and pro-government tribesmen to push the militants out. In his message, broadcast over state TV, al-Maliki also urged Iraqi troops to avoid targeting residential areas in the city, which lies in the western Anbar province.

Members of the al-Qaida linked group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which also has gained influence battling government forces in neighboring Syria, also took control of most parts of the provincial capital of Ramadi last week.

Iraqi troops have been trying to dislodge the militants from the two cities. On Sunday, fighting between government forces and militants as well as allied tribesmen in Anbar killed at least 34 people, including 22 soldiers, 10 civilians and an unknown number of militants.

The recent gains by al-Qaida have been a blow to Iraq’s Shiite-led government, as sectarian violence has escalated since the U.S. withdrawal. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that Washington was “very, very concerned” by the fighting but would not send in American troops. The Iranian army’s deputy chief-of-staff, Gen. Mohammad Hejazi, said Monday that Iran was also ready to help Iraq with military equipment and advisers, should Baghdad ask for it. Any Iranian help would exacerbate tensions as Iraqi Sunnis accuse Tehran of backing what they say are their Shiite-led government’s unfair policies against them.

Fallujah residents said clashes continued into early Monday along the main highway that links the capital, Baghdad, to neighboring Syria and Jordan. Al-Qaida fighters and their supporters maintained control of the city center, flooding the streets and surrounding government buildings. Al-Qaida black flags have been seen on government and police vehicles captured by the militants during the clashes.

Sporadic clashes erupted in some parts of Ramadi on Monday, residents there said. All residents in Anbar that talked to The Associated Press spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their own safety.

Dozens of families fled the two cities to nearby towns, crammed in cars loaded with their belongings. Fighters from a pro-government Sunni militia killed six militants in a firefight outside Fallujah on Monday, a police officer said.

Lt. Gen. Rasheed Fleih, who leads the Iraqi army’s Anbar Military Command, told state TV that “two to three days” are needed to push the militants out of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. Also Monday, militants in a speeding car attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint Monday in the mainly Sunni Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib, which is near Anbar, killing two soldiers and wounding four, a police officer and a medical official said. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to media.

Tensions in Anbar have run high since Dec. 28, when Iraqi security forces arrested a Sunni lawmaker sought on terrorism charges. Two days later, the government dismantled a months-old, anti-government Sunni protest camp, sparking clashes with militants.

Iraq’s al-Qaida branch has fed on Sunni discontent and on Syria’s civil war, in which mostly Sunni rebels fight the government of President Bashar Assad whose base is a Shiite offshoot sect. Sectarian violence in Iraq spiked after the government staged a deadly crackdown on a Sunni protest camp last April. Militants have also targeted civilians, particularly in Shiite areas of Baghdad, with waves of coordinated car bombings and other deadly attacks.

According to the United Nations, Iraq had the highest annual death toll in 2013 since the worst of the sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007. The U.N. said violence killed 8,868 last year.

Associated Press writer Ali Akbar Dareini contributed to this report from Tehran, Iran.

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7 thoughts on “Iraq PM urges people of Fallujah to expel al-Qaida

  1. I lost friends over there in Iraq. We went in 2003. We all said the same thing. “As soon as we leave these bastards will destroy each other and everything we are gonna do will be for nothing”
    The country was a shit hole before we went and saddam was a dictator, but he maintained a level of control. What he was doing to his people was none of our business. Now we have lost numerous men and women, maimed numerous others. Over a million Iraqis are dead and maimed. Billions of dollars gone.
    McCain and his POS buddies have rearmed alCIAda in Syria and given them the weapons they need to take Iraq.
    Mark my words, Iraq will be destroyed and Saudi will take the southern portion to allow them a border with Iran. Turkey and Iran and alCIAda will battle for the remaining portion.
    America has successfully destroyed a country and enriched the war machine in the process. I hate to admit that I was even there.

  2. I could be wrong, but wasn’t it the congressman Charlie Wilson that, with the help of the CIA, was the one that got Al-QAIDA started? With the help of the CIA they supported the rebels in Afghanistan with weapons who then became Al-Qaida.

    1. Proxy war to defeat the Russians when they tried to take Afghanistan in the 80s. Same thing the Russians did in Vietnam to us.
      These bastards just love playing games with our lives and the lives of the people of the country that is destroyed in the process.

      a little off topic but, I made some 9mm 147 gr. HP rounds this weekend. I had one stoppage. Other than that, they were accurate and worked well. The brass didn’t eject for one cycle. I was almost at the max for charge. 5.1 gr. is considered a hot load. I put 5.0 gr. I don’t want to go into the red for charge. Could it have been low charge or something else? Any ideas? Thanks brother

  3. Bulldog, do you have my e-mail address? I’m not sure what you mean by “the brass didn’t eject for one cycle”. Get my e-mail from henry and that way we can cover more without boaring everyone.

    1. REDHORSE,
      No I don’t. Henry has mine if you want it.
      What I did was load a mag with ten rounds all new loads 147 gr. HP. I always do when I make a new recipe. I tried to fire all ten non stop. The fifth round fired and the brass got hung on the rebound of the upper half ejected. It looked like the upper didn’t recoil all the way. I fired ten 115 gr. that were store bought after with no problems. It could have been just a typical stoppage, but before I start loading all my 147 grains with that charge I wanted to double check if it was the charge that caused the problem. I have heard that some of Hornady’s tables for 9mm may be too weak to recoil the upper receiver all the way back. The load chart gives me a range of 4.1 to 5.3 gr. for HS-6 powder. I loaded 5.0 gr.
      This is my first batch of 147 gr. 9mm. The weapon is a Smith and Wesson M&P. I almost never get stoppages with it.
      Thanks for any advice or input brother.

  4. Bulldog, I wouldn’t think it would be the charge beings your in the middle of the range for charge amounts. Sometimes it’s the case that is the problem as the extractor doesn’t grab right or it swells more than the others.

    If it’s one in ten you might want to go 5.1 or 5.2 grns to see if it will solve the problem. I use only Clays universal in my handguns and have never had any problems. There is no reason not to load at the top of the scale as this will not cause any harm to the firearm.
    If the problem isn’t the case then it could be the charge isn’t high enough.

  5. I am gonna try that. I will load some at 5.1 some at 5.2. That should also put me at 950 feet per second. I am trying to find the perfect load for these heavy bullets and load a bunch. I had made a big order from Montana Gold of 9mm, 45 and 38 bullets. The cases are all new, so I doubt if that is the problem.
    Thanks for the info brother. I don’t know it all and the folks who have been doing it longer are always an asset. 🙂

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