Fallujah: What's going to happen?

This link should take you to Google news links on Fallujah: http://news.google.com/news?q=fallujah&hl=en&lr=&sa=N&tab=nn&oi=newsr

Now that we have 10,000 US troops and 2,000 Iraqi troops attacking Fallujah, what will be the fate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his insurgency? I have no doubt that US forces will be able to overpower any resistance and recapture the city. The question is: how much resistance will the insurgents offer?

Will al-Zarqawi make his final stand here? I doubt it. Will the insurgents fade into the civilian population or will they head to other towns, or perhaps a little of each? The insurgents will undoubtably lose large stockpiles of weapons and centralized control of the insurgency. Will this be a major blow to the insurgency or will it only weaken them temporarily?

How will Iraqis react to these developments? Will they blame the Americans for the heavy-handed assault or will they blame al-Zarqawi for continuing the violence?

It’s been reported that 200 to 500 Iraqis deserted the Iraqi army. Were they from the original assualt team of 2000? Did they take their weapons with them? Where did they go, home or to join the insurgents?

The Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni party, pulled it’s Cabinet member from the Iraqi government, in protest of the assault. Is this how most Sunnis feel, or is the IIP not representive?

When US troops began amassing around Fallujah this weekend, insurgents carried out many attacks in Baghdad and other cities? Is this last minute flailing by the insurgents or have they been planning for this?

I do not doubt that the vast military might of the US will take Fallujah eventually, and hope that the operation is over quickly and with “acceptable” loss of life.

The problem is not the battle, but the peace. Some 220,000 civilians have left Fallujah, presumably with many insurgents, leaving only a couple of thousand fighters amongst 30,000 civilians. When the masses return, so will those insurgents, to bomb police stations and attempt once again to instil Sharia Law in no-go areas.

I see things like this.

Most likely, the US will clean out the area with relatively few casualties. Over time, the US will withdraw and things will return to the way they were. That is, the insurgency will return there or elsewhere in the country.

Perhaps understandably, the US forces appear to simply be shooting anything that moves.

Did you see how the city is ? Its all shot up and a lot of damage… I wonder what great victory it will be if they don’t get some big bandits…

The big Sunni party has also left the interim govt. it seems… that is not good news.

My predictions:

Many of the insurgents, and certainly most of the leadership have already bolted (or will shortly). The remainder will put up fierce (but futile) resistance towards the center of town…and die heroically. The city will be recaptured and turned back over to the Iraqi’s to be rebuilt. It will suffer fairly extensive damage (and has already suffered such). This won’t end the insurgency or even dampen it in the short term.

The insurgents will go somewhere else to reform and continue attacks, but they will be deprived of a major base of operations so in the long run their efforts will be hurt. Eventually the insurgency will mostly burn out and drop below its current level to more of an occational thing (think whats going on in Israel these days with Palastinian terrorists).

The US will get bad press for attacking and for every civilian killed, even though its pretty clear that they are trying to do this with as little loss of civilian life as possible, and even though the civilians in the city have been told (repeatedly) to either get out or keep their head down. Such losses though are inevitable. Some percentage of Iraqi’s and others in the ME will resent the US retaking Fallujah, even though its necessary and options for negotiations have pretty much been exhausted. Alde will be along shortly to flame me for being insensative and such to the suffering of the poor Iraqi’s, to call the US and especially Bush criminals and murderers, and to generally vent.


Suppose we"win" (succeed in capturing/killing most of the insurgents)-then what? We still have the matter of securing the roads…and every car or truck is a potential suicidebomb. I still say that we should stay long enough to secure the elections, then get out.
Had we done such in 1968 (in Vietnam) we would have saved a lot of lives and treasure.

In Vietnam, there was a good alternative to the shithole government we were supporting, which even offered some stability. This however is different, what the insurgents offer is nothing more than the next Taliban, and we aren’t going to tolerate that.

People forget that we’re fighting an aggressive religious ideology, which will not stop or relent in its attacks unless we take the fight to them, the fight though to win will be long, hard and bloody. This isn’t some mop up, or small scale low intensity conflict, its a world wide struggle, who said it was going to be easy?

With you so far…

Don’t get this bit at all – why will they have lost “major base of operations”? Is the city going to be flattened and depopulated after being taken? Or is the population going to return after some kind of negotiated cease fire, leaving pretty much the same people in the same place (minus those killed in the fighting of course, if the people pulling the strings have any sense they’ll surrender before too many of their best cannon-fodder get killed) who’s going to stop the insurgency re-grouping? The police?

From here

Where are you thinking they’ll be building the wall then? round all of Iraq? Round the government/coalition compounds? Either way building it will be one impressive contact to land.

Just heard on C4 news here that the US has admitted all the leaders of the insurgency have escaped the city - bugger!

They will no longer be able to opperate OPENLY if the city is retaken. I didnt mean to say there will no longer be any insurgents in Fallujah…just that they will no longer have as free a hand as they do now to opperate or stage out of Fallujah to other parts of the country. And yes…I think this will be a major long term set back for them. YMMV.

I didn’t mean it literally. There won’t be a ‘wall’ or a separate Iraqi sub-state. How I meant it was that I expect the level of insurgency to fall to that which we see in Israel…i.e. occational terror type attacks on soft targets like bus’s or mall’s or such. I think the current pace of the insurgency isn’t sustainable in the long run…and certainly not if Iraq actually manages to get a stable government sometime in the next year. So, I think what we’ll see for years to come are the occational terror attacks LIKE what we see in Israel by the Palastinians. This is just MY take on things…again, YMMV.


This is nothing more than an attempt to look like they are doing something. Fallujha is a nice symbol of the resistance. It is something that can be hit and destroyed. We can beam images of US troops using their massive firepower and corodinated attacks and finally looking like they are able to cotrol something in that country.

Some sitting at home may actually think the war is almost over once it “falls”.

Truth is that the insurgency will not suddenly dissapear with the city. It will move regroup and continue.

The leaders may escape and many followers will be killed but they offer something to other would be insurgents: An example. They stood up to the mighty US army and despite the odds stayed and fought to the end.

If they should kill or wound many US troops it will help their cause even more.

Worst scenario is that the troops get caught in a long protracted battle and have heavy losses and are forced to withdraw. That will show they can be defeated. If that happens the US might as well pack it in and go home because the country will never settle.

I pretty much agree with xtisme’s scenario, though the long-term effects will probably be less dramatic against the insurgency. I say this because our record in Iraq hasn’t been one of thoroughness, and if this base of operations is to be severely limited in the long run, then whatever tiny infrastructure there is - e.g. IED workshops, weapons caches - must be destroyed, and the city needs to be put under strict control while we do our total best to repair the damage we’ve caused and beyond.

Also… I respect some of the nobility inherent in civilians staying with their home and even the insurgents keeping their fast for Ramadan - but both acts totally escape me.

My point is: - Who is going to stop them operating as openly? Coalition troops stationed there permanently? That’s a lot of troops – and a lot of targets

More likely some force of local Iraqis supposedly under the control of the “Iraqi government” - well that’s been tried once already and the recruits turned out to mainly be insurgents

I’m not saying it’s impossible – I’m guessing there may be “anti-insurgent” factions about (if their position isn’t fatally damaged by civilian casualties) deals could be struck etc – but given the heavy-handed stupidity which has been a feature of all post-war policy so far, it would be a frikkin’ miracle if it’s done right

Seizing the opportunity to speak too soon…

The most amazing thing appears to be happening in Fallujah: not much. We have blown the living shit out of the place, but no civilian casualties appear to be surfacing. Given our understanding that there are at least 100,000 civilians in Falujah, this makes no damn sense. There is no “precision strikes” available with artillery, blast radii and shrapnel are what they are.

Latest results are that there are something like a dozen US casualties so far. While I cannot be anything but pleased to have US casualties so low, yet its confusing if we are, as advertised, engaged with suicidal fanatics in the several thousands. Ditto with the puzzlingly low figures for insurgent casualties.

Again, the parallels to Viet Nam mount: I remember well. The only sources of information were governmental, and I couldn’t trust what they say. No matter what happens, its a splendid victory, and freedom is on the lurch.

Oh! What a lovely war!

Short term? ‘Coalition’ troops, a.k.a. American’s mostly. Long term would be Iraqi troops which are starting to finish their training cycle (such as it was…more like a crash course) and enter the pipeline. Who do you suppose prevented insurgents operating BEFORE the US invaded after all?

Well, its certainly a possibility, but HOPEFULLY the latest crop (and the future crops) of Iraqi soldiers will be a bit more reliable. After all, the initial troops used were remnants of the old Saddam forces reconstituted. The newer Iraqi military are, in theory at least, new blood drawn from the Iraqi citizens, and trained to quasi-US standards…and in the future, again in theory, trained BY NATO, if we can get them on board to do so. That should instill at least SOME esprit de corps and SOME other good qualities in the troops. Again, theoretically.

Oh, I think anti-insurgency feelings among the people will grow in Iraq…mainly because these insurgents aren’t offering anything more than not-USA…i.e. they have no plan, no ‘great leader’, no unifying message…nuffin. And the attacks they have been using for the last several months have been against mainly soft targets…i.e. civilian targets, or hapless (and generally unarmed) Iraqi National Guardsmen. I doubt they are making many NEW friends among the people these days with such tactics, especially in light of the fact that they aren’t offering anything back in terms of a message or plan if they DO manage to drive out the US.

As to the heavy handed stupidity the US has shown thus far…well, its my hope that we won’t continue to make the same mistakes we’ve made in the past. And frankly, even with all the fuckups I see some hope in Iraq.


Goody! Where?

Disreguarding the Vietnam dig (which I don’t think is applicable in THIS situation):

On the civilian side, I just don’t think the reports are in yet. Remember, they are in the middle of a fire fight there, so most civilians are keeping a low profile…even if wounded. Also, the Iraqi government and the US has been telling the folks still in Fallujah to keep their heads WAY down and ride it out…and I think after almost two years of fighting in Iraq they are taking that advice to heart and staying out of the way.

On the military side as far as the seemingly light resistance goes, I read earlier (no cite atm…can look it up if it seems outrageous to you) that the military believes that a number of insurgents slipped away when it looked like things were going to happen there. In addition, we haven’t appearently gotten to what the military thinks are the most heavily defended parts of the city yet. Finally, as far as our casualties goes, thats been the case since we arrived in Iraq…mostly it has to do with our troops training, but a lot of it has to do with things like body armor, quick evacuation of our wounded and forward deployed medical personnel.

I think its too early to properly evaluate the situation right now, but perhaps we might retake the city with a minimum of death and destruction…wouldn’t that be nice? I’m not holding my breath though.


The first thing American troops did was invade and take control of the hospital, and blockade access to it. The civilian dead and dying have nowhere to go so they can’t be counted yet. As for civilians keeping their heads down … it’s not easy without electricity or running water. I have a feeling that this assault will only bring more sympathy for insurgents and more animosity towards America.

The Americans did take the hospital, but I doubt they’ve blockaded it. Do you have a cite?

My predictions are pretty in line with xtisme. I’ll note though, that I’ve been expecting the insurgency to dwindle into a palestinian like resistance for about a year now. Instead they’ve been growing, and if cable news talking heads are to be belived, getting “more sophisticated”, so I’m starting to think there might be more drive and more popular support for the insurgency then I understand.

On the other hand, you don’t have much wounded civilians left to tell their story if the hospital gets bombed. Which happened. So that problem is already cleaned up nicely.

The hospital you presumably talk about was occupied by the USA and cut off from the population long before this current butchery was launched.

And civilians “told” to leave? Where on earth would you go to, may I ask if you were “told to leave” your home and your city because a foreign occupying army wants to flatten it?
Yes, many people left. Prices of housing are going up everywhere they go to. Many even go as far as crossing the border.
Oh so easy. Just pack your kids and leave everything behind, don’t think about it that they are planning to destroy all your belongings while you are gone, that you shall need to beg for shelter and food where you go, that in fact you have nothing left but what you can take with you.

Oh wait. It is Ramadan. They don’t need food and water, right? They can as soon as it gets dark sit down at some side of some road and wait for the heavenly manna to fall on them and for the heavenly water to drop in their mouts.
Oh wait…That Manna thing is something Christian. Well the US president and his criminal crew are also Christian, so this must certainly work in the advantage of the citizens of Fallujah. After all, the US president is not on a crusade. He surely must tell God, witho whom he claims to have a personal contact, that the Manna thing is now needed to fall on the Falludjans while he is on his Devine Mission to "Root Out Evil.

From what I get there is at the moment no water, no food, no medication and also no hospital left and the invaders (oh sorry, the Heroic Liberators, that is) shoot at “anything that moves” (which is not something new) and drop bombs and other light and innocent materials on houses and mosques (also not something new, so why find it so newsworthy and all of a sudden exeptional?) as if they are , like good Liberators always do in the movies, handing out candies to the children.
Oh well, that these children get burned alive and cut to pices with their brains blown out by these innocent candies is “colateral damage” and in addition to that: brown Muslim one.
So what. They are still liberated, no?

Salaam. A