The blasts of mortars exploding in the so-called “Green Zone” are thumping out my window as I type tonight. The blades of military helicopters chop the air as they circle above the area looking for, well, looking for something.
“I know what they are doing to us-they are putting is in a big jail. First they close the borders with Syria and now Jordan, so we are trapped in Iraq,” says Salam. “Now they put a curfew on Baghdad. This is the first. The second is that the highway bridge connecting us to the west of Baghdad is bombed. Another bridge that leads to the south (Kerbala, Hilla, Najaf) was bombed. And now the other highway south to Amara, Nasiriya and Basra is blocked.”
“So all they have left to close is the highway to Diala…when that last one is closed, we are locked in to Baghdad,” explains Salam, his face stoic but concerned, “We are in. This is our life here man.”
Iraqi Secretary of Defense, Hassim al-Sha’alan, today announced to al-Arabia television that the resistance is organized and they have already prepared to fight in other places. So the fighting in Falluja will not end when the Americans take the city. The fighting will begin in other places like Baghdad, Baquba, Latifiya, Ramadi, Samarra, Khaldiya, Kirkuk and elsewhere.
Thus, the word on the street that the resistance was mostly out of Falluja prior to this battle is verified by the Iraqi Minister of Defense himself. The fire had begun to spread long before the current onslaught of Falluja.
Salam has a friend who just came from Baquba and said that the resistance came to the police station and told them to leave because they would be bombing the station. This policemen who left said he watched the resistance bomb the station. At least 25 policemen have been killed there, between two stations that were bombed.
In Kirkuk, the retaliatory strikes by the resistance for what is happening in Falluja have commenced as well. A suicide bomber detonated his car at a base for Iraqi National Guard, killing at least 1 national guard member and 2 civilians.
Of course the random gun battles and retaliation is ongoing in Baghdad. The so-called “Green Zone” continues to take mortars. This has been going on sporadically throughout the day, but is consistent now…the whumping explosions are incessant, even with choppers circling about overhead.
Also today, two churches in Al-Dora were destroyed by car bombs which detonated 5 minutes apart. When the injured and dead were taken from the scenes to Yarmouk Hospital, the hospital was car bombed. At least 8 people died it the hospital car bombing.
“We are looking at this just as numbers,” says Salam with a deep breath, “But this is 8 families. This is 8 families that are suffering now.”
5 policemen were killed in Al-Dora as well-not by car bomb, but by fighting with the resistance.
The growing fire of resistance has spread into the political realm in Iraq as well. The Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) has called upon people not to vote in the upcoming election.
Dr. Harith al-Dhari, the secretary-general of the AMS, openly supports the Iraqi resistance to the occupation and has from the beginning. “We have said we support the resistance since the occupation of this country began,” he said today, “This is our right as Iraqis. Therefore, we don’t need a fatwa on this issue as this matter is clear.”
Also today, a major Sunni political party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, has withdrawn from the Iraqi Interim Government. “We are protesting the attack on Falluja and the injustice that is inflicted on the innocent people of the city,” said Abd al-Hamid, “We cannot be part of this attack.”
Abu Talat called and told me of the curfew now in Baghdad. We have to be off the streets by 9:30 pm or we will be shot on sight.
“You know Dahr, I used to stay out until 3am. Now this is our life,” says Abu Talat. He is enraged. “This is some kind of freedom. Thank you, George Bush. This is our life.”
Everyone is nervous on the streets in Baghdad tonight. Every car left unattended is suspected as a car bomb.
Another man I met with today, Haythem, expressed his feelings about the occupation, Falluja, and the martial law.
“Iraq is pregnant with an American fetus,” he pauses for emphasis and says, “And we need birth control pills.” He sits for a moment, and after making a toast with a soft drink adds, “Long life to Falluja.”
Dahr Jamail is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. He has spent a total of 5 months in occupied Iraq, and has now returned to continue reporting on the occupation. One of only a few independent reporters in Iraq, Dahr will be using the DahrJamailIraq.com website and mailing list to disseminate his dispatches and will continue as special correspondent for Flashpoints Radio.