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Fallujah

Fallujah

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For other meanings see Fallujah (disambiguation)
Fallujah (disambiguation)
Fallujah can refer to:-*Fallujah, a city in Iraq,*Fallujah , in Iraq,*al-Faluja, a former Palestinian town now in Israel,*Fallujah, an Atmospheric Death Metal band-See also:*Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre...

.


Fallujah is a city in the Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

 of Al Anbar, located roughly 69 kilometres (42.9 mi) west of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 on the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

. Fallujah dates from Babylonian times and was host to important Jewish academies for many centuries.

The city grew from a small town in 1947 to a population of 326,471 inhabitants in 2010. Within Iraq, it is known as the "city of mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

s" for the more than 200 mosques found in the city and surrounding villages.

History


The region has been inhabited for many millennia. There is evidence that the area surrounding Fallujah was inhabited in Babylonian times. The current name of the city is thought to come from its Syriac name, Pallgutha, which is derived from the word division or "canal regulator" since it was the location where the water of the Euphrates River divided into a canal. Classical authors cited the name as "Pallacottas". The name in Aramaic is Pumbedita
Pumbedita
Pumbedita was the name of a city in ancient Babylonia close to the modern-day city of Fallujah....

."

Al Anbar / Nehardea



The region of Fallujah was a part of the Sassanid Persian province of Anbar. The word anbar is Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and means "warehouse". Known as Firuz Shapur or Perisapora during the Sassanian Era, it was one the main commercial center of the Lakhmid Kingdom. One mile north of Fallujah lie extensive ruins which are identified with the town of Anbar. Anbar was located at the confluence of the Euphrates River with the King's Canal, today the Saqlawiyah Canal
Saqlawiyah
Aş Şaqlāwīyah is a city in Al Anbar Province, in central Iraq. It is located roughly 5 miles northwest of the city of Fallujah.Saqlawiyah is a rural city in between Habbaniyah and Fallujah that sits on the major freeway. Due to the canal network that runs through the area, agriculture is an...

, known in Early Islamic times as the Nahr 'Isa and in ancient times as Nahr Malka. Subsequent shifts in the Euphrates River channel have caused it to follow the course of the ancient Pallacottas canal. The town at this site in Jewish sources was known as Nehardea
Nehardea
Nehardea or Nehardeah was a city of Babylonia, situated at or near the junction of the Euphrates with the Nahr Malka , one of the earliest centers of Babylonian Judaism. As the seat of the exilarch it traced its origin back to King Jehoiachin...

 and was the primary center of Babylonian Jewry until its destruction by the Palmyra
Palmyra
Palmyra was an ancient city in Syria. In the age of antiquity, it was an important city of central Syria, located in an oasis 215 km northeast of Damascus and 180 km southwest of the Euphrates at Deir ez-Zor. It had long been a vital caravan city for travellers crossing the Syrian desert...

n ruler Odenathus in 259. The Medieval Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela was a medieval Jewish traveler who visited Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 12th century. His vivid descriptions of western Asia preceded those of Marco Polo by a hundred years...

 in 1164 visited "el-Anbar which is Pumbeditha in Nehardea
Nehardea
Nehardea or Nehardeah was a city of Babylonia, situated at or near the junction of the Euphrates with the Nahr Malka , one of the earliest centers of Babylonian Judaism. As the seat of the exilarch it traced its origin back to King Jehoiachin...

" and said it had 3000 Jews living there.

Pumbeditha



The region played host for several centuries to one of the most important Jewish academies, the Pumbedita Academy, which from 258 to 1038 along with Sura
Sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

 (ar-Hira) was one of the two most important centers of Jewish learning worldwide.

Modern Era


Under the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, Fallujah was a minor stop on one of the country's main roads across the desert west from Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

.

In the spring of 1920, the British, who had gained control of Iraq after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, sent Lieut.-Colonel Gerard Leachman
Gerard Leachman
Brevet Lieut.-Colonel Gerard Evelyn Leachman CIE DSO , was a British soldier and intelligence officer who travelled extensively in Arabia.Leachman was commissioned into the Royal Sussex Regiment and served in India and in the Boer War...

, a renowned explorer and a senior colonial officer, to meet with local leader Shaykh Dhari, perhaps to waiver a loan given to the sheikh. Exactly what happened depends on the source, but according to the Arab version, Gerard Leachman
Gerard Leachman
Brevet Lieut.-Colonel Gerard Evelyn Leachman CIE DSO , was a British soldier and intelligence officer who travelled extensively in Arabia.Leachman was commissioned into the Royal Sussex Regiment and served in India and in the Boer War...

 was betrayed by the sheikh who had his two sons shoot him in the legs, then behead him by the sword.

During the brief Anglo-Iraqi War
Anglo-Iraqi War
The Anglo-Iraqi War was the name of the British campaign against the rebel government of Rashid Ali in the Kingdom of Iraq during the Second World War. The war lasted from 2 May to 31 May 1941. The campaign resulted in the re-occupation of Iraq by British armed forces and the return to power of the...

 of 1941, the Iraqi army was defeated by the British in a battle near Fallujah. In 1947 the town had only about 10,000 inhabitants. It grew rapidly into a city after Iraqi independence with the influx of oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 wealth into the country. Its position on one of the main roads out of Baghdad made it of central importance.

Under Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

, who ruled Iraq from 1979 to 2003, Fallujah came to be an important area of support for the regime, along with the rest of the region labeled by the US military as the "Sunni Triangle". Many residents of the primarily Sunni city were employees and supporters of Saddam's government, and many senior Ba'ath Party officials were natives of the city. Fallujah was heavily industrialised during the Saddam era, with the construction of several large factories, including one closed down by United Nations Special Commission
United Nations Special Commission
United Nations Special Commission was an inspection regime created by the United Nations to ensure Iraq's compliance with policies concerning Iraqi production and use of weapons of mass destruction after the Gulf War...

 (UNSCOM) in the 1990s that may have been used to create chemical weapons. A new highway system (a part of Saddam's infrastructure initiatives) circumvented Fallujah and gradually caused the city to decline in national importance by the time of the Iraq War.

Gulf War, 1991


During the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, Fallujah suffered one of the highest tolls of civilian casualties. Two separate failed bombing attempts on Fallujah's bridge across the Euphrates River hit crowded markets, killing an estimated 200 civilians.

The first bombing occurred early in the Gulf War. A British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 jet intending to bomb the bridge dropped two laser-guided bombs on the city's main market. Between 50 and 150 civilians died and many more were injured. In the second incident, Coalition forces attacked Fallujah's bridge over the Euphrates with four laser-guided bombs. At least one struck the bridge while one or two bombs fell short in the river. The fourth bomb hit another market elsewhere in the city, reportedly due to failure of its laser guidance system.

Iraq War, 2003




Fallujah was one of the least affected areas of Iraq immediately after the 2003 invasion by the US-led Coalition. Iraqi Army units stationed in the area abandoned their positions and disappeared into the local population, leaving unsecured military equipment behind. Fallujah was also the site of a Ba'athist resort facility called 'Dreamland', located only a few kilometers outside the city proper.

The damage the city had avoided during the initial invasion was negated by damage from looters, who took advantage of the collapse of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

's regime. The looters targeted former government sites, the Dreamland compound, and the nearby military bases. Aggravating this situation was the proximity of Fallujah to the infamous Abu Ghraib
Abu Ghraib
The city of Abu Ghraib in the Baghdad Governorate of Iraq is located just west of Baghdad's city center, or northwest of Baghdad International Airport. It has a population of 189,000. The old road to Jordan passes through Abu Ghraib...

 prison, from which Saddam, in one of his last acts, had released all prisoners.

The new mayor of the city—Taha Bidaywi Hamed
Taha Bidaywi Hamed
Taha Bidaywi Hamed is an Iraqi politician. He was elected by local tribal leaders to lead the town council of Fallujah on April 30, 2003. The position had been vacant after the previous administrators - loyal to Saddam Hussein's regime - fled to avoid being caught up in the 2003 invasion of...

, selected by local tribal leaders—was strongly pro-American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. When the US Army entered the town in April 2003, they positioned themselves at the vacated Ba'ath Party headquarters. A Fallujah Protection Force composed of local Iraqis was set up by the US-led occupants to help fight the rising resistance.

On the evening of April 28, 2003, a crowd of 200 people defied a curfew imposed by the Americans and gathered outside a secondary school used as a military HQ to demand its reopening. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne stationed on the roof of the building fired upon the crowd, resulting in the deaths of 17 civilians and the wounding of over 70. The events leading up to the event are disputed. American forces claim they were responding to gunfire from the crowd, while the Iraqis involved deny this version, although conceding rocks were thrown at the troops. A protest against the killings two days later was also fired upon by US troops resulting in two more deaths.

On March 31, 2004, Iraqi insurgents
Iraqi insurgency
The Iraqi Resistance is composed of a diverse mix of militias, foreign fighters, all-Iraqi units or mixtures opposing the United States-led multinational force in Iraq and the post-2003 Iraqi government...

 in Fallujah ambushed a convoy
31 March 2004 Fallujah ambush
On March 31, 2004 an ambush saw Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah attack a convoy containing four United States contractors from the private security company Blackwater USA, who were conducting delivery for food caterers ESS....

 containing four American private military contractors from Blackwater USA
Blackwater USA
Xe Services LLC, better known by its former names, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide, is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark.. Xe is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department's three private security contractors...

, who were conducting delivery for food caterers ESS
Eurest Support Services
Eurest Support Services is a subsidiary of the catering company, Compass Group PLC specializing in harsh-environment large-scale food service and facilities management...

.

The four armed contractors, Scott Helvenston
Scott Helvenston
Stephen "Scott" Helvenston was a former United States Navy SEAL, and worked as a security contractor for Blackwater Security when he was killed in the 31 March 2004 Fallujah ambush within days of arriving in Iraq....

, Jerry (Jerko) Zovko, Wesley Batalona, and Michael Teague, were dragged from their cars, beaten, and set on fire. Their charred corpses were then dragged through the streets before being hung from a bridge
Bridge
A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle...

 spanning the Euphrates River. This bridge is unofficially referred to as "Blackwater Bridge" by Coalition Forces operating there. Photographs of the event were released to news agencies
News agency
A news agency is an organization of journalists established to supply news reports to news organizations: newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters. Such an agency may also be referred to as a wire service, newswire or news service.-History:The oldest news agency is Agence...

 worldwide, causing outrage in the United States, and prompting the announcement of a campaign to reestablish American control over the city.

This led to an abortive US operation to recapture control of the city in Operation Vigilant Resolve
Operation Vigilant Resolve
As part of the occupation of Iraq, the First Battle of Fallujah, codenamed Operation Vigilant Resolve, was an unsuccessful attempt by the United States Military to capture the city of Fallujah in April 2004....

, and a successful recapture operation in the city in November 2004, called Operation Phantom Fury
Operation Phantom Fury
The Second Battle of Fallujah was a joint U.S., Iraqi, and British offensive in November and December 2004, considered the highest point of conflict in Fallujah during the Iraq War. It was led by the U.S...

 in English and Operation Al Fajr in Arabic. Operation Phantom Fury resulted in the reputed death of over 1,350 insurgent fighters. Approximately 95 American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 troops were killed, and 560 wounded. After the successful recapture of the city, U.S. forces discovered beheading chambers and bomb-making factories, which were shown to the media as evidence of Fallujah's important role in the insurgency against U.S. forces. They also found two hostages—an Iraqi and a Syrian. The Syrian was the driver for two French journalists, Christian Chesnot
Christian Chesnot
Christian Chesnot is a French journalist working for Radio France who, along with Georges Malbrunot and Muhammed al-Jundi , was taken hostage on August 20, 2004, by the Islamic Army in Iraq. This group gave the French government a 48-hour deadline to repeal its law on secularity and conspicuous...

 and Georges Malbrunot
Georges Malbrunot
George Malbrunot is a French journalist working for Le Figaro who, along with Christian Chesnot and their Syrian driver Muhammed al-Jundi, was taken hostage on August 20, 2004, by the Islamic Army in Iraq. This group gave the French government a 48-hour deadline to repeal its law against girls...

, who had been missing since August, 2004. The Iraqi's captors were Syrian; he thought he was in Syria until found by the Marines. Chesnot and Malbrunot were released by their captors, the Islamic Army in Iraq
Islamic Army in Iraq
The Islamic Army in Iraq is one of a number of underground Baathist and Islamist militant organizations formed in Iraq following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by United States and coalition military forces, and the subsequent collapse of the Baathist government headed by Saddam Hussein.Although it...

, on December 21, 2004.

The U.S. military first denied that it has used white phosphorus
White phosphorus (weapon)
White phosphorus is a material made from a common allotrope of the chemical element phosphorus that is used in smoke, tracer, illumination and incendiary munitions. Other common names include WP, and the slang term "Willie Pete," which is dated from its use in Vietnam, and is still sometimes used...

 as an anti-personnel weapon in Fallujah, but later retracted that denial, and admitted to using the incendiary in the city as an offensive weapon. Reports following the events of November 2004 have alleged war crimes, human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 abuses, and a massacre by U.S. personnel, including indiscriminate violence against civilians and children. This point of view is presented in the 2005 documentary film, Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre
Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre
-War crimes:The primary theme of the film is its assertion of a case for war crimes committed by the United States in its military offensive against Fallujah in Iraq...

. In 2010, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a leading medical journal, published a study which shows that the rates of cancer, infant mortality and leukaemia exceed those reported in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

.

On 17 May 2011, AFP reported that 21 bodies, in black body-bags marked with letters and numbers in Roman script had been recovered from a mass grave in al-Maadhidi cemetery in the center of the city. Fallujah police chief Brigadier General Mahmud al-Essawi said that they had been blindfolded, their legs had been tied and they had suffered gunshot wounds. The Mayor, Adnan Husseini said that the manner of their killing, as well as the body bags, indicated that US forces had been responsible. Both al-Essawi and Husseini agreed that the dead had been killed in 2004. The US Military declined to comment.

Current situation



Residents were allowed to return to the city in mid-December 2004 after undergoing biometric identification, provided they wear their ID cards all the time. US officials report that "more than half of Fallujah's 39,000 homes were damaged during Operation Phantom Fury
Operation Phantom Fury
The Second Battle of Fallujah was a joint U.S., Iraqi, and British offensive in November and December 2004, considered the highest point of conflict in Fallujah during the Iraq War. It was led by the U.S...

, and about 10,000 of those were destroyed" while compensation amounts to 20 percent of the value of damaged houses, with an estimated 32,000 homeowners eligible, according to Marine Lt Col William Brown. According to NBC, 9,000 homes were destroyed, thousands more were damaged and of the 32,000 compensation claims only 2,500 have been paid as of April 14, 2005.

According to Mike Marqusee of Iraq Occupation Focus writing in the Guardian, "Fallujah's compensation commissioner has reported that 36,000 of the city's 50,000 homes were destroyed, along with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines". Reconstruction mainly consists of clearing rubble from heavily-damaged areas and reestablishing basic utility services. Ten per cent of the pre-offensive inhabitants had returned as of mid-January 2005, and 30% as of the end of March 2005. In 2006, some reports say two thirds have now returned and only 15 percent remain displaced on the outskirts of the city.

Pre-offensive inhabitant figures are unreliable; the nominal population was assumed to have been 250,000-350,000. Thus, over 150,000 individuals are still living as IDP
Internally displaced person
An internally displaced person is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country's borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they do not fall within the current legal definition of a refugee. At the end of 2006 it was estimated there were...

s in tent cities or with relatives outside Fallujah or elsewhere in Iraq. Current estimates by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and Coalition Forces put the city's population at over 350,000, possibly closing in on half a million.

In the aftermath of the offensive, relative calm was restored to Fallujah.

In December 2006, enough control had been exerted over the city to transfer operational control of the city from American forces to the 1st Iraqi Army Division. During the same month, the Fallujah police force began major offensive operations under their new chief. Coalition Forces, as of May 2007, are operating in direct support of the Iraqi Security Forces in the city. The city is one of Anbar province's centers of gravity in a newfound optimism among American and Iraqi leadership about the state of the counterinsurgency in the region.

In June 2007, Regimental Combat Team 6 began Operation Alljah
Operation Alljah
Operation Alljah was an operation launched by Coalition forces in Iraq, mainly U.S. Marines, in June 2007 to secure the neighborhoods of Fallujah. The strategy of the operation was somewhat based on a successful operation in Ramadi conducted in 2006...

, a security plan modeled on a successful operation in Ramadi
Ramadi
Ramadi is a city in central Iraq, about west of Baghdad. It is the capital of Al Anbar Governorate.-History:Ramadi is located in a fertile, irrigated, alluvial plain.The Ottoman Empire founded Ramadi in 1869...

. After segmenting districts of the city, Iraqi Police and Coalition Forces established police district headquarters in order to further localize the law enforcement capabilities of the Iraqi Police. A similar program had met with success in the city of Ramadi in late 2006 and early 2007 (See Battle of Ramadi (2006)
Battle of Ramadi (2006)
The Battle of Ramadi was a battle fought during the Iraq War from June 2006 to November 2006 for control of the capital of the Al Anbar Governorate in western Iraq. A combined force of U.S. Soldiers, U.S. Marines, U.S...

).

In 2010 it was reported that an academic study had shown "a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s." since 2004. In addition, the report said the types of cancer were "similar to that in the Hiroshima survivors who were exposed to ionising radiation from the bomb and uranium in the fallout", and an 18% fall in the male birth ratio (to 850 per 1000 female births, compared to the usual 1050) was similar to that seen after the Hiroshima bombing.

See also


  • Fallujah Barrage
    Fallujah Barrage
    The Fallujah Barrage is a barrage on the Euphrates near Fallujah in Al Anbar Governorate, Iraq. Construction of the barrage was completed in 1985. Unlike many other dams in the Euphrates, the Fallujah Barrage does not include a hydroelectric power station and its main function is to raise the water...

  • First Battle of Fallujah
  • List of places in Iraq
  • Operation Market Sweep
    Operation Market Sweep
    During the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, or Iraq War, Operation Market Sweep was a successful raid into the downtown Fallujah arms market by troops from the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division on January 13, 2004....

  • Second Battle of Fallujah


Historical:
  • Anbar (town)
  • Nehardea
    Nehardea
    Nehardea or Nehardeah was a city of Babylonia, situated at or near the junction of the Euphrates with the Nahr Malka , one of the earliest centers of Babylonian Judaism. As the seat of the exilarch it traced its origin back to King Jehoiachin...

  • Pumbeditha


External links