Ex-Saddam general drives into city as marines begin withdrawal


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Hundreds of families try to get back to Falluja as 1,100-strong Iraqi security force takes over

Rory McCarthy at the Falluja East checkpoint
Saturday May 1, 2004
The Guardian

A former general in Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard yesterday moved into the besieged Iraqi city of Falluja, declaring that its people had rejected the American army.
Jasim Mohammed Saleh was driven into Falluja, dressed in his military uniform, after being entrusted by the US-led coalition with the job of bringing peace and security to a city that has been under attack by American marines for four weeks.
His arrival coincided with the beginning of a withdrawal of marines under a newly negotiated agreement to end the fighting in Falluja that has continued despite attempts to arrange a ceasefire.
Under the deal, Gen Saleh will command 1,100 former Iraqi soldiers in a new security force which is charged with bringing law and order to the city. The Iraqi officer was head of Saddam's 38th Infantry Division and had earlier served in the Republican Guards. He was born in a village close to Falluja.
"We have now begun forming a new emergency military force to help the forces of the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps and the Iraqi police in completing the mission of imposing security and stability in Falluja," Gen Saleh said yesterday. The new force meant that security could be brought "without the need for the American army, which the people of Falluja reject".
As the handover began, hundreds of families queued before a line of coiled barbed wire at a checkpoint east of the city, trying in vain to return to their homes. US military police officers, who have been manning the checkpoint for several days, kept the road closed, but began to hand over to troops from the civil defence corps, a countrywide paramilitary security force.
US military trucks removed four large concrete blocks from the checkpoint and took down other sandbag positions.
"We pulled out all our stuff. It is all out of here," said one of the military police soldiers on duty. "It looks like a good sign that we are going to try and let the Iraqis do more of their own policing here."
Iraqi policemen and members of the civil defence corps who fled when the fighting began early last month were also queuing at an American military base outside the city yesterday to return to their jobs.
However the handover agreement is still tentative and there appears to be little sign that the Americans are close to finding the men responsible for killing and mutilating four American contractors at the end of March. It was their deaths that triggered the US attack on Falluja.
Yesterday General John Abizaid, head of US Central Command which covers Iraq, was still cautious about the deal. "What we have there is an opportunity, and not necessarily an agreement," he said.
Encouraged by news of the agreement, many families who had fled the fighting drove back to Falluja, hoping to be allowed to return to their homes. But they were quickly frustrated.
Aus Adil al-Kubaisi, 32, a trader who was waiting with his truck, said he had taken his family out of Falluja after the first week of fighting. They spent 12 hours travelling across back-country roads to get away.
"I think most people from Falluja accept this new agreement, but on the American side we don't know," he said. "The people who have been fighting in Falluja are courageous people. They are lions fighting unbelievers."
In the back of his truck he carried two women, wrapped in black, and their three children, who had all been walking on the road towards Falluja.
Sabiha Mubarak Diwan said she was returning because three of her sons were still living in their house near the industrial area on the east of Falluja. "My home is here, my work is here. I have to get back into Falluja," she said.
Despite a much-violated ceasefire that is supposed to have been in place for the past three weeks, there have been repeated confrontations in and around the city between the insurgents and American marines. Doctors say at least 600 Iraqis have died. Many of the injured are still being treated.
A few hundred yards back from the checkpoint yesterday, at a Jordanian-run mobile hospital, several children were recovering from a US air strike on houses in the village of Naimiya, on the southern outskirts of Falluja, last Saturday night.
"We were sleeping and at 1am we heard three bullets and we tried to get the children to come inside the room and then we saw a big flame inside the house," said Alia Ahmed, 16. "We ran into a room and we saw it was falling down on us. Then we ran into the bathroom and it started to fall down on us."
She suffered serious injuries to her feet and doctors had to amputate her left foot.
Another child, Amar Abid Jasim, 16, also suffered serious leg injuries in the same bombing. He was carried out of the building by a cousin, but as they left another rocket landed close by. "My cousin fell down dead," said Amar. "I have no idea why the bombing started. We were just sleeping."

barbed wire – drut kolczasty
Besieged – oblężony
Ceasefire – zawieszenie broni
Checkpoint – punkt kontrolny
coil – zwój
To coincide – zbiegać się
To command - dowodzić
concrete – betonowy
courageous – odważny
To be entrusted with – powierzyć coś komuś
Fled – pp. od flee - uciekać
Handover – przejęcie
Impose – narzucać
Infantry – piechota
injuries – obrażenia
insurgent – powstaniec
in vain – na próżno
to man – obsadzać
to mutilate – okaleczać
on duty – na służbie
outskirts - peryferie
To queue – ustawiać się w kolejce
To reject – odrzucić
tentative – wstepny
to trigger – powodować, wywoływać


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