Fallujah: In The Hands Of Insurgents


The mujahed named Mohammed who detained us is a stocky, handsome man in his early 20s from a well-to-do Fallujah family. He had been studying foreign languages at Baghdad University when the U.S. military toppled Saddam Hussein last year, and he says he initially supported Saddam’s overthrow, but “the Americans should have left Iraq immediately [after the war].” When the Marines invaded last month, Mohammed was one of hundreds of neighborhood men and teenagers (including many former Iraqi soldiers) who answered the call to arms from local mosques. “How would you feel if French soldiers or Arab soldiers invaded your city, and killed your friends, your family?” he asks as he and his brother serve us kebab, pita and tea on the richly carpeted floor of a cousin’s spacious home. “We fought in the streets, in the houses, on the rooftops. Even the Marines’ tanks and helicopters could not stop us. My closest friends died beside me.” He says that his mother and his brother were shot dead by Marine snipers, and he scoffs at the portrayal of insurgents as “terrorists.” Mohammed and his comrades tell us that the prisoner-abuse scandal wasn’t a surprise. “We knew what was going on inside Abu Ghraib all along,” claims one young fighter with a badly burned hand. “You Americans can’t do anything good.”

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