The Iraqi newspaper Azzaman had three articles recently about a security crackdown in Anbar province in western Iraq that proved to be a false alarm. The first article from July 15, reported that a curfew had been imposed on all of the province’s major cities including Ramadi, Fallujah, Haditha, and others. It said the cause was a wave of attacks on tribal leaders that make up parts of the Anbar Awakening movement that is responsible for wrestling control of the area from insurgents and Al Qaeda in Iraq. The second piece from July 17, said troops and police had been sent to Fallujah, and that a major operation might be in the works for the entire province. It said that security forces were worried about a comeback by Al Qaeda.
A cursory review of press reports however, showed no real increase in attacks in the province. Since the beginning of July there have only been approximately twelve attacks in Anbar, including an assassination attempt on the head of the Islamic Party in Fallujah on July 5, and various bombings of local police and Awakening fighters that resulted in 20 civilians, police, Awakening members, and insurgents killed, and 66 wounded. In June there were only about seven attacks that killed 32, including three Marines, and wounded more than 15. Twenty-two of those deaths occurred when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a meeting in Karmah between U.S. Marines, local officials, and tribal leaders of the Awakening movement. The attack happened two days before the U.S. was planning on handing over control of the province to Iraqi authorities. Since then the handover has been delayed. The headquarters of the Islamic Party was also destroyed in a bombing on June 12. Other areas such as Baghdad and Mosul have been much more violent in recent weeks than Anbar, so calls for a major security operation there seemed uncalled for.
On July 20, Azzaman reported that there would be no crackdown because Iraqi forces were busy dealing with operations in southern Iraq.
DPA, “Bomb kills two, wounds 11 in western Iraq,” Eath Times, 7/9/08
Iraq Today blog, “War News for Wednesday, July 09, 2008,” 7/9/08
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al-Mansouri, Omar, “no assault on Falluja, says general,” Azzaman, 7/20/08
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- FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, July 21,” 7/21/08
- “FACTBOX – Security developments in Iraq, July 9,” 7/9/08
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Voices of Iraq, “4 cops killed, wounded in Falluja blast,” 7/13/08
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- “Female suicide attacker wound six near Ramadi,” 6/7/08
- “Gunmen blow up Islamic party’s headquarters in Falluja,” 6/12/08
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Xinhua, “Sunni Arab politician survives bomb attack west of Baghdad,” 7/5/08
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