Fallujah is one of multiple cities in Iraq that proved to be bloody, cruel battlegrounds for US soldiers looking to secure the area from militants back in 2004. The fighting that took place in Fallujah was some of the most intense since Vietnam, but barely ten years after US Marines were able to secure the city from militants, an unfortunate tragedy has befallen the city in the form of Al Qaeda militants overtaking the city once more.
Al Qaeda militants seized various key cities in Iraq over the weekend, and Fallujah was among them. The return of civil conflict in Iraq, which this takeover is only the latest example of, has spawned a debate in the US government about who is to blame for the resurgence, which comes in the face of the US withdrawal from combat in the area. Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain (of South Carolina and Arizona, respectfully) were quick to blame president Barack Obama, saying in a statement, "When President Obama withdrew all US forces [from Iraq] … many of us predicted that the vacuum would be filled by America’s enemies and would emerge as a threat to US national security interests. Sadly, that reality is now clearer than ever."
What these two senators were reluctant to mention, however, was the fact that the Obama administration has been in full support of the continuous multi-billion-dollar arms packages being purchased by Iraq. The Iraqi government, headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, justifies these purchases by saying that the weapons are used to fight against militants like those that overtook Fallujah, and many conservative US representatives have agreed with this train of thought. However, the reluctance present in other parts of congress stem from fears that Prime Minister al-Maliki might use those weapons to subdue the Sunni community that is abundant in the area.
Regardless of who is to blame for the fall of Fallujah, the effects of the fall are beginning to take a clear hold, both in Iraq and abroad. Violence coming from the militants is an immediate concern to civilians in the area, and the fall of a key city that was so heavily fought for comes as a heavy blow to many US veterans.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.