Skip to comments.Fallujah pullback opportunity, not necessarily agreement to end fight: Abizaid (MUST READ!!!)
Posted on 04/30/2004 9:47:18 AM PDT by Eurotwit
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The withdrawal of marines from Fallujah is "an opportunity, not necessarily an agreement" to end fighting for the city, the commander of US forces in Iraq (news - web sites) said, warning that military action may still be needed to root out foreign fighters.
General John Abizaid said the United States will not tolerate foreign fighters in the city, and will insist on heavy weapons coming off the streets and on freedom of movement for marines and Iraqi security forces.
He said it should be understood that "what we have there is an opportunity, and not necessarily an agreement."
"The opportunity is to build an Iraqi security force from former elements of the army that will work under the command of coalition forces and that will be mentored and work next to coalition forces," he told Pentagon (news - web sites) reporters in a video teleconference from Qatar.
"And I think we must be very careful in thinking that this effort to build an Iraqi capacity will necessarily calm down the situation in Fallujah tonight or over the next several days," he said.
Abizaid said all military options remained "on the table."
"It may still be necessary to conduct very robust military operations in Fallujah. We hope we don't have to do that," he said.
The general, who heads the US Central Command, singled out the need to get rid of foreign fighters -- and in particular Abu Mussab Zarqawi, who he said had used Fallujah as a base of operations.
"This idea that there will be a safe haven for him (Zarqawi) is absolutely unacceptable. Nor will we or our Iraqi partners allow foreign fighters to freely roam the country and attack indiscriminately and use Iraqi civilians as shields from which to conduct military operations," he said.
He said even the best Iraqi forces would be unable to bring Zarqawi's fighters under control.
"So we will have to eliminate that enemy in a way that does not allow that force to challenge us throughout Iraq and other places at other times. No doubt some will infiltrate out, and some will find other means to escape," he said.
Strikingly, Abizaid made no specific mention of former members of the old regime's security apparatus who are believed to be leading the insurgency in the Sunni heartland, including Fallujah.
The omission suggested that commanders hope the new force led by a former Iraqi major general will neutralize Baathist insurgents.
The general said he did not know Major General Jassem Mohamed Saleh, who will lead the Iraq Protection Army, a new Iraqi security force that will take over positions inside the city from the marines.
Iraqis cheered and waved flags as Saleh entered the city Friday, as marines began their withdrawal from the city, pulling down barbed wire defenses from around the soda factory that had served as their headquarters in the city's southern industrial area.
"Yes, there is some room for optimism there," Abizaid said. "But the details of how we will build an Iraqi security capacity there will take some time. We need to have some patience."
"It is a possible breakthrough, but certainly the conditions that must be met are foremost on our minds, and that has to do with the restoring of law and order in Fallujah," he said.
Asked about the fate of those who killed four US contractors in the city March 31, setting off the confrontation, Abizaid said getting them was a "non-negotiable objective."
"Now, I think it would be a stretch for you to say they are in Fallujah. I can't tell you that, nor can anyone else," he added.
Something happened.....and I can't put my finger on it..........this Iraqi General came out of left field to suddenly.....I see wretchard in his blog is a tad confused also.
Oceanview you asked what I thought....I think we have left Special Ops and Special Forces behind in Fallujah.
One city at a time raise hell and get concessions from the superior Americans forces. The Iraqis know the US does not want to go house to house, so they can force the US to the negotiating table one city at a time. Sunnis in their cities, Shiites in their cities each trying to get the upper hand over the other. Meanwhile the US avoids major engagements but must suffer low intensity warfare against our troops.
But the real losers are the terrorists, who will slowly be eliminated from Iraq one city at a time.
Might work out well for us and Iraq over the long haul, if the Iraqis can be trusted to eliminate the terrorists once they are given control over a city. Fallujah will be the test for the Sunnis, Sadar City (Bagdad) for the Shiites, which, my guess is the next test.
I remember reading something about that force training in Jordan.
Let me see what I can dig up..
never, but it mught be worth some B52's or lots of heavy artillery.
I saw a report that we might allow a force of Iraqis to patrol Najaf so we don't have to.....see a pattern? We are putting the Iraqis out front.
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