Iraqis Burn American Flags in Fallujah to Celebrate U.S. Pullout
Residents of a city ravaged by the eight-year invasion and occupation of Iraq burned American and Israeli flags and displayed images of Iraqi freedom fighters and the U.S. troops they killed as part of a celebration marking the withdrawal of occupying forces from their country.
According to Agence France-Presse, the demonstration was held Wednesday in Al-Khadra Mohammediyah Square in central Fallujah. Hundreds of jubilant residents burned U.S. and Israeli flags, chanting anti-occupation slogans throughout the event. Banners reading “NOW WE ARE FREE” and “FALLUJAH IS THE FLAME OF RESISTANCE” were on display, as were posters showing the faces of Iraqi resistance fighters and the U.S. troops killed by them.
The festivities were called the first annual “festival to celebrate the role of the resistance.”
“We are proud to have driven the occupier out of Iraq, at the cost of enormous sacrifice,” Khalid al-Alwa, the local leader of the Islamic Party, a Sunni group, told AFP. “Those who destroyed Iraq paid the price because the people here held them accountable.”
Displaying images of dead American troops may seem barbaric to those who don’t know what the U.S. invaders did to this city of about half a million residents. Fallujah is situated within the so-called Sunni Triangle, an area of fierce resistance to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation. After four American mercenaries working for the company then known as Blackwater USA were ambushed and killed in Fallujah in March 2004, their bodies mutilated and hung from a bridge, U.S. forces launched Operation Vigilant Resolve in an attempt to pacify the city. Several hundred innocent civilians were slaughtered along with a similar number of resistance fighters, with U.S. troops blocking access to hospitals and firing on ambulances.
Vigilant Resolve was a complete failure and U.S. forces attacked the city again in November. This time they called it Operation Phantom Fury. Again, atrocities were committed by the Americans during the fierce urban battle, including the murder of unarmed and wounded prisoners of war and intentional sniper killings of women, children and the elderly. Hundreds more innocent civilians died.
Some 200,000 Iraqis were displaced by the U.S. assaults on Fallujah, and the city was in ruins. To make matters worse, the city experienced a huge rise in the number of birth defects following the attacks, a horrific phenomenon many experts believe is a result of the use of depleted uranium munitions by U.S. forces.
You can understand why the residents of Fallujah were burning American flags today. If not, click on the link about birth defects in the paragraph above. You’ll get it.
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