They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Friday, September 16, 2005

Iraqis flee as fears mount of more US-led strikes on cities

azzaman: Hundreds of people are fleeing restive cities in the center and western parts of Iraq following the massive U.S.-led attack on Tal Affar which has led to the displacement of tens of thousands.

Many people in Samarra, 120 kilometers north of Baghdad, are reported to be leaving, fearing an imminent U.S.-led assault.

Long queues of cars are forming at military checkpoints waiting for permission to leave the city.

Senior Iraqi officials, including Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, have warned that the attack on Tal Affar is one of a series of forays to subdue anti-U.S. and anti-government groups in other cities.

The attack on Tal Affar, described as the most ferocious after last year's assault on Falluja, has resulted in massive relocation and displacement of nearly 200,000 people.

It is the second U.S. attack on Tal Affar in less than a year.

U.S. troops had moved on Samarra last year but the city is currently under the control of anti-U.S. groups.

The attack on Tal Affar has worsened security conditions in the country. There has been an upsurge in car bomb explosions and attacks in Baghdad which have killed and wounded hundreds of people.

The attack has exacerbated conditions in the nearby Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, where anti-U.S. forces have increased attacks and operations in the past few days.

Officials in the province of Salahuddin, of which Samarra is a major district, have voiced concern over government's plans to use military force to subdue the city.

Salahuddin's deputy Abdulla Jabbara, said the provincial authorities and "the people of Salahuddin categorically reject carrying out an attack on Samarra."

He doubted whether military force, no matter how massive, would ever bring peace to the area.

"Previous attacks by U.S. and Iraqi forces on the city have not led to the imposition of security. On the contrary conditions have worsened."

Residents say Samarra is in "deplorable conditions" with no functioning public services and absence of law and order.

Jabbara said the withdrawal of U.S. and Iraqi forces is the only solution to the plight of Samarra's 200,000 people.

"Security should be left to the people of the city with the formation of a new police force and administrative council," he said. Link