Is-strategy of the scorched earth

Burning oil wells on the Qayyarah oil field. Nasa image from 17. August

Fallujah is isolated with a trench, IS is also resorting to such archaic means and, according to a Pentagon spokesman, intends to "Holle on earth" create in the event of an attack on Mol

In June, Fallujah was captured by Iraqi troops and Shiite militias with the help of airstrikes by the Iraqi army and the U.S.-led alliance. As in the legendary battle of 2004, when the city, just 60 km from Baghdad, was taken as a stronghold of the Islamists, this time it has been crudely destroyed by artillery fire and aerial bombardment, but by IS blasts. For a long time, the remaining residents had been held by IS and trapped by army and militias as in Syria, many living in pitiful conditions and suffering from hunger.

The remaining residents fled as far as they could, others probably joined the departing IS gangs, also for fear of revenge, since many attacks on targets in Baghdad were carried out from Fallujah. The fear was justified, as aid agencies and human rights organizations reported that the refugees were inadequately cared for in the camps, while the men were segregated, imprisoned, and in some cases tortured. In addition, there were reports that many disappeared, possibly victims of mass executions by the Shiite militias (Fallujah: The Short Victory Against IS?).

Is-strategy of the scorched earth

Fallujah after liberation. Image from YouTube video

Only a few days ago, the first residents returned to the city, which has not yet been cleared of mines and booby traps. In August, work had begun to isolate Fallujah with a moat. 11 km long, with only one entrance or exit, which will be strictly monitored. As in 2004, the residents receive biometric ID cards. The trench is not meant to isolate the inhabitants, it is said, but only to prevent IS from infiltrating the city again. Since parts of the Sunni population and also the inhabitants of Fallujah sympathized with the IS, a trench could not help much. Fallujah has already been "huge prison" residents have been ghettoized.

So others became "liberated" areas and cities reported that IS cells were still active there and were carrying out attacks. In mid-September, an IS squad temporarily attacked an oil field east of Kirkuk. They also had heavy weapons with them. Another group tried to re-enter the city of Ramadi, which has remained largely uninhabited because of the gross destruction and lack of reconstruction work. Iraqi security forces were reportedly able to prevent the IS infiltration. But IS fighters are able to exploit the vast desert areas for themselves, counting on sections of the Sunni population who reject the Shiite-dominated central government and are afraid of the Shiite militias or the IS. have had bad experiences with them, and are also said to be in aubenbezirke of "liberated" The Iraqi security forces can only control the centers of the cities, but not the suburbs.

The situation could get worse if the offensive on Mol starts. Not only is there expected to be a gross influx of refugees, but also a setback for the liberation operation, as the National Security Council decided in late July that Shiite militias, the People’s Mobilization Units (PMU), would be involved in the attack. Human Rights Watch warns against participation and points out the numerous human rights violations committed by the militias.

A few days ago, some former Fallujah residents returned to the city after intensive checks. According to media reports, it was a staged media spectacle. Over 500 families were supposed to come, but in reality only 14 families showed up Media reported that local politicians staged themselves in front of the cameras to celebrate the success. The Iraqi army has marked the houses as safe. The handful of returnees moved only to the northern parts of the city, which were little affected by the fighting. The rest of the city has not yet been cleared of booby traps and mines, and the returnees have no electricity or water in their homes. The situation also symbolizes an incident. When the few returnees got off the bus, the soldiers fired at a municipality truck, which they thought was the vehicle of a suicide bomber.

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