Defeat of ISIS terrorists in Fallujah means its defeat across world: Iraqi analyst

Alwaght- In time with arrival of the zero hour and with launch of the anti-terror operation by the Iraqi military forces to cleanse Fallujah in Al Anbar province of the ISIS’ terrorists, the speculations has begun, and the regional and international powers have spared no efforts to get a share in Fallujah liberation process even through taking stances as everybody is making sure that the Iraqi forces are making progress in the battlefield and the terrorists’ defense lines are breaking up one after another quickly. All this share seeking is actually an investment by the countries for the future to save face through purporting to be part of anti-terror global coalition. The Alwaght has interviewed the Iraqi author and analyst Fadel abu Raqif to bring in spotlight all the developments of the Battle of Fallujah.        

Alwaght: What is the strategic significance of Fallujah battle?

Fadel: The battle of Fallujah is of several significant points and not just one. First, some wrongly assert that Iraq would be the single beneficiary of obliteration of ISIS terrorist group in Fallujah. With cleansing of Fallujah of the terrorists the world as a whole would feel comfortable because the city is seen as the military stronghold of the terrorist group in Iraq, as it is also the largest storehouse of the ISIS’ suiciders. There are commanders and militants and between 1800 and 2400 mercenary fighters from the Arab and foreign countries. Perhaps all of them are professional suiciders and also simple suiciders who got disappointed of staying alive, so, they assembled in Fallujah, and now there are highly fierce fight under way to destroy them.

Concerning the geographic aspect and its significance, the city is taking place in west of Baghdad, some 60 kilometers away from the capital. This location is not the only geographic significance of the battle as the battle would secure supply lines and transportation to western parts of Al Anbar, not to mention that the city sends to Baghdad many of explosive trucks and suiciders due to its proximity to the capital. Fallujah also is located on the international highway crossing the Qarabil, Al-Ratbah, and Al-Kilomiah districts to Baghdad. The areas holding by ISIS presents an interruption of the economy and trade and thus a distress to the Iraqi economy. Furthermore, should ISIS is defeated in Fallujah, it would observe its defeat across Iraq, starting from Al-Qaem border area to Mosul in north.

Alwaght: Some have talked about an American hesitation before start of operation in Fallujah because Washington sees it not a priority. How Iraq could leave behind the US idea and decide to launch the Fallujah Battle?

Fadel: The US opinion does not match 100 percent with that of the Iraqi military leaders, including the commanders of the Joint Chief of Staff of Iraq. So, the decision was not made now, rather, it was made almost three weeks ago. The special Iraqi forces, backed by Sunni tribal forces from Al-Ameryah in south Fallujah, have begun cleansing three districts which soon led to cleansing of Al-Salam Intersection. The new preparations began from there, and three days ago the Iraqi forces started the operation to cleanse the city. From now on, Fallujah in not a safe haven for the ISIS terrorists.

Alwaght: The reports talks about ISIS using the people as human shields. How the Iraqi forces would deal with such a difficulty?

Fadel: The Iraqi military intelligence holds a data center which asserts that ISIS has detained some civilians and abducted some others and forced them to stay at the city. But over 40,000 abductees were provided with safe residences by the Iraqi Joint Operation Commands. The military has made available for them the significant Al-Salam Intersection in south of Fallujah. Also there are two other roads for movement in Fallujah’s east, in addition to other ways announced safe to prevent any causalities during the operation under way there. There are fears over dangers posed to the civilians not by the army forces or Public Mobilization Forces but by ISIS’ militants.

Alwaght: Do you think that success in Fallujah would positively influence the political problems in the country, and would we see settlement of political crisis?

Fadel: The patriotic politicians would feel the positive effects of victory, while others who do not benefit from ISIS’ defeat start provocations against our military forces and also attempt to foil the political settlements to spoil the victory celebration of the Iraqis.

Alwaght: What do you think about the clergy’s call of the participant forces to consider the etiquettes of fighting at the battlefield? Is it a preemptive step to block the way of any possible media propaganda to tarnish the success and destroy the Iraqis’ diligence?

Fadel: The Shiite clergy is guided by its top leader Imam Ali (pbuh). It takes cue from his morale and etiquettes. The Shiite faith does not believe in suicide bombing, and exploding and arbitrary killing. It, rather, believes in the principle of mercy and respect of the elders as well as the youth, and also reverence of the women. It does not allow damaging the people asserts. These characteristics could block the way of any effort to damage the face of Public Mobilization Forces or the Iraqi army forces. The Iraqis are accustomed to the media tarnish campaigns like “save Fallujah, save the Sunnis and Fallujah is starving.” All this propaganda is failed now. Today we even witness a shift in the Persian Gulf Arab states’ stances after they obviously observed the reality. They learned that the lies and doubts affect nobody now as the recent events and developments have made the reality crystal clear.

Alwaght: Talking about the Persian Gulf Arab states’ position, what are the secrets of Saudi Arabia’s deal with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Fallujah battle and pushing the terrorists out of the city?

Fadel: First of all, the behind-the-scene events are weak now because there is a bigger player than the Iraqi government. Of course there is a big role of Washington behind all of what we hear. Thus, I think that the US presses the Arab countries which just yesterday used sectarian terms to describe Fallujah liberation operation.

Alwaght: What is behind the coincidence of US support for recapture of Syria’s ISIS-held Raqqa with launching of Fallujah operation? Does this timing come to spoil the victory and prestige of Iraqis and makes investments at the cost of Iraqi and Syrian anti-terror efforts?

Fadel: Clearly, the US presidential election is getting close this year. The Democrats before quitting the office need to leave a memory for the Americans of their administration, to tell their people that they made gains in Iraq and Syria. Therefore, any investment in the anti-ISIS and anti-terror battles in general comes with electoral intentions, to save face before the American public opinion.

By Al Waght