Iraq’s important and sensitive city of Fallujah, which was the most strategic base for the Daesh terrorist group in the country, was finally liberated after about three weeks of intense clashes between Iraqi forces and Daesh terrorists. This city was of vital importance to Takfiri terrorists.
In addition to being a base for conducting terrorist and sabotage operations against Baghdad, following the fall of Iraq’s former dictator, Saddam Hussein, Fallujah had turned into a traditional venue for the loyalists of Saddam, al-Qaeda operatives, all kinds of Takfiri terrorist groups, and finally Daesh.
Both former al-Qaeda commander, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had secured footholds in this city and around it and even some heads of nomadic tribes had sworn allegiance to leaders of terrorist groups. However, this city and areas around it were finally liberated through joint operations by all armed forces in Iraq, including the army, the federal police, special anti-terrorism forces, tribal forces, and the Popular Mobilization Forces, also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi. All these groups joined hands and scored a major victory away from any major difference.
At the same time, what happened on the ground during the past three weeks shows that without a doubt, Hashd al-Sha’abi and its faithful and committed fighters were the main conquerors of Fallujah.
The Popular Mobilization Forces had been part of other military operations in Iraq and had proven their high power and military intelligence while being totally coordinated with the Iraqi armed forces. Remarkable military victories in Diyala province, liberation of the important town of Jawf al-Sakhar, which was the main artery connecting terrorists to Baghdad and southern parts of the country, and liberation of the city of Tikrit by Hashd al-Sha’abi certainly proves that Iraq’s military leaders topped by the commander in chief of the armed forces have been aware of the amazing power of these forces. Therefore, despite all kinds of regional and international pressures, especially from the United States and Saudi Arabia, which demanded that Hashd al-Sha’abi forces should not take part in the liberation of Fallujah, the Iraqi prime minister finally decided to allow Hashd al-Sha’abi forces to take part in order to guarantee the success of the operation and due to its importance for the prestige of the Iraqi government.
The remarkable victory gained by Hashd al-Sha’abi in the first days of the operation through reclaiming all towns and villages around Fallujah, blocking supply lines of Daesh and putting total siege on the city, played a great role in cutting aid to terrorists while blocking their exit from the city. While all media and politicians of Iraq have owned up to the relative failure of the country’s army in this operation, Hashd al-Sha’abi forces, along with the federal police, many of whose commanders were committed Iraqi forces, guaranteed the liberation of the city. In addition, providing aid to homeless people and civilians who fled Fallujah was mostly done by the Popular Mobilization Forces to prove that in addition to their military efficiency, these forces are able to serve as a major relief force for people in other parts of the country without any tribal or religions discrimination.
Without a doubt, these important victories by Hashd al-Sha’abi forces in regaining all areas around Fallujah provided ground for the Iraqi armed forces to enter the city. Also, it was the military record of this military force, which prompted some regional actors, especially Saudi Arabia a well as its propaganda and media apparatus, to mount the most serious propaganda assault against Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters. They tried to downplay military achievements of the popular forces and despite the presence of thousands of Sunni volunteers among their ranks, claim that their operation was, in fact, a war waged by Shias against Sunnis.
At present, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces have imposed themselves on international and regional actors as an official and powerful military factor in the political arena of Iraq. Therefore, those actors are trying through various means, including by mounting pressure on Baghdad, launching media attacks, and undermining credibility of these forces to prevent them from playing a more active role in the country. Hashd al-Sha’abi, however, was formed through the fatwa (religious decree) of the country’s top Shia sources of emulation, and has recruited hundreds of thousands of Iraqi youths to show that presence of faithful youths, along with committed and experienced popular commanders and in addition to the nation’s demands and willpower, will continue to play a major and determining role in political and military developments of the country and can easily overcome the Takfiri cancerous tumor.
This issue has stirred fear among certain regional countries and their international supporters. In addition, Fallujah liberation operation, which came after a period of political tensions in Iraq, showed that if the country’s people and politicians want complete defeat of Daesh in Iraq, they must set aside their political differences in order to be able to fight this Takfiri group. This is true because at the height of political tensions in Iraq, the country witnessed an increased number of bomb attacks by the Daesh as well as new moves by this Takfiri group.
The liberation of Fallujah proved once more that taking advantage of all political, religious and ethnic groups in all forms of Popular Mobilization Forces, tribal fighters, and Kurdish fighters, is an efficient model to fight Daesh. What is certain is that following the liberation of Fallujah, now all eyes will be riveted on the final goal of anti-Daesh fight, that is, the northern city of Mosul. Mosul is the capital city of the self-proclaimed Daesh caliphate in Iraq and they will spare no effort to maintain their last base in the country. Of course, repeated defeats in other parts of Iraq have dealt a serious psychological blow on Daesh elements, but the operation for the liberation of Mosul will not be an easy one unless through a model, which led to the liberation of Fallujah.
By Iran Review