The media accepts the overly simple narrative that al-Qaida took over. The reality is Maliki is crushing dissent with US-made arms.
Photo Credit: By Joseph A. Lambach, U.S. Marine Corps (http://www.defenseimagery.mil; exact source) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
January 11, 2014 |
By Ross Caputi 
I am having flashbacks to my time as a marine during the second siege of Falluja in 2004. Again, claims are being published that al-Qaida  has taken over the city and that a heavy-handed military response is needed to take the city back from the control of terrorists.
The first time around, this claim proved to be false. The vast majority of the men we fought against in Falluja were locals, unaffiliated with al-Qaida, who were trying to expel the foreign occupiers from their country. There was a presence of al-Qaida in the city, but they played a minimal and marginal role in the fighting. The stories about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq  who was said to be recruiting an army in Falluja, were wildly exaggerated. There is no evidence that Zarqawi  ever even set foot in Falluja.
This week, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior’s assertion that al-Qaida’s affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has taken over half of Falluja  is being parroted in headlines by almost every major media network. But again, it appears that the role of al-Qaida in Falluja is being exaggerated and used as a justification for a military assault on the city.
The violence began just over a week ago, when Iraqi security forces disbursed a protest camp in Falluja  and arrested a politician who had been friendly to the protestors’ goals. This camp was part of a non-violent protest movement