Iraq Escalates Fallujah Shelling, Prepares Ground Invasion

Waiting for Maliki Say-So for Invasion

After al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) occupied the city of Fallujah, the Iraqi military indicated they were willing to leave the matter to the local tribal leaders, giving them as long as necessary to retake the city peacefully.

Less than a month later, the military is engaged in sustained shelling of the city, hitting random neighborhoods in hopes of seeing the militants move around and get an idea of where they area. The shelling escalated today, with officials saying a ground invasion is imminent.

Military officials said the decision had been made to enter Fallujah Sunday, though so far that hasn’t happened. The military says they are waiting for “final say” from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki before launching the operation.

With the main roads into the city mined by AQI, the military is expected to try to invade from one of the breeches made by the artillery fire. Previous accounts have claimed AQI has enormous amounts of heavy weaponry, meaning the battle is likely to be long, and bloody.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.