Major Shi’ite militia the Badr Brigade, one of the militias involved in the planned Iraqi invasion of Fallujah, reiterated over the weekend that the offensive against the city is on hold until the civilians leave the city. Estimates have put some 50,000 civilians still in the city.
“Of course we will go in and rid the city from the evil of this cancerous gland, with nobody preventing us,” insisted Hadi Amiri, the brigade’s leader and a powerful figure in Iraq’s parliament., saying the only thing keeping them out of the city is fear of civilian casualties.
Other Iraqi officials have indicated the same thing, but in practice it’s been all but impossible for civilians to flee the city, with only a few hundred able to get out in recent weeks, leaving the overwhelming majority trapped.
This could end up being a huge humanitarian problem either way, as the Shi’ite militias have a checkered history, to say the least, of attacking Sunni cities, but even just surrounded, food and other basic goods are increasingly in short supply.