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Fallujah, Host To Bloody U.S. Battles, Now In Al-Qaeda Hands

Iraq\'s western Anbar province is again under siege from militants taking advantage of strained relations between the government and local tribes.
Posted at 8:14 AM, Jan 04, 2014

It saw some of the heaviest fighting of the entire U.S. campaign in Iraq, and now the city of Fallujah is again under the control of Al-Qaeda militants.

Al Jazeera reports armed radicals raised their flag over the city Monday, and the Iraqi government has been fighting desperately ever since to win it back. This is a battle between Sunni Muslim militants as part of Al-Qaeda and the Shi'ite government of Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. His administration heavily shelled Fallujah heading into the weekend, killing at least eight people and wounding 30 others. (Via BBC)

More than 120 Americans and about 1,400 Iraqi civilians died in the first and second battles of Fallujah in 2004. Now, more than two years after the official close of American involvement, the U.S. can do little beyond lamenting the lost ground. (Via CNN)

Al-Qaeda's recapture of the city has led to some disheartening headlines and to statements from reporters like this, posed on Twitter: The Iraq invasion and battles of Fallujah. "For nothing." (Via ABC)

So, the question now is what's behind Al-Qaeda's resurgence in western Iraq in a province called Anbar of which Fallujah is a major city.

Part of it is due to a different war entirely. The civil war in neighboring Syria is in its third year, allowing Al-Qaeda fighters to run rampant in the region. (Via Sky News)

But of course, Iraq has its own problems. Its Anbar province is caught up in chaotic violence between not just the army and Al-Qaeda but also local tribes that have refused the government's help. (Via The Washington Post)

The nearby city of Ramadi has fared better against armed radicals, with the government and local tribes working together to set up a defense.