U. S. Offensive in Western Iraq Continues

October 10, 2005

On October 6th, in a major foreign policy speech, President Bush vowed to continue the war in Iraq "for as long as it takes...area by area and city by city."

Even as Bush spoke, the U.S. military was stepping up its latest offensive operations in western Iraq.

On October 1st, thousands of U.S. troops, backed by helicopter gunships, stormed into the villages of Sadah, Karabilah, Rumana, and other towns on the banks of the Euphrates river, 180 miles northwest of Baghdad. Codenamed "Operation Iron Fist," the assault focused on the Qaim region of Anbar province near the Iraqi-Syrian border. U.S. military commanders have stated that scores of Iraqis have already been killed.

On October 4th, a second offensive, named "Operation River Gate," was launched in cities located near Haditha, Haqlaniyah, Barwana, and other sections in the same Euphrates River valley in western Iraq. An estimated 5,000 U.S. troops are carrying out the combat operations and launching raids throughout the region. Thousands of Iraqi civilians had fled the cities in advance of the operations. According to reports, airstrikes by U.S. warplanes and dozens of helicopters set off explosions that lit up Haqlaniyah, Parwana and Haditha before dawn on October 4th. Barrages of gunfire also were seen in the night sky, and large sections of Haqlaniyah were on fire.

Eyewitness reporters said that in Karabilah, U.S. troops met stiff resistance and the offensive slowed as Marine snipers fired from rooftops and U.S. helicopters flew overhead. A CNN journalist embedded with the Marines reported that families were fleeing their homes. Mohammed Hadithi, the head of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society in Haditha, charged that U.S. troops violated the rights of residents during house-to-house raids. The Marines "neglected the humanitarian standards," he said. "If the American people come and see [what] the army [is] doing to unarmed women and children, they would have disowned the army."

Bush's speech and the ongoing military operations again shows that U.S. imperialism will not get out of Iraq until it is forced to do by the combined struggles of the Iraqi people, the American people and the people of the world.