Fallujah

Fallujah[a] (Arabic: الفلوجة‎, al-Fallūjah  Iraqi pronunciation: [el.fɐl.ˈluː.dʒɐ]) is a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly 69 kilometers (43 mi) west of Baghdad on the Euphrates. Fallujah dates from Babylonian times and was host to important Jewish academies for many centuries.

The city grew from a small town in 1947 to a population of 275,128[1] inhabitants in 2011.[3] Within Iraq, it is known as the "city of mosques" for the more than 200 mosques found in the city and the surrounding villages.

In January 2014, the city was captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS; sometimes called ISIL)[4] and suffered major population loss. On 23 May 2016, Iraqi forces announced the beginning of their attempt to retake Fallujah from ISIS.[5] On 26 June 2016 the city was declared fully liberated by the Iraqi army.[6]

Fallujah, Iraq

الفلوجة
Fallujah.JPEG
Fallujah, Iraq is located in Iraq
Fallujah, Iraq
Fallujah, Iraq
Location within Iraq
Coordinates: 33°21′13″N 43°46′46″E / 33.35361°N 43.77944°E
CountryIraq
GovernorateAl Anbar
DistrictFallujah District
Government
 • MayorIssa Saer al-Assawi
Elevation
141 ft (43 m)
Population
(2011)[1][2]
 • Total275,128
Time zoneUTC+3 (GMT+3)
Postal code
31002

History

The region has been inhabited for many millennia. There is evidence that the area surrounding Fallujah was inhabited in Babylonian times. The current name of the city is thought to come from its Syriac name, Pallgutha, which is derived from the word division or "canal regulator" since it was the location where the water of the Euphrates River divided into a canal. Classical authors cited the name as "Pallacottas". The name in Aramaic is Pumbedita.[7]

Al Anbar and Nehardea

The region of Fallujah lies near the ancient Sassanid Persian town of Anbar, in the Sassanid province of Asōristān . The word anbar is Persian and means "warehouse". It was known as Firuz Shapur or Perisapora during the Sassanian Era. There are extensive ruins 2 km (1 mi) north of Fallujah which are identified with the town of Anbar. Anbar was located at the confluence of the Euphrates River with the King's Canal, today the Saqlawiyah Canal, known in Early Islamic times as the Nahr 'Isa and in ancient times as Nahr Malka. Subsequent shifts in the Euphrates River channel have caused it to follow the course of the ancient Pallacottas canal. The town at this site in Jewish sources was known as Nehardea and was the primary center of Babylonian Jewry until its destruction by the Palmyran ruler Odenathus in 259. The Medieval Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela in 1164 visited "el-Anbar which is Pumbeditha in Nehardea" and said it had 3000 Jews living there.[7][8]

Pumbeditha

The region played host for several centuries to one of the most important Jewish academies, the Pumbedita Academy, which from 258 to 1038 along with Sura (ar-Hira) was one of the two most important centers of Jewish learning worldwide.[9]

Modern era

Fallujah 1914
Fallujah's Caravanserai, ca. 1914

Under the Ottoman Empire, Fallujah was a minor stop on one of the country's main roads across the desert west from Baghdad.

In the spring of 1920, the British, who had gained control of Iraq after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, sent Lieut.-Colonel Gerard Leachman, a renowned explorer and a senior colonial officer, to meet with local leader Shaykh Dhari, perhaps to forgive a loan given to the sheikh. Exactly what happened depends on the source, but according to the Arab version, Gerard Leachman was betrayed by the sheikh who had his two sons shoot him in the legs, then behead him by the sword.[10]

During the brief Anglo-Iraqi War of 1941, the Iraqi army was defeated by the British in a battle near Fallujah. In 1947 the town had only about 10,000 inhabitants. It grew rapidly into a city after Iraqi independence with the influx of oil wealth into the country. Its position on one of the main roads out of Baghdad made it of central importance.

Under Saddam Hussein, who ruled Iraq from 1979 to 2003, Fallujah came to be an important area of support for the regime, along with the rest of the region labeled by the US military as the "Sunni Triangle". Many residents of the primarily Sunni city were employees and supporters of Saddam's government, and many senior Ba'ath Party officials were natives of the city. Fallujah was heavily industrialised during the Saddam era, with the construction of several large factories, including one closed down by United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in the 1990s that may have been used to create chemical weapons. A new highway system (a part of Saddam's infrastructure initiatives) circumvented Fallujah and gradually caused the city to decline in national importance by the time of the Iraq War.[11]

Gulf War, 1991

During the Gulf War, Fallujah suffered one of the highest tolls of civilian casualties. Two separate failed bombing attempts on Fallujah's bridge across the Euphrates River hit crowded markets, killing an estimated 200 civilians. The first bombing occurred early in the Gulf War. A British jet intending to bomb the bridge dropped two laser-guided bombs on the city's main market. Between 50 and 150 civilians died and many more were injured. In the second incident, Coalition forces attacked Fallujah's bridge over the Euphrates with four laser-guided bombs. At least one struck the bridge while one or two bombs fell short in the river. The fourth bomb hit another market elsewhere in the city, reportedly due to failure of its laser guidance system.[12]

Iraq War

BrooklynBridgeFallujah
Fallujah as seen from the West, April 2004

Fallujah was one of the least affected areas of Iraq immediately after the 2003 invasion by the US-led Coalition. Iraqi Army units stationed in the area abandoned their positions and disappeared into the local population, leaving unsecured military equipment behind. Fallujah was also the site of a Ba'athist resort facility called "Dreamland", located a few kilometers outside the city proper.

The damage the city had avoided during the initial invasion was negated by damage from looters, who took advantage of the collapse of Saddam Hussein's government. The looters targeted former government sites, the Dreamland compound, and the nearby military bases. Aggravating this situation was the proximity of Fallujah to the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, from which Saddam, in one of his last acts, had released all prisoners.

The new mayor of the city—Taha Bidaywi Hamed, selected by local tribal leaders—was strongly pro-American. When the US Army entered the town in April 2003, they positioned themselves at the vacated Ba'ath Party headquarters. A Fallujah Protection Force composed of local Iraqis was set up by the US-led occupants to help fight the rising resistance.

On the evening of 28 April 2003, a crowd of 200 people defied a curfew imposed by the Americans and gathered outside a secondary school used as a military HQ to demand its reopening. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne stationed on the roof of the building fired upon the crowd, resulting in the deaths of 17 civilians and the wounding of over 70.[13] American forces claim they were responding to gunfire from the crowd, while the Iraqis involved deny this version. Human Rights Watch also dispute the American claims, and says that the evidence suggests the US troops fired indiscriminately and used disproportionate force.[14] A protest against the killings two days later was also fired upon by US troops resulting in two more deaths.

On 31 March 2004, Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah ambushed a convoy containing four American private military contractors from Blackwater USA, who were conducting delivery for food caterers ESS.[15]

The four armed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerry (Jerko) Zovko, Wesley Batalona, and Michael Teague, were dragged from their cars, beaten, and set on fire. Their charred corpses were then dragged through the streets before being hung from a bridge spanning the Euphrates River.[16][17] This bridge is unofficially referred to as "Blackwater Bridge" by Coalition Forces operating there.[18] Photographs of the event were released to news agencies worldwide, causing outrage in the United States, and prompting the announcement of a campaign to reestablish American control over the city.[17]

Fallujah 2004
The aftermath of an air strike during the Second Battle of Fallujah
US Navy 041114-M-8205V-005 Iraqi Special Forces Soldiers assigned to the 1st Marines, patrol south clearing every house on their way through Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Al Fajr (New Dawn)
A city street in Fallujah heavily damaged by the fighting, November 2004

This led to an abortive US operation to recapture control of the city in Operation Vigilant Resolve, and a successful recapture operation in the city in November 2004, called Operation Phantom Fury in English and Operation Al Fajr in Arabic. Operation Phantom Fury resulted in the reputed death of over 1,350 insurgent fighters. Approximately 95 American troops were killed, and 560 wounded. After the successful recapture of the city, U.S. forces discovered a room in which they claimed to find evidence of a beheading, and bomb-making factories, which were shown to the media as evidence of Fallujah's important role in the insurgency against U.S. forces. They also found two hostages—an Iraqi and a Syrian. The Syrian was the driver for two French journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, who had been missing since August 2004. The Iraqi's captors were Syrian; he thought he was in Syria until found by the Marines.[19] Chesnot and Malbrunot were released by their captors, the Islamic Army in Iraq, on 21 December 2004.[20]

The U.S. military first denied that it has used white phosphorus as an anti-personnel weapon in Fallujah, but later retracted that denial, and admitted to using the incendiary in the city as an offensive weapon.[21] According to George Monbiot, reports following the events of November 2004 have alleged war crimes, human rights abuses, and a massacre by U.S. personnel.[22] This point of view is presented in the 2005 documentary film, Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre.

On 17 May 2011, AFP reported that 21 bodies, in black body-bags marked with letters and numbers in Latin script had been recovered from a mass grave in al-Maadhidi cemetery in the center of the city. Fallujah police chief Brigadier General Mahmud al-Essawi said that they had been blindfolded, their legs had been tied and they had suffered gunshot wounds. The Mayor, Adnan Husseini said that the manner of their killing, as well as the body bags, indicated that US forces had been responsible. Both al-Essawi and Husseini agreed that the dead had been killed in 2004. The US Military declined to comment.[23]

Residents were allowed to return to the city in mid-December 2004 after undergoing biometric identification, provided they wear their ID cards all the time. US officials report that "more than half of Fallujah's 39,000 homes were damaged during Operation Phantom Fury, and about 10,000 of those were destroyed" while compensation amounts to 20 percent of the value of damaged houses, with an estimated 32,000 homeowners eligible, according to Marine Lt Col William Brown.[24] According to NBC, 9,000 homes were destroyed, thousands more were damaged and of the 32,000 compensation claims only 2,500 have been paid as of 14 April 2005.[25]

According to Mike Marqusee of Iraq Occupation Focus writing in the Guardian, "Fallujah's compensation commissioner has reported that 36,000 of the city's 50,000 homes were destroyed, along with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines".[26] Reconstruction mainly consists of clearing rubble from heavily damaged areas and reestablishing basic utility services. 10% of the pre-offensive inhabitants had returned as of mid-January 2005, and 30% as of the end of March 2005.[27] In 2006, some reports say two-thirds have now returned and only 15 percent remain displaced on the outskirts of the city.[28]

Pre-offensive inhabitant figures are unreliable; the nominal population was assumed to have been 250,000–350,000. Thus, over 150,000 individuals are still living as IDPs in tent cities or with relatives outside Fallujah or elsewhere in Iraq. Current estimates by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and Coalition Forces put the city's population at over 350,000, possibly closing in on half a million.

In the aftermath of the offensive, relative calm was restored to Fallujah although almost-daily attacks against coalition forces resumed in 2005 as the population slowly trickled back into the city. From 2005–06, elements of the New Iraqi Army's 2nd and 4th brigades, 1st Division, occupied the city while the Marines maintained a small complex consisting of a security element from RCT8 and a CMOC at the city hall. The Iraqi units were aided by Military Transition Teams. Most Marine elements stayed outside of the city limits.

In December 2006, enough control had been exerted over the city to transfer operational control of the city from American forces to the 1st Iraqi Army Division. During the same month, the Fallujah police force began major offensive operations under their new chief. Coalition Forces, as of May 2007, are operating in direct support of the Iraqi Security Forces in the city. The city is one of Anbar province's centers of gravity in a newfound optimism among American and Iraqi leadership about the state of the counterinsurgency in the region.[29][30]

In June 2007, Regimental Combat Team 6 began Operation Alljah, a security plan modeled on a successful operation in Ramadi. After segmenting districts of the city, Iraqi Police and Coalition Forces established police district headquarters in order to further localize the law enforcement capabilities of the Iraqi Police. A similar program had met with success in the city of Ramadi in late 2006 and early 2007 (See Battle of Ramadi).

ISIL control, siege and recapture

In January 2014, a variety of sources reported that the city was controlled by al-Qaeda and/or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS; sometimes called ISIL).[4][31][32] On a broadcast of National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Middle East analyst Kirk Sowell stated that while ISIS was occupying parts of the city, most of the ground lost was to the tribal militias who are opposed to both the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda.[33][34] More than 100 people were killed as Iraqi police and tribesmen battled militants who took over parts of two cities on Anbar province.[35] On the same day, the Iraqi Army shelled the city of Fallujah with mortars to try to wrest back control from Sunni Muslim militants and tribesmen, killing at least eight people, tribal leaders and officials said. Medical sources in Fallujah said another 30 people were wounded in shelling by the army.[36]

Mosque in Fallujah
January 2008
Retaking Fallujah from ISIS by Iraqi Armed Forces and patriot militias (7)
June 2016

Despite various reports stating that the ISIS was behind the unrest, Christian Science Monitor journalist Dan Murphy disputed this allegation and claimed that while ISIS fighters have maintained a presence in the city, various tribal militias who sympathized with the ideas of nationalism and were opposed to both the Iraqi government and the ISIS controlled the largest share of area in Fallujah.[37] A report from Al Arabiya also backed this claim and alleged that the relationship between the tribesmen and the ISIS militants was only logistical.[38] On 14 January, various tribal chieftains in the province acknowledged "revolutionary tribesmen" were behind the uprising in Fallujah and other parts of Anbar and announced they would support them unless Maliki agreed to cease the ongoing military crackdowns on tribesmen.[39]

Speaking on condition of anonymity at the end of May 2014, an Anbar-based Iraqi government security officer told Human Rights Watch that ISIS controlled several neighborhoods of southeast Fallujah as well as several northern and southern satellite communities, while local militias loyal to the Anbar Military Council controlled the central and northern neighborhoods of the city; however, Human Rights Watch stated that they could not confirm these claims.[40] Despite of the discussion which groups initially controlled the city, Fallujah was mostly referred to as under ISIL/ISIS control during the occupation.[41][42][43]

After beginning a campaign to liberate Anbar Governorate from ISIL in July 2015, in February 2016, the Iraqi army and its allies started to encircle the city in the Siege of Fallujah. On 22 May 2016, Operation Breaking Terrorism was launched to recapture Fallujah,[44] marking the beginning of the Battle of Fallujah.

Battle of Fallujah

The consequence of liberation of Fallujah from ISIL
Liberation of Fallujah by Iraqi Armed Forces, 28 June 2016

On 22 May 2016, the Iraqi Army notified the remaining Fallujah residents of its plans to soon battle to retake the city, and that such residents should either evacuate, or if not possible, to minimally raise a white flag over their roofs.

Over the next several days, the army made advances on the city, capturing several surrounding villages on the outskirts on the town, killing a total of ~270 ISIL fighters, at least 35 members of Iraqi forces,[45] ~40 civilians,[46] and 1 Basij member, as of 1 June 2016.

On 30 May 2016, the military began to enter the city of Fallujah itself, but began to be stalled on 1 June, trying to attack ISIL members, but keeping the tens of thousands of civilians still trapped inside the city safe.[47] However, by 3 June they began to make further advances on the city, killing 62 more ISIL militants. On 26 June, the Iraqi army reported that it had fully liberated the city, while fighting was ongoing in some pockets northwest of Fallujah which remained under ISIL control.[6]

Geography

Fallujah's western boundary is the Euphrates River. The Euphrates flows from the west (Ramadi), past Fallujah, and into the Baghdad area. When the river reaches the western edge of Fallujah, it turns north, then quickly south, forming what is commonly referred to as the 'peninsula' area. There are two bridges that cross the Euphrates at Fallujah.

The city's eastern boundary is Highway 1, a four-lane, divided superhighway that travels from Baghdad past Fallujah towards the west. After the sanctions imposed by the UN after the 1991 Gulf War, this highway became the main supply route for the country. Truckers and travelers from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and southern Syria all merge onto this highway prior to entering the Eastern Al Anbar province. The highway has a prominent 'cloverleaf' interchange with Highway 10 on the eastern edge of Fallujah. Highway 10, which also runs through Fallujah. It is a two-lane highway that turns into a four lane highway once inside of Fallujah. The highway runs east-west from Baghdad through Fallujah then west towards Ramadi. A 'cloverleaf' on-ramp allows for traffic on/off Highway 1. The highway basically splits the city into two halves, north and south.

The northern boundary is a railroad line that runs east-west just along the northern edge of the city. The line sits atop a 10–15 foot high berm all along the northern edge of the city, except where it crosses Highway 1.

There are three major hospital locations in Fallujah. The main hospital (formerly Saddam General) is located downtown, near the west end. The second is located across the Euphrates River in an area of west Fallujah commonly referred to as the 'peninsula', (due to its shape). The third hospital is the Jordanian Field Hospital located east of the Highway 10/Highway 1 interchange.

Health

In 2010 it was reported that an academic study[48] had shown "a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer" since 2004.[49] In addition, the report said the types of cancer were "similar to that in the Hiroshima survivors who were exposed to ionising radiation from the bomb and uranium in the fallout", and an 18% fall in the male birth ratio (to 850 per 1000 female births, compared to the usual 1050) was similar to that seen after the Hiroshima bombing.[49] The authors cautioned that while "the results seem to qualitatively support the existence of serious mutation-related health effects in Fallujah, owing to the structural problems associated with surveys of this kind, care should be exercised in interpreting the findings quantitatively".

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Sometimes also transliterated as Falluja, Fallouja, or Falowja

References

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External links

Coordinates: 33°21′N 43°47′E / 33.350°N 43.783°E

2004 Fallujah ambush

The 2004 Fallujah ambush occurred on March 31, 2004, when Iraqi insurgents attacked a convoy containing four American contractors from the private military company Blackwater USA who were conducting a delivery for food caterers ESS.

Al Anbar Governorate

Al Anbar Governorate (Arabic: محافظة الأنبار‎; muḥāfaẓat al-’Anbār), or Anbar Province, is the largest governorate in Iraq by area. Encompassing much of the country's western territory, it shares borders with Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The provincial capital is Ramadi; other important cities include Fallujah and Haditha.

The governorate was known as Ramadi up to 1976, when it was renamed Al Anbar Province, and it was known as Dulaim before 1962. A large majority of the inhabitants of the province are Sunni Muslims and most belong to the Dulaim tribe, all of which speak Arabic.

In early 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with the assistance of local Sunni militia, launched a successful campaign to seize control of the province from the Iraqi government. Numerous offensive actions were undertaken by the Iraqi government to remove ISIL's occupation of the province – the Anbar campaign (2015–16), the Western Anbar offensive (September 2017) and the 2017 Western Iraq campaign. The area was effectively recaptured by the end of 2017.

Amiriyah Fallujah

Al-Amiriyah (Arabic: العامرية‎ al-ʻāmiriyyah) or Amiriyah Fallujah, also Ameriyah, Amiriyyah, Ameriya, Amiriyat, Ameriyat and the like, is a city in the Fallujah District of Al Anbar province, about 30 km south of the city of Fallujah, in Iraq. Ameriyah residents belong mostly to the Albu Issa subtribe, part of the Dulaim tribe.

The city was named Amiriyah Fallujah after the occupation of Iraq because of huge number of displaced persons from the city of Fallujah, with a total population of 17 thousand people.

During the lead up to the Gulf War in 1990, several Western hostages were held as a human shield at a suspected ammunition factory in the area from September 1990 until their release 6 December 1990. These included a crew member from British Airways Flight 149. Nationals of Britain, Japan and France were held on the site. Only the British were detained until December, the French and Japanese being released in October and November 1990 respectively.

The nature of their internment makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact location, but they were told by their Iraqi minders that they were at "a factory in Amiriyah"

During the American war on Iraq the city witnessed violent clashes such as those seen in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi as well as explosions and car bombs with chlorine, but in the end in 2007 the Anbar police took over on the city.

In 2016, during the Siege of Fallujah, there was intense fighting in the area between the Iraqi army and ISIL militants. Also several suicide attacks by ISIL were reported.

Anbar campaign (2013–14)

Beginning in December 2012, Sunnis in Iraq protested against the Maliki government. On 28 December 2013, a Sunni MP named Ahmed al-Alwani was arrested in a raid on his home in Ramadi. Alwani was a prominent supporter of the anti-government protests. This incident led to violence in Al Anbar Governorate between the Iraqi Army and a loose alliance of tribal militias and other groups fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

In January 2014, the anti-government forces took control of Fallujah, and there was heavy fighting in Ramadi. In March the Iraqi army secured Ramadi and attempted to regain Fallujah. In June, ISIL launched a major offensive in Anbar in conjunction with their assault on Northern Iraq. By 23 June, they controlled at least 70% of Anbar.

Anbar campaign (2015–16)

The Anbar campaign (2015–16) was a military campaign launched by the Iraqi Armed Forces and their allies aimed at recapturing areas of the Anbar Governorate held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including the city of Ramadi, which ISIL seized earlier in 2015. The United States and other nations are aiding Iraq with airstrikes.

Anglo-Iraqi War

The Anglo–Iraqi War (2–31 May 1941) was a British-led Allied military campaign against the Kingdom of Iraq led by the Axis aligned government of Rashid Ali, which had seized power during the Second World War. The campaign resulted in the downfall of Ali's government, the re-occupation of Iraq by the British Empire, and the return to power of the Regent of Iraq, Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, an ally to imperial Britain.

Battle of Fallujah (2014)

The Fall of Fallujah (2014) also known as Battle of Fallujah (2014) was a battle that took place from late 2013 to early 2014, in which ISIL and other Sunni insurgents captured the city of Fallujah. It was one of the first Iraqi cities to fall out of the control of the Iraqi Government, and resulted in the Anbar Campaign.

Battle of Fallujah (2016)

The Battle of Fallujah (2016), also referred to as Third Battle of Fallujah, or Fallujah offensive (2016), code-named Operation Breaking Terrorism (Arabic: عملية كسر الإرهاب‎) by the Iraqi government, was a military operation against ISIL launched to capture the city of Fallujah and its suburbs, located about 69 kilometers (40 miles) west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. The operation began on 22 May 2016, three months after the Iraqi forces had started the total siege of Fallujah. On 26 June, Iraqi forces recaptured the city of Fallujah, before recapturing the remaining pocket of ISIL resistance in Fallujah's western outskirts two days later.

Bilal Hussein

Bilal Hussein is an Iraqi Associated Press photojournalist based in Fallujah, Iraq. He was arrested in Ramadi by U.S. forces in April 2006 and detained on suspicion of aiding insurgents in Iraq. He was taken into custody to face charges in the Iraqi Central Court, reportedly over the circumstances of his photos, which were supplied by the U.S. military. American and Iraqi governments were criticized for violating the Geneva Conventions, and for detaining Hussein without evidence. He was finally released without charge in 2008. That year, Hussein won an International Press Freedom Award.

One of his photographs was among a group of 20 Associated Press photographs that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. His was an image of four insurgents in Fallujah firing a mortar and small arms during the U.S.-led offensive in the city in November 2004.On September 17, 2006, the AP reported that Hussein had been imprisoned by the United States military since April 2006 without publicly known charges or hearings; his captors citing "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions. Hussein was taken into U.S. custody on April 12, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq, and had since been held without charge. On November 20, 2007, the US military announced that they would soon be bringing criminal charges against Hussein, and would be turning the case over to Iraqi judges. On April 9, 2008 an Iraqi judicial panel ordered Hussein's release, ruling (according to the AP) that he was covered by an Iraqi amnesty law. On April 14, 2008 the US military announced it would release Hussein from custody by April 16 of that year, saying only that "he no longer presents an imperative threat to security".

Christmas in Fallujah

"Christmas in Fallujah" is a single written by Billy Joel and performed by Cass Dillon. A couple of weeks after they recorded it in a studio, Billy Joel introduced Cass Dillon on stage, in Chicago, for a first live performance of the song. It is also Billy Joel's second new song with lyrics he had written since 1993's River of Dreams album.

The single was released on December 4, 2007 exclusively from the iTunes Store and was included on Dillon's EP A Good Thing Never Dies (iTunes download). The proceeds from this single were donated to Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted homes for American service members returning from Iraq (Fallujah is a city in Iraq) and Afghanistan with severe disabilities."Christmas in Fallujah" was the second single released in 2007 by Joel, who aside from "All My Life" had not released a song with lyrics since 1993. Joel performed "Christmas in Fallujah" live in Australia in November 2008, marking the first time he sang the lyrics to the song instead of Dillon. On December 11, 2008, Joel announced that a new recording of the song that day at Sydney's Acer Arena concert would be released as a download and CD single in honor of the American and Australian soldiers serving in the Middle East. This is the only official recording of Joel singing "Christmas in Fallujah" that is available.

Fallujah District

Fallujah is a district in Al Anbar Governorate, Iraq. Its seat is the city of Fallujah.

Fallujah during the Iraq War

The United States bombardment of Fallujah began in April 2003, one month following the beginning of the invasion of Iraq. In April 2003 United States forces fired on a group of demonstrators who were protesting against the US presence. US forces alleged they were fired at first, but Human Rights Watch who visited the site of the protests concluded that physical evidence did not corroborate their allegations and confirmed the residents' accusations that the US forces fired indiscriminately at the crowd with no provocation. 17 people were killed and 70 were wounded. In a later incident, US soldiers fired on protesters again; Fallujah's mayor, Taha Bedaiwi al-Alwani, said that two people were killed and 14 wounded. Iraqi insurgents were able to claim the city a year later, before they were ousted by a siege and two assaults by US forces. These events caused widespread destruction and a humanitarian crisis in the city and surrounding areas. As of 2004, the city was largely ruined, with 60% of buildings damaged or destroyed, and the population at 30%–50% of pre-war levels.

Fallujah killings of April 2003

The Fallujah killings of April 2003 began when United States Army soldiers from the American 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division fired into a crowd of Iraqi civilians who were protesting their presence at a school within the city of Fallujah. The soldiers claimed they were receiving fire from the crowd, whereas the civilians said they were shot at first. Human Rights Watch, which inspected the area after the incident, found no physical evidence of shots fired at the building where U.S. forces were based.

First Battle of Fallujah

The First Battle of Fallujah, also known as Operation Vigilant Resolve, was an operation to root out extremist elements of Fallujah as well as an attempt to apprehend the perpetrators of the killing of four U.S. contractors in March 2004.

The chief catalyst for the operation was the highly publicized killing and mutilation of four Blackwater USA private military contractors, and the killings of five American soldiers in Habbaniyah a few days earlier.The battle polarized public opinion within Iraq.

Iraq War in Anbar Province

The Iraq War in Anbar Province, also known as the Al Anbar campaign, consisted of fighting between the United States military, together with Iraqi Government forces, and Sunni insurgents in the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar. The Iraq War lasted from 2003 to 2011, but the majority of the fighting and counterinsurgency campaign in Anbar took place between April 2004 and September 2007. Although the fighting initially featured heavy urban warfare primarily between insurgents and U.S. Marines, insurgents in later years focused on ambushing the American and Iraqi security forces with improvised explosive devices (IED's), large scale attacks on combat outposts, and car bombings. Almost 9,000 Iraqis and 1,335 Americans were killed in the campaign, many in the Euphrates River Valley and the Sunni Triangle around the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.Al Anbar, the only Sunni-dominated province in Iraq, saw little fighting in the initial invasion. Following the fall of Baghdad it was occupied by the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Violence began on 28 April 2003 when 17 Iraqis were killed in Fallujah by U.S. soldiers during an anti-American demonstration. In early 2004 the U.S. Army relinquished command of the province to the Marines. By April 2004 the province was in full-scale revolt. Savage fighting occurred in both Fallujah and Ramadi by the end of 2004, including the Second Battle of Fallujah. Violence escalated throughout 2005 and 2006 as the two sides struggled to secure the Western Euphrates River Valley. During this time, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) became the province's main Sunni insurgent group and turned the provincial capital of Ramadi into its stronghold. The Marine Corps issued an intelligence report in late 2006 declaring that the province would be lost without a significant additional commitment of troops.

In August 2006, several tribes located in Ramadi and led by Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha began to form what would eventually become the Anbar Awakening, which later led to the tribes revolting against AQI. The Anbar Awakening helped turn the tide against the insurgents through 2007. American and Iraqi tribal forces regained control of Ramadi in early 2007, as well as other cities such as Hīt, Haditha, and Rutbah. More hard fighting still followed throughout the Summer of 2007 however, particularly in the rural western River Valley, due largely to its proximity to the Syrian border and the vast network of natural entry points for foreign fighters to enter Iraq, via Syria. In June 2007 the U.S. turned a majority of its attention to eastern Anbar Province and secured the cities of Fallujah and Al-Karmah.

The fighting was mostly over by September 2007, although US forces maintained a stabilizing and advisory role through December 2011. Celebrating the victory, President George W. Bush flew to Anbar in September 2007 to congratulate Sheikh Sattar and other leading tribal figures. AQI assassinated Sattar days later. In September 2008, political control was transferred to Iraq. Military control was transferred in June 2009, following the withdrawal of American combat forces from the cities. The Marines were replaced by the US Army in January 2010. The Army withdrew its combat units by August 2010, leaving only advisory and support units. The last American forces left the province on 7 December 2011.

MEK Compound

The MEK Compound (Mujahedin-E Khalq) in Fallujah, Iraq (also known as Camp Fallujah) is a large compound used by the U.S. Marines from 2004 to 2009. Prior to Marine occupation, the Iranian dissident group called Mujahideen-e-Khalq used the MEK as a training camp, but turned it over to the U.S. Army 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment on May 11, 2003 after the Mujahideen-e-Khalq surrender. The 82nd Airborne Division took over the facility in August 2003. On March 24, 2004, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force relieved the 82nd Airborne and used it as a base camp. On January 12, 2009, the Government of Iraq took control of the compound from the United States military. As of January 2010, the camp appears to be the headquarters of the Iraqi Army's 1st Division.

The last US force to occupy Camp Fallujah was Guardian Company, IMHG, FMF west.

The MEK is adjacent to the other major U.S. base in Fallujah, the former Baathist resort Camp Baharia (also known as "Dreamland").

Second Battle of Fallujah

The Second Battle of Fallujah—code-named Operation Al-Fajr (Arabic: الفجر "the dawn") and Operation Phantom Fury—was a joint American, Iraqi, and British offensive in November and December 2004, considered the highest point of conflict in Fallujah during the Iraq War. It was led by the U.S. Marines and U.S Army against the Iraqi insurgency stronghold in the city of Fallujah and was authorized by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Interim Government. The U.S. military called it "some of the heaviest urban combat U.S. Marines and Soldiers have been involved in since the Battle of Huế City in Vietnam in 1968."This operation was the second major operation in Fallujah. Earlier, in April 2004, coalition forces fought the First Battle of Fallujah in order to capture or kill insurgent elements considered responsible for the deaths of a Blackwater Security team. When coalition forces fought into the center of the city, the Iraqi government requested that the city's control be transferred to an Iraqi-run local security force, which then began stockpiling weapons and building complex defenses across the city through mid-2004. The second battle was the bloodiest battle of the entire Iraq War, and is notable for being the first major engagement of the Iraq War fought solely against insurgents rather than the forces of the former Ba'athist Iraqi government, which was deposed in 2003.

Siege of Fallujah (2016)

The Siege of Fallujah (2016) was an offensive that the Iraqi government launched against ISIL in Al-Karmah and in the city of Fallujah, with the aim of enforcing a siege of Fallujah. During the operation, local Sunni residents revolted against ISIL for a period of 3 days, in February 2016. On 22 May, after completing preparations around the city, the Iraqi Army and supporting Shi'ite militias launched the Third Battle of Fallujah.

Six Days in Fallujah

Six Days in Fallujah (SDIF) is an unreleased historical third-person shooter video game developed and left unreleased by Atomic Games. Described by Atomic Games as a tactical shooter, it was slated to be the first video game to focus directly on the Iraq War.

The game follows a squad of U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1), fighting in the Second Battle of Fallujah over the span of six days in November 2004. The premise of the game was the subject of controversy in 2009, with questions raised as to its appropriateness, especially given the fact that the true events the game is based upon were recent at the time. It was originally to be published by Konami, however, in April 2009, a spokesman informed the Associated Press that Konami was no longer publishing the game due to the controversy surrounding it. As of February 15, 2019, the game has not been released and there is no set release date.

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