Saturday, April 05, 2008

Fallujah now versus then

I traveled into the heart of Fallujah today, to the infamous bridge known to Marines as the “Blackwater Bridge” where the charred mutilated bodies of four American security agents working for Blackwater were hung for the world to see in an al Qaeda propaganda stunt custom made for al Jazeera’s cameras. Iraqis know the bridge as the King Faisal Bridge, named for Iraq’s first monarch after World War I, who personally dedicated the bridge in 1927. Today, characteristic of the “awakening” taking place, the busy bridge was rededicated to King Faisal, and leading the rededication ceremony was Colonel Faisal, head of Iraqi Police in Fallujah. Colonel Faisal is an amazing man, whom I am told fought against us in both wars. A greatly respected man, he is representative of “the awakening” here in al Anbar Province. However, because of his strong relationship with U.S. forces here and his commitment to eradicate al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) here, he is a target for AQI terror and assassination. Each member of Colonel Faisal’s personal body guard detail has a personal reason to keep him alive, because each member has had someone in their family killed by al Qaeda. The King Faisal Bridge is important to Fallujans, and its rededication an important milestone in reconciliation and progress here in Fallujah and Western Iraq. (For more see


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