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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 November 2004, 10:37 GMT
Should there be an assault on Falluja?
American soldiers convoy towards the insurgent-held city of Falluja, as Falluja residents evacuate the Iraqi city, Friday 5 November 2004
A major US-led strike on the insurgent city of Falluja is expected despite UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warning against such action.

Mr Annan fears that an assault could alienate ordinary Iraqis and disrupt the planned elections.

US-led troops have closed all roads in and out of the rebel-held city, and await the go-ahead from Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Would the assault achieve peace in Iraq? Or do you agree with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan? What will stop the insurgents attacking? Send us your views using the postform.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

My thoughts and prayers are with my comrades in arms and the civilians for a free and just Iraq
Anonymous, San Antonio, Texas
I have just returned from my tour of duty in Iraq. Unless you have been there and seen the mass graves, the victims of torture (From Saddam's Prisons), and seen hope in Iraqi civilian faces when you have arrived...then your opinion is without merit. Of those Iraqis I have met, most voice concern at how lacking the liberals of Europe are. In particular they seemed aghast at the demonstrations held in London against their liberation. My thoughts and prayers are with my comrades in arms and the civilians for a free and just Iraq.
Anonymous, San Antonio, Texas

I think that an attack on Fallujah is inevitable right now. The coalition should just get it over with so that the reconstruction can begin, and the people can get back to living in the new Iraq which has been the topic of so many discussions and evaluations.
Imad Nemr, Syria

The so called "rebels" (I prefer terrorist) are attacking the interim government, police, Iraqi army, reconstruction teams, aid workers or anyone else involved in moving the country toward freedom and democracy. If the terrorist from Falluja really wanted democracy, they would work within the political process. The fact is their desire is go back to the days of minority rule. One could argue about the virtues or wisdom of the invasion, but that would simply be an exercise in futility. The time has come to put down these terrorist so Iraqis can go about the business of building a "free" Iraq.
Fred P, Orlando/USA

I think a show of force is necessary but that negotiations should continue and it should be shown that all parties would like to come to a truce without violence.
Alfreda Calbert, Blue Island, IL - USA

Not at all. The new assault on Falluja will only bring more violence, it will make the people angrier at the US and it will lead more people to join a resistant/militant and peace far long to be achieved.
Aishah, San Francisco, USA

Should we expect any different response from Kofi? What has he done for Sudan? Nothing. What did he do for Kosovo? Nothing. What did he do for Rwanda? Nothing. Of course he's telling the world to do nothing about Falluja. Iraq, and the rest of the world, would benefit by ignoring this man.
Josh, Austin, Texas, USA

The policy of leading from the gut and refusing the advice of the UN time and time again is obviously not working
Julie, Portland, US

The policy of leading from the gut and refusing the advice of the UN time and time again is obviously not working. The coalition is setting Falluja for its death. No-one gets in and no-one gets out. Innocent people living now will starve and be blown to bits. This is liberation - death. How will that achieve peace?
Julie, Portland, OR, US

The assault on Falluja will be a catastrophic mistake. The only victims will be the civilians.
Mostafa, Eljadida, Morocco

First it was Najaf and now it is Falluja. No-one can guess how many of Iraqis have died so far, but bigger question is how many of them were political deaths? World needs to monitor this situation very closely. I just hope for the best.
Amit Patel, Philadelphia

I think that Falluja must be retaken so that the rebels see that no matter where they try to settle and take hold they will be flushed out... this will hopefully break the resistance, then and only then will we see Iraq start to benefit fully from the initial action taken by the coalition forces.
Kevin, Cirencester

Forgive the medical metaphor, but it's like trying to remove a tumour with a butcher's axe. Dealing with this kind of insurgence needs careful surgery - otherwise the cancer will spread.
Alister, London, UK

In the north they have a saying about mosquitoes. For every one you kill, a thousand come to its funeral. A year and a half into the occupation, it's time to pull back, and invite people to the table for peace talks. Kill Falluja and the resistance will surface in a thousand other places.
Nico, Montreal, Canada

If Iraq is ever going to become a democratic state, the country must be united, whether by forceful or peaceful means
Colin, UK

If Iraq is ever going to become a democratic state, the country must be united, whether by forceful or peaceful means. I genuinely believe that the so called ordinary Iraqi wants peace and prosperity. However what hope do unarmed school teachers, doctors, children and farmers have against Islamic fascists who are intent on killing anyone who might weaken their power.
Colin, Market Harborough, UK

Stop it, and stop it now! Enough of this violence that leads nowhere, least towards some kind of democracy. We should all get together to prevent this monstrous policy of killing even more people and destroying even more lives. Stop the Americans and their vassals immediately!
H Augustin, Zagreb, Croatia

Shouldn't they use negotiators? The kind of negotiators we see in movies dealing with hostage situations and violent criminals. I wonder if the people who are trapped inside the city want to escape and are being prevented to do so by the insurgents. The media should tell us more about these things. What is really happening with the people of Falluja.
Elizabeth, Madrid, Spain

Falluja has become an icon for Arab and Islamic extremism in the Middle East and beyond. It is also a sanctuary within Iraq for those trying to prevent the emergence of a stable central government. If more insurgents are created by an attack then at least they won't be in political control of an area in which they can move with impunity. There will not be success in Iraq if enclaves are allowed to persist. The best of wishes to our always faithful and gallant Marines!
Will McElgin, Chicago, USA

Yes they should go in and Kofi Annan should keep his thoughts to himself the UN had twelve years to sort this out and did nothing. The insurgents are there even now News sites are reporting resistance from them on the outskirts now. The terrorists have to be taken care of and in my opinion the UN should be disbanded.
John, Essex

Whom would Jesus attack in this situation?
John, Arcata, CA

I weep for my country's lost vision as I read fellow citizens' support for attacking Falluja. Many lives will be sacrificed needlessly and nothing can be gained, except profits for military suppliers. The war began and continues illegal and immoral. Once I might have said Americans didn't understand Iraqis defending their homeland against "Christian" crusaders, but those responding on this website have had the benefit of BBC news coverage. In spite of that they have naively believed the lies that Iraq threatened the US with WMDs. Ironically, the US heartland voted for Bush at least in part because they view him as a moral Christian. I ask Christians, whom would Jesus attack in this situation?
John, Arcata, CA

Diplomacy has not worked in the past nor is there a high probability it work in the future. Falluja needs to be taken convincingly and quickly. This could be the tipping point in our campaign
Mike, London, England

I have a fear that Falluja will be subject to assault by the US troops, and the rebels will melt away. We have seen this before in Afghanistan. I hope I am wrong, but there will surely be many lives lost in this sort of assault on a city.
Peter, Southampton, UK

Bring ceasefire to Falluja and continue the talks with the elders in Falluja
Omer Bin Fateh, Pakistan

We don't have to liberate Falluja because it is a part of Iraq and people living there are Iraqis too. Bring ceasefire to Falluja and continue the talks with the elders in Falluja; give them money, medicines, food etc. As a last resort give them weapons to fight with the help of the Iraqi army against the bad people in Falluja.
Omer Bin Fateh, Pakistan

The assault is necessary if peace is to be achieved. Falluja is a base for terrorists, so if they lost it, it will be a big step upward to peace.
Aissa El Hakioui, Zagora, Morocco

The city of Falluja is controlled by terrorists, foreign fighters and Baathist rebels. This situation cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely. If they will not disarm voluntarily, then they must be made to. Only then can there be peace in Iraq.
Tim, Gillingham, UK

Patience, love and understanding with diplomatic strategies have always won on war of ideologies
Mufassil Islam, London, UK

Force never won anything. Patience, love and understanding with diplomatic strategies have always won on war of ideologies. Soviet Union saw the victory over Communism through ideological struggle and strategies and history never forgive oppressors. Mongolians and Germans of this generation still bear the scars of their oppressive leaders. If we love our children, we must not forget our responsibilities.

Civilisations are like heartbeats! One powerful nation has always been replaced by another. None of us should create reasons to have long-standing animosities amongst ethnically and culturally different peoples. A nation will never be able to unite the whole world in one culture or faith through pressure. Ottoman empire is gone but the hatred amongst various nations and their citizens against their oppressions still live on.
Mufassil Islam, London, UK

It is the duty of America to help the Iraqi government regain Falluja
Joel, Trinidad

This assault on Falluja should have taken place a while ago. You can't have the people of Falluja living in a lawless city governed by terrorists and criminals. The Coalition tried other means to peacefully get Falluja back, but they failed. A military solution is the only choice left. You can't blame the US for this assault, because they already tried peaceful negotiations. It is the duty of America to help the Iraqi government regain Falluja.
Joel, Trinidad

Today, an Iraqi is someone who either supports the liberators or just keeps quiet and hasn't been hit by a precision weapon strike. Everyone else is classified as insurgent, Shia militiaman, Sunni militiaman, rebel, etc. With these definitions in place, attacking the headquarters of Sunni triangle is justified. Don't forget to count the deaths of insurgents there!
Kaleem Khan, Delhi, India

There will not be peace in Iraq as long as we are there. Peace is not brought about at the end of a gun, or a bomb falling from a plane. Over a 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians would tell you that if they were still alive. At the end of the day I agree with Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Anon

I am sure the people of Falluja will be remembered as heroes by future generations of Iraqis
Jamal, Damascus, Syria

The people of Falluja don't want to live under foreign occupation. And regardless of what many in the West think it's not an honour to be occupied by the United States. This reminds me of the times that Briton and France occupied the region. They acted just as the USA is acting now and the people who resisted them or died trying to free their land are remembered as heroes by our generation. Just like I am sure the people of Falluja will be remembered as heroes by future generations of Iraqis.
Jamal, Damascus, Syria

It's time for the Iraqi people to take charge and step forward and assist the coalition. The sooner the better, outside agitators are neutralized, the sooner coalition work is done. Ordinary Iraqis have become the main target of these outsiders, that only kill, just to kill, and offer nothing towards Iraq and its future.
Ralph Kimball, USA

There should be an assault on Falluja. The insurgents have proven time and again that they are not capable of responding to anything other than lethal force. The US marines have shown remarkable restraint by not flattening the city months ago but enough is enough. Every chance at diplomacy has ended in lies, betrayal and insults from the insurgents who hide in Holy shrines like rats. I do not believe there is the least bit of honesty or honour in their hearts. If the UN does not approve of the US methods why don't they send troops to Iraq and show us how it is done? They have such a wonderful track record in Africa after all.
John, San Antonio, TX, USA

Yes, the Iraqi government exhausted and used different ways to avert this
Jim, Alberta, Canada

Yes, the Iraqi government exhausted and used different ways to avert this, but failed because they are dealing with terrorists, by the standards of the Iraqi people themselves, not just the government. In addition to this, if these groups are responsible for killing of civilians everyday, and they are, then the corrective action is to eliminate them and help the Iraqi people, and the world, as these people have come to Iraq from different Arab countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and others to fight the US, British and other troops that helped liberate the country.
Jim, Alberta, Canada

I think they (the invaders) are trying to bite more than they can chew, they should just respect themselves and pull out of that country for the sake of peace.
Yinka Badmus, Lagos, Nigeria.

We have seen how Iraq was "liberated", now we hear about Falluja being "liberated". I fully agree with UN Secretary General. The assault in Falluja will only lead to death, destruction and finally breed more hatred and also terrorists.
Bolte, Sweden

What other option is there?
Brian, Kansas City, USA

What other option is there? Either the city is retaken, or the Iraqi government has a perpetual Baathist/al-Qaeda base in its own backyard. That doesn't sound like a recipe for a free, stable Iraq.
Brian, Kansas City, USA

It is interesting that this attack was held off until after the US elections. That being said, the decision will be made and again we will have to stand back helpless and watch. The blame for civilian deaths has already been blamed in advance on the insurgents by Iraqi officials; I heard one saying so just today on Public radio in the US. Therefore that must mean that they (the interim government, the US and UK) will be blameless in any action taken. The truth is that they are putting down uprising in just the same way as others, who they censure, with violence and death.
M Clark, UK/US

What did the invasion of Iraq achieved so far for the Iraqi people noting but death and misery. What did it achieved to world peace and war on terror? From last Tuesday presidential election you can tell what kind of a language the American like to use, I think the American are not capable of solving any thing in this world peacefully.
Vian, US

Kofi Annan is right on. I wonder why no-one listens to the UN Secretary General. Peace by means of war never works. Both sides have to sit down and negotiate their differences. All this assault is going to do is evaporate Falluja from the face of the earth. Resistance will mushroom from somewhere else. How many cities the US willing to evaporate?
Asif, Boston, USA

Don't you think that should be a decision for the Iraqi government and the commanders on the ground? We shouldn't be interfering politically with operations on the ground from the comfort of our sofas. While we soapbox we are making our troops targets for terrorists.
Kevin, Ayrshire, UK

Mr Annan's comments, that going ahead in Falluja would alienate ordinary Iraqis and disrupt the elections, begs the question: What happens if we don't end this insurgency? Mr Annan's thinking is not results-oriented. One wonders if he has any idea how to bring elections to the Iraqis given the intention of the anti-liberationists to prevent them.
Andrea, NY, USA

When did the Americans ever take any notice of anything the UN says? Bush has placed himself and his country outside of the UN by waging an illegal war in the first place; so Kofi Annan's words will fall on deaf (American) ears.
Paul A, London, England

There has been more than enough time for a peaceful negotiation
Tracy Boehrer, OKC, USA

It's a simple fact that a rogue city cannot be allowed to launch attacks on the Iraqi government/coalition forces. In order to enforce the rule of law, and move toward stability, the insurgents must be put down. There has been more than enough time for a peaceful negotiation, with the insurgents continually promoting violence.
Tracy Boehrer, OKC, USA

Imagine you are a kid of 14-years and you see your family being killed by a lost US bomb. How would you react? Wouldn't you dedicate your life to get revenge and kill Americans? I believe it has happened thousands of times since the invasion of Iraq. The US are creating terrorists. As I have read already on this site, trying to eradicate terrorism is like trying to eradicate crime. It certainly can't be done by violence and that's what Kofi Annan means.
Xavier, France

Allawi has demonstrated with his spectator comments that he really is appointed by Bush administration.
Istvan Hunanui, Chisinau, Moldova

Yes, the path to elections and a free Iraq society is through the elimination of terror. Having said that wouldn't it be ironic if the attack of Falluja occurred and there happened to be no foreign fighters, or terrorists? This would be just as embarrassing as the failure to find Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Chris McLeod, Houston, USA

Do the people of Falluja really need another assault? What are the demands of the supposedly recalcitrant elements in this city? In any media source Falluja has been described as restive and a host to terrorists. What happens when we cut through that myopic discourse and truly ask, "What do the people of Falluja want?" I think the answer would align with many people who post on this site.

Who doesn't want sovereignty, peace, freedom, food, shelter, etc? Where are these freedom haters? Is it that they hate us and our ways of life or that theirs have not been given proper address? After this long string of questions I am compelled to mention the fact that there will be inordinate amounts of death and human misery on both sides.
Arbash, TX, USA

Since when does an African gentleman know more about a country than an Iraqi gentleman who lives there? The Iraqi Prime Minister is the interim leader of that country - why would the UN interfere? I think Kofi Annan was out of line on this one and the Prime Minister should do what he thinks is best. If he gives the order to go in, the Coalition and Iraqi troops will execute the order and rightfully so. It is comments like these that keep upheaval going in Iraq. Instead of Mr Annan stirring the Iraq pot, he should be stirring the oil for food and sex scandal pots.
Sharon, Grove City, USA






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