The interim government in Iraq has declared a 60-day state of emergency which covers the whole country, except the Kurdish north.
The prime minister, Iyad Allawi, said the decision would send a powerful message that the government was committed to holding elections in January and was determined to secure the country beforehand.
American and Iraqi forces made their first moves into Falluja overnight, ahead of a major offensive on the restive city.
What can the Iraqi government achieve with a state of emergency? Should there be an assault on Falluja? How can violence in Iraq be halted? Send us your views using the postform
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
State of emergency will achieve nothing, if not more casualties. Iraq has already in emergency, even without state announcement. Bush should be held responsible for all the mess.
Danty, Jakarta, Indonesia
I think it's difficult to win this situation in Falluja because the Iraqi people do not want to be controlled by Americans. They view PM Allawi as an appointment by George Bush, he's not their choice. The decision to attack Falluja is similar to us unilaterally bombing Iraq to begin with. We had no legitimate reason to start this war, and no legal right to kill over 100,000 of their people. Falluja is an Iraqi demonstration against a government they don't want. How can we blame them? Half the people in America don't want to be controlled by George Bush either.
Dick Williams, Nashville, USA
It is very difficult, or impossible for the free world to get rid of terrorists due to human rights protection. The only government that can wipe out terrorists completely are communist or dictatorship countries. USA cannot or will not able to take care of terrorists around the world.
Vincent To, USA
Iraq has been a state of emergency since the shock and awe bombing campaign begun. Allawi, with the direction of US forces is imposing a state of emergency to create fear and use it as a tool of suppression.
Todd, Johnstown, Ohio
They're declaring a state of emergency now? Did they not notice that there has been a war going on for 2 years? What a redundant reaction. This is a propaganda attempt by the US puppeteers to make us believe that everything was just fine and dandy in Iraq. And then all of a sudden there is a state of emergency? They will achieve nothing by declaring a state of emergency, especially since they still have no infrastructure left to deal with the state of affairs at hand. Mr. Allawi is impotent without the United States and their great imperial dream.
Meghan Myres, Canada
The Washington Post reports offers from Sunni leaders to negotiate peaceful elections without further devastation by US military. I don't know why the hell we haven't taken them up on their offer to talk. George Bush and his group are not good for the world.
Bernice Vetsch, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Very sad for civilians who have nowhere to go. Killings civilians results in the creation of more terrorists. The military will also face a high death toll, but they don't seem concerned as they voted for GW. So who cares?
Michele, San Diego, CA, USA
I feel strongly that there should be an all out assault on Falluja. The Iraqi government and its allies have given the insurgents ample time and plenty of opportunities to make this a peaceful solution. The insurgents have made it abundantly clear that there can be no other option. Enough is enough.
Ali, New Haven, Connecticut
There is now no choice. Falluja has to be sorted out, otherwise the internal security conflict will escalate into a Civil War. The New Iraqi Army is currently unable to take on such an action without external military and political support. Do it now and hopefully the crises will die down enough to allow Coalition troops to be withdrawn back to their home countries.
Richard Of, York, UK
I fear that an assault of Falluja will be a repeat of the bombing of Dresden in Germany during the 2nd world war. Total destruction of the City and its civilian population. Shame on USA and Britain.
Jeff Hayes, UK
Peace in Iraq will only be achieved when there are enough US/Iraqi troops in the country for every block of every city. A major flaw of the overall occupation-not enough troops. If we are to have a independent-democratic country, we should use the examples of Japan and Germany occupation. If we'd only learn from history? Then again only history will tell if Bush/Rumsfeld were right or wrong. Therefore, clean up the towns, setup Marshal law, take the weapons away from every citizen, and close the borders! Let the Generals run the war, not the UN. This will keep the insurgents out and bring security to the country.
Mike, Monrovia, USA