Neither the American military nor the Iraqi security forces have a firm grip on Ramadi, Fallujah's "sister city:"
While Ramadi is not exactly a "no go" zone for the marines, like the insurgent stronghold of Falluja 30 miles to the east, officers say it is fast slipping in that direction. In the last six weeks, guerrillas have stepped up the pace of assassinations of Iraqis working with the Americans, and marine officials say they suspect Iraqi security officers have been helping insurgents to attack their troops.Infiltration of the Iraqi security forces resurfaces:
Reconstruction efforts have ground to a halt because no local contractors are willing to work. NYT
Even worse, they say, the local forces sometimes aid the insurgency. Marines arrested the police chief of Anbar Province in August on charges of corruption, and Lieutenant Schranel said Iraqi National Guardsmen were suspected of helping insurgents blow up a veterans' building that marines were using as an observation post.The CSM reportedMonday that "efforts to pacify the city of Samarra suggest that Iraqi military participation is crucial to legitimize any offensive and maintain stability afterward. Aware of this key role, insurgents took bloody aim at Iraq's fledgling armed forces this weekend."
Colonel Newman said the only effective Iraqi troops in Ramadi are 80 or so Iraqi Special Forces soldiers from elsewhere in the country. They live at battalion headquarters and are used for specific operations like mosque raids, not day-to-day security.
On a recent afternoon, two Iraqi National Guardsmen at a checkpoint at the government center watched as a group of marines walked up. "Here come the sons of dogs," one guardsman said to an Iraqi reporter.
Next door, in police headquarters, Iraqi officers tossed around conspiracy theories.
"The Americans gave us nothing more than AK-47's so they could stay in Iraq for a long time," Lt. Abdul-Latif Salim said. "The resistance has the right to fight the occupation. It's an obligation for every Muslim. The Allawi government has no power." NYT
Apparently, as the pressure has increased on Fallujah, insurgents have simply relocated to Ramadi. Last weeks stories on Fallujah "emptying out" look decidedly more ominous.