January 2, 2014 3:35 pm -

Al Qaeda is threatening the peace in Falluja and Ramadi, major battle areas during the Iraq war. They are occupying mosques, freeing prisoners from jail, and torching police stations. Here’s another reason to mourn the wasted lives of Americans who went to fight a senseless war for trumped-up reasons. One could even make a case that it was a more stable country under Saddam Hussein.

Dressed in black and waving the flag of Al Qaeda, the militants put out calls over mosque loudspeakers for men to join their struggle in both cities in western Anbar province, which were hugely important battlegrounds during the 2003-2011 American-led war in Iraq and remain hotbeds of Sunni extremism.

The fighting in Ramadi and Falluja had implications that extended beyond Anbar’s borders, as the Sunni militants fought beneath the same banner as the most hard-line jihadists in Syria — the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS..

As Iraq descended in to civil war during the American occupation, the epicenter of the unrest was in the desert region of Anbar, a restive cradle Sunni discontent where swaggering tribesmen defied authority even under Saddam Hussein. American forces fought some of the most intense battles of the war in Anbar.

Now, fighting has flared again, with heavy battles for the fourth straight day on Thursday, heightening fears that Iraq is descending in to the type of sectarian civil war that it once faced and is currently raging in Syria.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.