The city that was one of the bloodiest battles of the American war in Iraq has now fallen to our enemies as al-Qaeda has reportedly captured the city of Fallujah.
The Washington Post is reporting that an al-Qaeda affiliated force has raised its flag over government buildings and declared an Islamic state in the city. The defeat for Iraqi forces comes after both sides have been engaged in intense fighting for days for control of the area.
If al-Qaeda is able to maintain its hold on the city it would wipe out the victory obtained by U.S. Marines during the battle for Fallujah, which was one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war. During the battle, the Marines were forced to fight house to house in a way reminiscent of the German defeat at Stalingrad during World War II. However, unlike the Germans, the Marines achieved victory at a great cost.
Of the 4,486 U.S. troops killed in Iraq, nearly a third died in the Anbar province, where Fallujah is in order to defeat al-Qaeda with nearly 100 dead in the fight for the city itself.
Following President Obama’s promise to end the war in Iraq and pull American troops out, the Iraqi government has been in constant fighting against al-Qaeda and other Islamic militants for control of the country.
When the troop pullout was announced Christians in Iraq expressed concern over their safety from Muslim militants.
While there were an estimated 1.6 million Christians in Iraq 15 years ago prior to the troop withdrawal, today there are less than 400,000. Many of them were forced to flee to neighboring countries, despite the presence of U.S. forces in the region.
At the time Patrick Mahoney, president of the Christian Defense Coalition expressed concern for the Christian minority saying the administration would bear the responsibility if Islamic militants took over the country and killed Christians.
“The truth is, if the Obama Administration does not confront this crushing of human rights and religious freedom in Iraq the public expression of Christianity will be exterminated in that country,” he said. “If that happens, the United States will have to shoulder much of the blame because our military intervention into Iraq created an environment for this horrible religious persecution.”
In the years following the U.S. war in Iraq, the country has ranked in the top 10 countries along with Afghanistan with the worst records of Christian persecution by Open Doors USA, an organization devoted to documenting Christian persecution around the world.