On the road to Fallujah, scenes reminiscent of WW II

At this moment, there is a large offensive underway in Iraq to re-take the town of Fallujah from ISIS, who have held it for more than two years.

To report on that battle, Vice News embedded with the Iraqi special operations forces to get an unbelievably harrowing view of what the war is like inside Iraq. You can watch the video here.

Soldier of the Iraqi Security Forces.
Vice News
If you’ll watch it, you’ll not only see the Vice correspondent get saved by some bulletproof glass, you’ll also see many indications of why it’s going to be so difficult for Iraq and its allies to win this war.

After “liberating” several towns around Fallujah, the Iraqi security forces then try to determine who was a collaborator and who was not.

But telling friend from enemy is not so easy, as many of the Iraqi security forces belong to the Shia sect of Islam, while almost all the residents in the area are Sunni Muslims. And those two sects are basically hostile to each other in that region of the world.

So in scenes reminiscent of the Liberation of Holland during the Second World War, civilians crowd onto the streets, tipping off security forces about who collaborated and who didn’t.

Joyful Dutch civilians and Canadian soldiers celebrate the liberation of Utrecht, May 7, 1945.
Collaborators are rounded up and detained. There is casual brutality as these people are singled out, and certainly there is the sense that justice is going to be swift and almost arbitrary.

How Iraq’s largely Shia security forces will manage to hold Fallujah when the population views them with hostility as well–that’s an open question.

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