Rebels fight U.S. to Iraq standoff
Monday, August 29 2005 @ 09:23 AM PDT

Breaking NewsAL-FALLUJAH, Iraq — Insurgents in Al- Anbar province, the center of guerrilla resistance in Iraq, have fought the U.S. military to a stalemate.


By Tom Lasseter
Knight Ridder

AL-FALLUJAH, Iraq — Insurgents in Al- Anbar province, the center of guerrilla resistance in Iraq, have fought the U.S. military to a stalemate.

After repeated major combat offensives in Al-Fallujah and Ar-Ramadi, and after losing hundreds of soldiers and Marines in Al-Anbar during the past two years — including 75 since June 1 — many American officers and enlisted men assigned to Al-Anbar have stopped talking about winning a military victory in Iraq’s Sunni Muslim heartland.

Instead, they’re trying to hold on to a handful of population centers and hit smaller towns in a series of quick-strike operations designed to disrupt insurgent activities temporarily.

“I don’t think of this in terms of winning,” said Col. Stephen Davis, who commands a task force of about 5,000 Marines in an area of some 24,000 square miles in the western portion of Al-Anbar. Instead, he said, his Marines are fighting a war of attrition.

“The frustrating part for the audience, if you will, is they want finality,” Davis said. “They want a fight for the town, and in the end the guy with the white hat wins.”

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