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Fallujah Awakens: Marines, Sheikhs, and the Battle Against Al Qaedaby Bill Ardolino
Synopses & Reviews
The cradle of an insurgency that plunged Iraq into years of chaos and bloodshed, Fallujah conjures up images of the brutal house-to-house fighting that occurred during the 2004 U.S. invasion of the iconic city. But attacks in the area actually peaked two years later, when American and Iraqi government forces struggled with a reinvigorated insurgency and the prospect of premature withdrawal by U.S. forces. Fallujah Awakens tells the story of the remarkable turnaround that followed. Journalist Bill Ardolino explains how local tribal leaders and U.S. Marines forged a surprising alliance that helped secure the famous battleground. It is one of the few books to recount events from both American and Iraqi perspectives.
Based on more than 120 interviews with Iraqis and U.S. Marines, Ardolino describes how a company of reservists, led by a medical equipment sales manager from Michigan, succeeded where previous efforts had stalled. Circumstance combined with smart, charismatic leadership enabled Americans to build relationships with members of a Sunni tribe--once written off as dangerous and intractable-- who pushed al Qaeda and other insurgents from their notoriously rebellious area.
Accidental killings, intertribal rivalries, insurgents, and intrigue all conspired to undo the tenuous alliance forged between the Americans and tribesmen on Fallujah's Peninsula. But the partnership was cemented after a Marine commander's risky decision to welcome nearly 100 injured civilians onto a secure American facility after a ruthless chemical attack by al Qaeda.
The book's gripping storyline will appeal to readers of historical nonfiction. Its exhaustive documentation will prove valuable to military students, analysts, and historians and will help policy makers better understand what is possible in counterinsurgency. Photographs and maps further enhance the reader's understanding of everything from tribal dynamics to the geography of firefights.
"Headlines trumpeted the 2004 Battle of Fallujah, when Marines defeated Iraqi insurgents and al-Qaeda fighters in brutal urban battle, but few reports noted that rebels soon returned and resumed their attacks. An embedded reporter at the time, Ardolino (associate editor of the Long War Journal) delivers a brilliant, detailed description of events in 2007, when Marines, tribal leaders, and local Iraqis worked together to again eject the insurgents — hopefully, this time, permanently. The author is wise to remind readers that al-Qaeda was never terribly popular in Iraq; it espoused a form of Islam considered violent and unfamiliar, 'even by conservative Fallujan standards,' and its success required vicious retaliation against uncooperative Iraqis. Even so, many refused to help the radical group, opting instead to side with American forces for a variety of personal and political reasons. Ardolino describes one Marine battalion near Fallujah that achieved remarkable success by enlisting the aid of an ambitious young sheikh nicknamed 'Dark.' Combining eye-witness accounts of political frustrations, the dangers of the 'irrepressible and deadly creativity' of insurgents, and sympathetic portraits of the locals, Ardolino's is an outstanding account of the winding down of a resoundingly unpopular war. 15 b&w photos, 4 maps. (May 15)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Although the United States plays a leading role in the development of technology, particularly that used by militaries around the world, the U.S. military nonetheless continues to find itself struggling against lower-tech foes that conduct warfare on a different scale. Emerging technology is indeed available and is regularly employed in American counterinsurgency efforts; however, since it is also constantly in flux, strategies for its use must continually evolve to ensure that available resources are put to best use against disparate enemies.
Counterinsurgency operations are inherently political conflicts, and in The Role and Limitations of Technology in U.S. Counterinsurgency Warfare, Richard W. Rubright addresses the limits and constraints of technology in enhancing American military capability. Analyzing the confines and self-imposed restrictions on the use of technology as well as current military doctrine, he develops a new rubric for guiding the military in modern warfare.
Drawing on textual analysis, personal interviews with international military professionals, and firsthand experience on the ground in Iraq, this book is the first to address the role of technology in counterinsurgency operations within operational, tactical, and strategic contexts.
About the Author
Bill Ardolino is an associate editor of The Long War Journal. He was embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, the Iraqi Army, and the Iraqi Police in Fallujah, Habbaniyah, and Baghdad in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and later with U.S. and Afghan forces in Kabul, Helmand and Khost provinces in Afghanistan. His reports, columns, and photographs have received wide media exposure and have been cited in a number of academic publications. He lives in Washington, DC.
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History and Social Science » Military » Iraq War (2003-)