As ISIS is driven out of Anbar province, its cities now resemble bombed-out wastelands

BuzzFeed reports: Pandemonium erupted on the bridge that leads into the central Iraqi city of Fallujah. A woman in a black, all-covering niqab, sitting in a minibus with her six kids, screamed at the uniformed security forces at the checkpoint, trying to strike them through the window.

“The Islamic State lives!” she cried out, after exchanging insults with soldiers and police officers. “Iraq is gone! But the Islamic State lives. If I had weapons, I would kill you all!”

It was a sunny autumn day late last year, and the checkpoint was clogged with vehicles, each one from a different security force, vying for position and control of the crossing. We had been waiting for half an hour to get through when the row broke out, our police escorts struggling to convince the suspicious soldiers and intelligence officials to allow our car to cross into the city, the second largest in Iraq’s Anbar province, notorious as the center of insurgent activity during the US occupation.

The cops, soldiers, and spies fought to bring the angry woman and her family under control. “Stay in the car!” one officer ordered.

The source of her anger was a kangaroo court held a few hours earlier, when her husband had been found guilty of being a leading member of ISIS. Khalil Ibrahim Jumeili and his family had been attempting to return to Fallujah, a Sunni city around 45 miles west of Baghdad, when they were stopped at a checkpoint on the other side of town. Jumeili told authorities he was a guard at a school in the nearby town of Karma. He said his family had been living in a camp for displaced people north of Baghdad and were now trying to return to their home, among the hundreds of families trickling back into the largely destroyed city. [Continue reading…]

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