The fierce resistance of Fallujah residents has exhausted occupying U.S. Marines (AFP)

By Amir Haidar, IOL Staff

CAIRO, April 25 ( – As a sweeping U.S. invasion appeared imminent, the restive Iraqi town of Fallujah poses an immensely perilous battleground for U.S. Marines with its rugged terrain and the unshakable faith of its residents, who proved strong mettle in the face of occupation.

The current and previous attempts by the overwhelming firepower of the U.S. occupation troops to break the staunch will of Fallujah fighters have proved futile so far.

The clans character with its machismo, bravery and daring initiatives, let alone an exemplary religious harmony, also contributed to the relentless resistance, which grabbed the headlines.

“The clans-style of Fallujah played a key role in beefing up the resistance and steadfastness of its residents,” Walid Al-Zubaidi, an Iraqi analyst, told over the phone.

“Add to that, the historical and psychological background of the clans, a time-honored backdrop that helped stoke up vengeance.”

Among the famous clans in Fallujah are al-Bueisi, al-Buelwan, al-Mahamada and al-Falahat.

Zubaidi said Fallujah, some 50 kilometers from Baghdad, has been in the vanguard of the Iraqi resistance across the occupied Arab country ever since the U.S. troops got a foothold on April 9, 2003.

“The U.S. provocative practices, like the pre-dawn raids on houses, have also added insult to injury,” he added.

The residents are also deeply religious in Fallujah, home to some 300,000 people, mostly Sunnis, and houses 80 mosques.

Surely, the defense of honor, dignity and the motherland conjures up the images of martyrdom.

“There is no other option: either they pay the ultimate sacrifice or emerge triumphant,” Zubaidi said.

The U.S. offensive has claimed the lives of at least 700 Iraqis, mostly women and children, and left up to 1500 others injured in the town who refused to take part in storming the town, objecting the use of overwhelming firepower.

Press reports indicated Sunday, April 25, that a sweeping U.S. invasion of the town is in the offing despite a new ceasefire between the warring parties.

America’s best selling The New York Times, however, warned that the kind of operation now being contemplated is hardly the sort of painful choice the Bush administration anticipated nearly a year after the fall of Baghdad.