“At the moment, there is no presence of the Iraqi state in Fallujah,” said a local journalist who asked not to be named because he fears for his safety. “The police and the army have abandoned the city, al-Qaeda has taken down all the Iraqi flags and burned them, and it has raised its own flag on all the buildings.”The article makes no mention of President Obama or anyone in the Obama administration. What is our response?
At Friday prayers, held outdoors and attended by thousands of people, a masked ISIS fighter took the podium and addressed the crowd, declaring the establishment of an “Islamic emirate” in Fallujah and promising to help residents fight the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Iranian allies....
Most residents of Fallujah do not support the al-Qaeda fighters, the journalist there said, but they also lack the means to oppose them, and they also oppose the Iraqi government.
ADDED: Here's the corresponding story in the NYT.
The group’s fighters cut power lines in Falluja late in the day and ordered residents not to use their backup generators. In one area of Falluja, a militant said over a mosque loudspeaker: “We are God’s rule on Earth! No one can defeat God’s will!”Also this:
The group advanced hours after a short period of calm had returned to the city, where the traffic police and street cleaners resumed work during the day and mosque loudspeakers exhorted stores to reopen so hungry residents could buy food.
The calm evaporated when the militants appeared at the close of Friday Prayer — which had been moved by local imams to a public park, away from the combat zones — and seized the stage, waving the Qaeda flag and daring the authorities to evict them.
“We declare Falluja as an Islamic state, and we call on you to be on our side!” one fighter shouted to the crowd, according to witness accounts.
The fighting that has been going on for days has proved to be a crucial test for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government, which is facing an escalating Sunni-led insurgency that threatens to tear the country apart. The unrest and the seeming inability of the Iraqi government forces, who were trained and equipped by the United States at a cost of billions of dollars, to quell it underscores the steady deterioration of Iraq’s security since the last American troops left two years ago.