FALLUJAH PART 2 OF 3
The US occupation of Fallujah began in April 2003, one month following the beginning of the invasion. Fallujah was one of the most peaceful areas of the country just after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and the arrival of U.S. soldiers was received peacefully.
However, missteps on both sides caused a spiral of violence, including a siege and two reinvasions of the city by U.S. forces. The city is now largely ruined, with 60% of buildings damaged or destroyed, and a population at 30%-50% of pre-war levels.
Despite the fact that the majority of the residents were Sunni and supported Saddam's rule, Fallujah was one of the most peaceful areas of the country just after his fall. There was very little looting and the new mayor of the city — Taha Bidaywi Hamed, selected by local tribal leaders — was pro-American.
When the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion / 2nd Brigade 82nd Airborne entered the town on April 23, 2003, they positioned themselves at the vacated Ba'ath Party headquarters, a local school house, and the Ba'ath party resort just outside town (Dreamland)— the U.S. bases inside the town erased some goodwill, especially when many in the city had been hoping the U.S. Army would stay outside of the relatively calm city.