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U.S. Gives Leaders in Falluja a Chance to End the Insurgency

After days of talks and threats of a military showdown, American officials agreed Monday to call off an offensive in the flash point city of Falluja if civic leaders can persuade insurgents there to turn in their heavy weapons. The agreement was the first firm sign that at least one of two serious standoffs with anti-American insurgents — in Falluja, west of the capital, and in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, to the south — might be resolved peacefully. But the possibility of renewed fighting in Falluja remained real, as United States officials expressed skepticism that Iraqi civic leaders could actually persuade the insurgents to disarm. “There is a big question about whether or not they can deliver, and that remains to be seen,” Dan Senor, a spokesman for the American-led civilian administration, said Monday. “And we have been very clear that time is running out. There’s only so much longer we can continue this process before we have to re-engage and reinitiate operations.” Full Story

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