President Bush and General Petraeus insist the surge has worked and violence is being reduced in Iraq. Although figures for violence did decrease in the past few months, figures since January of this year reveal an ever increasing rise in the level of suicide bombings. Yesterday, a suicide bomber struck a funeral in northern Iraq killing at least 42 people and wounding dozens. The funeral was for two slain brothers who are working with the local Awakening Council, a group of Sunni Muslim tribesmen who are cooperating with the Americans. The blast was the deadliest since March 6th when a bombing in central Baghdad killed 68. US officials believe al-Qaida militants have moved north after being pushed out of Baghdad and the western province of Anbar.
Part of the dilemma in Iraq is an inability to gain cooperation among the vrious factions which results in Shiite militants fighting Sunni militants and vice versa. The Bush administration, despite rhetoric to the contrary, continues relying most importantly on a military solution when a diplomatic one stands a better chance of creating stability in Iraq.
There is increasing evidence a growing number of foreign fighters are leving Iraq due to serious weakening of al-Qida forces by current military campaigns in the country. Most came to Iraq due to being encouraged to participate in a jihad against western invaders who were attempting to destroy a Muslim society. It is estimated foreign militants constitute about 10% of Al-Qaida’s strength but they may make up to 90% of suicide bombers. Acording to General Keller, a chief intelligence officer in Iraq, “We’re just starting to see more fissures in the morale and leadership of al-Qaida.” The Algerian government recently said they had reports from family members that about 20 Algerians in al-Qaida wanted out of Iraq.
Most of the foreign militants come from young men who were seeking to make their mark in life by doing something heroic. Some became disenchanted upon arrival in Iraq because instead of killing Americans they were asked to kill fellow Muslims. However, many experts warn against becoming too optimistic because most Muslim militant groups are not vertical organizations in which taking out the top leader leads to a collapse. They are resilient and other men will work their way into leadership roles.
These indications point up more vividly the importance of emphasizing economic, political and ideological weapons to combat the militants. They are seeking new avenues for success and the emergence of strong ideological leaders could more probably attract their attention.
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged al-Qaida, foreign fighters, Iraq
There is increasing evidence the Sunni “Awakening Councils’ in Iraq, which are supported by US money, are feeling pressure from members of the Iraq Shiite government that may eventually result in an outbreak of violence between the oppposing groups. Sunni tribal leaders who oppose al-Qaida claim they are becoming the target of Shiite militias as well as their al-Qaida foes. There is no doubt the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opposed the formation of the Awakening Councils and is dneying them financial support or recognition. According to Thamer al-Tamimi, one of the Council’s top leaders, the Sunni militia groups are under threat due to the upsurge in volence directed at their leaders and offices. Several recent al-Qaida car bombings were directed at these leaders.
There are moments when discussing Bush policies in Iraq when one can only wonder if anyone is in charge of the process. General Petraeus has led an American military effort to bring peace to Baghdad, but there are still many areas in Iraq where the level of violence is still high. From day one of the Iraq war there has been a failure to develop an overall long term plan for peace in the country.
A vivid example of the confusion surrounding Iraq policy is the recent agreement between Baghdad’s Mayor Saber al-Aisawia and the Iranian government for assistance in upgrading the level of municipal services. On one hand, Bush threatens Iran, on the other hand, the Iraqi government works with it. Is anyone in charge?
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged al-Qaida, Awakening Councils, Iran, Iraq, Shiite, Sunnis
The head of Britain’s M15 agency, Jonathan Evans, claimed al-Qaeda was educating Muslim children in England to engage in terrorist acts. He said the number of people in England identified as having terrorist links had risen from 1600 to 200. “Terrorist attacks we have seen against the UK are not simply random plots by disparate and fragmented groups” but are the result of planning by al-Qaeda. He went on to warn, “As I speak, terrorists methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country.” He pointed out the police are encountering adolescent children engaged in terrorism.
Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups undoubtedly recruit young people, but the real question is why are they successful in such efforts? A major factor is failure within England to provide education and job opportunities for disaffected young people. The United States has done an excellent job of integrating Muslim immigrants and providing economic and social opportunities for them to achieve their desires. Surely, this is the best weapon against al-Qaeda?
Posted in Education, Human Rights, Iraq War, Islam, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, UK, War, World News
Tagged al-Qaida, British intelligence, England youth, M15, terrorism
Geneal Petraeus indicated there had been significant progress in reducing the al-Qaida presence in certain areas of Baghdad. Although there has been a reduction in violence, Petraeus indicated, al-Qaida remained a “very dangerous and very lethal enemy.” There were car bombings in Baghdad and ten tribal leaders, who had arrived in Baghdad for meetings regarding their efforts to cooperate with the US and the Iraq government, were kidnapped and most probably will meet with harm from al-Qaida. General Petraeus also noted in several provinces of Iraq although the violence has declined, there is an atmosphere in which a “focus on crime and on extortion has been ongoing.”
A major issue connected with the “surge” is how long will American forces remain in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. A possibility for the reduction in violence may stem from al-Aqida remaining quiet in order to wait out the American departure before resuming their attacks.
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Multicultural, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged al-Qaida, Iraq, Petraeus, US military