Winning: Al Qaeda in Iraq


October 3, 2007: After a year of ever increasing violence against Iraqi civilians, the Islamic terrorists have gone into decline over the Summer. Civilian deaths in September were about half what they were in August, and that was after a decline in August compared to July. But the twelve months before that were the most horrendous in Iraqi history. While the Shia death squads became more active, the Sunni Arab terrorists kept using spectacular car and truck bomb attacks against civilians (mostly Shia). Sunni Arab death squads, especially from al Qaeda, increased their attacks on Sunni Arab leaders who were backing away from supporting the Sunni Arab terror campaign.

The Sunni Arab terrorist campaign, an attempt to regain control of the country, has been disastrous for the Iraqi Sunni Arabs. There were about five million of them in 2003, when their leader, Saddam Hussein, was overthrown. Since then, about half have fled the country, while over 60,000 have been killed. Neighboring Sunni Arab nations have also backed away from support for the Iraqi Sunnis. The majority population in Iraq, the Shia and Kurds, have long hated the Sunni Arabs, and that hatred only grew as Sunni Arab terrorists increased their attacks over the last four years. Now, even the Sunni Arab community, or at least most of it, has turned on the terrorists. For example, a recent peace treaty in Diyala province, between the government and the tribal leaders, included 11 Sunni, six Shia and three Kurdish tribes. About half the 1.6 million population of the province belong to these 20 tribes. Diyala is a largely Sunni Arab area northeast of Baghdad. Long a stronghold of Sunni Arab nationalism, and support for Sunni Arab terrorists, the peace deal has broken the back of that terrorist support. A year ago, it would have been suicide for a Sunni tribal elder to come out in support of the government. Such a move is still dangerous, but now it's considered a risky, but wise, course of action.

Meanwhile, terrorist communications (phone calls, emails, captured letters) indicate increasing desperation. Al Qaeda has lost half its leadership this year, and the replacements find themselves struggling just to stay alive in the face increasing activity by American and Iraqi troops.

What hit the Iraqi terrorists was a perfect storm of misfortune. The years of attacks had left the Americans with a huge database of information on who the terrorists were, and how they operated. With that, the terrorists were easier to track and run down. By 2007, most of the American troops in Iraq had been there before. They were combat experienced, and this made their raids, patrols and searches more rapid, thorough and effective. Same with Iraqi troops and police. Finally, the sending of 30,000 additional American troops created a critical level of forces for running down and smashing entire terrorist networks. Each province contained several of these, and as the Summer wore on, the lights began to go out. Week by week, terrorist cells and networks went offline. No one could reach them, and that's because the members were either dead, or fled.

Recently, al Qaeda communications have been referring to the "Iraq problem." In other words, "how are we going to spin our defeat in Iraq." Good question. The answer will soon be revealed.


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