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Iraq: Why The Most Important Stuff Is Not Reported
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June 13, 2007: The terrorists have changed tactics, and so has the United States, and that says much about where the battle for Iraq is going. There are fewer bombs going off in Baghdad, so the bombers are trying to make each one count more. Thus, in the last week, three truck bombs took out bridges and overpasses, seeking to make life miserable for an many Iraqis as possible. This is because, despite all the dismal news from Iraq, what doesn't get reported is that most of the country is quiet, and there has been 4-5 percent growth in the overall economy for the past four years. Actually, there was a huge jump in economic growth, about 40 percent, in the year after Saddam fell. That has now settled down. Anyone who has been to Iraq, particularly American soldiers, can't help but notice the traffic jams, shops full of goods, and all those Iraqis walking around with their new cell phones. Yes, it's a war zone, but it's also a growing economy.

The Terrorists are also trying to get through to Shia religious shrines, as part of the al Qaeda strategy to enrage the Shia enough to cause a civil war in Iraq. To that end, a second successful attack was made on the Shia Golden Mosque was made, bringing down the two minarets (which are a distance from the golden dome of the mosque itself.) This has enraged Shia, but that is not making much difference. The Iraqi army and police are mostly Shia, with a Kurdish minority. The Shia security forces regularly terrorize Sunni Arab civilians, and encourage them to leave mixed (with Shia or Kurds) neighborhoods, and either leave the country, or move back to wholly Sunni Arab areas, like the Baghdad suburbs, or western Iraq. Iraqis Sunni Arab neighbors have already told the terrorists, publicly and privately, that they will not come to their aid. At least not as long as the Americans are there. The Arabs can count, and note that for each American soldier killed, at least ten of the attackers die.

Another new terrorist tactic, which is already backfiring, is the threat to execute soldiers and police that have been captured. This would mean videos on the web of Iraqi soldiers and cops getting their heads cut off. That goes over real well with Iraqi civilians. who are already very anti-terrorist. Even most Sunni Arabs are fed up with the pointless (it hasn't accomplished anything in four years) terrorism. As a result, most Sunni Arab tribal and religious leaders have made, or are negotiating, deals with the government, or American combat commanders directly. In Sunni Arab areas, it's become quite common to see tribal gunmen fighting it out with terrorist gangs, especially foreign ones allies to al Qaeda.

The Shia take if for granted that they are now in charge, and are maneuvering among themselves to see who will have the most power, and loot. Corruption and lack of civic spirit continue to be the biggest problems in Iraq. This sort of thing does not make loud noises, so does not get into the mass media much. But what is done about corruption, will have more to do with Iraqs future, than the battle with terrorists.

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