Attrition: Al Qaeda Fades From Iraq

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August 23, 2007: Al Qaeda doesn't issue many press releases about its casualties, and for good reason. The Iraqi government recently announced that it had killed over half the civilian leadership of al Qaeda, and in the last few months, three senior al Qaeda military commanders have been killed. As a result of all this, al Qaeda tries to keep the identities of its senior military guys secret, as Iraqi and American intelligence is quick to track down any al Qaeda big shot that is identified.

But the most compelling bit of new on al Qaedas demise in Iraq is the changing composition of the hostiles there. At the beginning of the year, about 70 percent of terror attacks were by al Qaeda, and their Sunni Arab allies. Now, only about fifty percent of , a lower number of, those attacks are al Qaeda. The rest are Iranian supported Shia Arab groups, who are also trying to establish a religious dictatorship in Iraq (one run by Shias, not by Sunnis, as al Qaeda wants.) Al Qaeda is taking a major beating because so many Sunni Arab tribes have turned on it. Three years ago, al Qaeda formed a coalition with the Sunni Arab tribes, promising that al Qaeda terrorists would put Sunni Arabs back in charge of the country. Few Sunni Arabs still believe that, and consider al Qaeda a murderous nuisance.

Iran has backed Shia Arab militias even before the 2003 invasion. Iranian involvement goes back to the 1980s war with Iraq (and even earlier). One of the reasons for that war (which began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran), was Shia clerics taking over the government in Iran, and announcing their intention to take over the world. While the rest of the world was not too concerned, Saddam Hussein was. That's because most (well, 60 percent back then) of Iraqis are Shia Moslems, just like over 90 percent of Iranians. Iran wanted to influence Iraqi Shias, and convince them (through persuasion or intimidation) to support Iran. Once Saddam was out of the way, Iran went forward with its plan. Islamic radicals in the Iranian government are willing to start another civil war in Iraq to get their way. And that's what's happening now, as U.S. troops go after Iranian supported Iraqi Shias who have been attacking American troops.

 


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