Iraq: February 5, 2004


A new Islamic radical group, the "Jaish Ansar al-Sunna," took credit for the recent suicide bombings against Kurdish political parties in northern Iraq. It is feared that the Islamic radicals are trying to terrorize portions of the population into supporting them, and thus providing parts of Iraq where the Islamic radicals could establish bases. While far fetched, it's the kind of idea that is popular in Arab and Moslem countries. The theory is that by attacking Kurdish and Shia leaders, the largely Sunni Arab al Qaeda groups would generate sympathy among Sunni Arab populations. The flaw in this logic is that the Sunni Arabs are a much hated minority (15-20 percent of the population) that lives mostly in central and western Iraq. Once Iraq is governing itself again later this year, the new Iraqi government, dominated by Shia and Kurds (together about 80 percent of the population), would not react calmly or gently to continued violence by radical Sunni Arabs. 


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