Iraq: July 6, 2004

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Iraqs interim government sees foreign interference as the major cause of current security problems. There is al Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, from Jordan. While Jordan is a friend of Iraq, many Jordanians are not. Al-Zarqawi is seen as particularly nasty, because his suicide bombs have killed hundreds of Iraqis, and few foreigners. But the Iraqis are making a major stink about interference from Iran and Syria. Iran has always considered itself the leader of Shia Moslems world-wide (even though the chief Shia holy places are in Iraq.) Worse, conservative Shia clerics in Iran have a stranglehold on the Iranian government, and use their control of the Iranian security services and military to bankroll Iraqi Shia leaders who would support an Islamic republic in Iraq. But most Iraqi Shia are not interested in an Islamic republic. This makes Iranian interference doubly unpopular. Syrias Baath Party has a decades old feud with the Iraqi Baath Party over who would control the party. Moreover, the Baath Party was originally conceived as an organization that would unite all Arab nations in a secular empire. But at the moment, Syria appears to want democracy to fail in Iraq, lest Syrians get ideas of deposing the Syrian Baath Party. 

In the last week, there have been four American bombing attacks on terrorist safe houses in Fallujah. These attacks are being made with the approval of the interim Iraqi government, and apparently via information obtained using government contacts inside Fallujah. Meanwhile, inside Fallujah, there is an ugly competition growing between al Qaeda, Islamic fundamentalist, and Baath Party factions. There have been some confrontations between these groups, and it is feared that the various militant factions will be fighting each other before long.

 

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