Iraq: July 27, 2005


Despite some recent spikes, the level of violent incidents has been more or less steady for the past two or three months, and is considerably lower than the levels a year or so ago. Reports of a growing "insurgency" are greatly exaggerated. The level of violence is likely to rise over the next few weeks, as the new Iraqi constitution is currently in preparation, and is due to be presented to the public in mid-August. 

Any increase in the level of attacks is likely to be aimed primarily at moderate Sunni leadership. Since accomodationists leaders of the Sunni community have decided to take part in the constitution writing process, they have naturally become targets for the rejecitonists. Even more dangerous to the moderate Sunnis are the foreign Islamists. In this regard, there is a rumor that representatives of the Sunni moderate faction met with representatives of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the principal al Qaeda leader in Iraq, in an attempt to negotiate some sort of suspension of attacks on Sunni leaders. Assuming this meeting did take place, its effects have yet to be noticed.

Al Qaeda has threatened to kill two Algerian diplomats it kidnapped last week. The remainder of the diplomatic community has greatly increased its security. The Sunni Moslem diplomats thought they had some immunity from the terrorists, because of the Iraqi Sunni Arab support that made the terrorism possible. But the split in the Iraqi Sunni Arab community has created a radical faction that is determined to push the violence to extremes in an attempt to break the government. This crew is playing with fire. The government is dominated by the majority Kurds and Shia Arabs. These groups are not going to give up power because of terrorist violence. They know what happens when the Sunni Arabs are in power, and remember the violence of the past. That violence, inflicted by many of the same Sunni Arabs behind the current terrorism, was not as spectacular (fewer explosions), but was deadlier and more personal. Saddams killers would get right in your face when they killed you. They wanted death to be public, so people knew that resistance to Sunni Arab rule had dire consequences. The majority of Iraqis will resist, with extreme violence is neccessary, any return to the bad old days. The terrorists don't believe that. 

The terrorists continue to attack the economy, but the key infrastructure targets (power, water, oil production) are too well guarded. But the terrorists are always looking for openings. Yesterday, gunmen shot up a busload of people leaving a factory outside Baghdad, killing 17 workers. Sunni Arab terrorists continue to threaten business owners, demanding money, or cooperation in carrying out terrorist attacks. The tendency is to pay, because that is similar to the corrupt practices that pervade Iraqi society. Such corruption remains, next to the terrorism, the major obstacle to the revival of the economy. 

Throughout the Arab world, corruption is a constant impediment to economic progress. One bright spot in this department is that at least Iraqis are talking about corruption, how bad it is and how important it is to stop it. But stopping corruption is another matter. When it comes to enforcing anti-corruption laws, and implementing anti-corruption practices, things start to fall apart. Rather than wallow in despair, the anti-corruption proponents believe in a coming Arab reformation. After centuries of bad government and poor economics, most Arabs are ready for a change. Al Qaeda offers solutions, but they  solve the corruption problem with punishments out of the Koran. Arabs have seen that approach tried and failed in Afghanistan and Iran. But other solutions have yet to appear as concrete examples. And Iraqis are not sure they will be able to provide that first example of a corruption free Arab society.


Article Archive

Iraq: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close