Iraq: The Hated Ones

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January 4, 2008: The hatred of Sunni Arabs in Iraq is little diminished, despite over 70,000 Sunni Arabs joining local militias to shut down terrorist groups throughout central Iraq. These volunteers are now demanding jobs in the police and army, and the government does not want to let the Sunnis in. The reason is simple; throughout the 70 year history of Iraq, the Sunni Arab minority managed to dominate the Kurds and Shia Arabs by controlling the military and police. The Kurds and Shia don't want to see that happen again, and don't want to come anywhere near that happening. The U.S. is insisting that the government work with the Sunni Arabs. But what no one wants to confront is the deep, deep hatred of the Sunni Arabs. On the street you frequently hear popular solutions to the "Sunni Arab" problem. These are along the lines of "kill them all," or, more charitably, "drive them out of the country." The government knows that neither of those solutions are realistic options. But in the meantime, there is the very real problem of getting Kurdish and Shia Arab legislators to agree to any meaningful reconciliation with the Sunni Arabs. The hatreds run deep, and the recent bloodshed only made it worse.

January 1, 2008: For the first time since the U.S. invasion in 2003, Iraqis in Baghdad, and many other cities with Sunni Arabs, went out and celebrated the new year. Terrorist violence (since last Summer) has been down 80 percent in Baghdad. In many neighborhoods, the still numerous criminal gangs are feared more than the Islamic terrorists. But the suicide bombers are still out there, and one hit a Baghdad funeral (for a former Sunni Arab terrorist leader killed in an earlier bombing), killing 30 people. This sort of thing just makes al Qaeda and the Iraqi Sunni Arab terrorists more unpopular, in this case, among their former Sunni Arab supporters. It's the growing number of tips from the millions of cell phone users that has made Islamic terrorists extinct in so many parts of the country.

Meanwhile, al Qaeda has pretty much admitted defeat in Iraq, and moved on to try their luck in Pakistan and Israel. Last month, the U.S. killed or captured 51 al Qaeda leaders, and the terrorist organization is having trouble finding replacements. Syria has improved its border security in the last six months, and it's much more difficult for al Qaeda replacements to get into Iraq. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Iraqi troops who fought in the surge campaign of last year, are still at it. Towns and rural districts that are still harboring Sunni Arab terrorists, are being combed and the bad guys killed or arrested. The interrogations indicate desperation among the al Qaeda and Sunni Arab leadership. There are few options, and even getting out of the country is difficult. Syria and Jordan don't want any more Sunni Arab refugees, and are trying to force the ones they have to return home.

 

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