Iraq: A Tragic Dead End

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January 28, 2012:  So far this month over 200 people have been killed by Sunni Arab terrorists. Led (at least in terms of media attention) by the local version of al Qaeda, the Sunni Arabs are determined to regain control of the government. Their main tactic has always been to use terror attacks against Shia Iraqis and thus trigger a decisive battle that the Sunnis would somehow win. Western observers could never understand this, as it makes no sense. The Shia Iraqis, who now control the government and security forces, could crush the Sunni Arabs but the Sunnis do not believe this. It's an article of faith that the Sunni Arabs must prevail. It is God's Will. So the Sunni terrorists continue attacking and the Shia dominated government threatens harsher punishment against the Sunni Arab community. This retribution is already underway, with the arrest of elected Sunni Arab politicians who are accused of participating in the terror attacks. All Sunni Arab politicians must have some relationships with Sunni Arab terror groups because the Sunni terrorists regularly assassinate Sunni Arab politicians they believe are "disloyal." It's easier (and a lot safer) to maintain some relationship with the terror groups than to openly oppose them. The Shia majority insists, for obvious reasons, that the Sunni Arab leadership cooperate in crushing the Sunni Arab terror groups. But the Sunni Arab belief in their own superiority, and eventual regaining control of the government, is too widespread to be easily eliminated completely. As a democracy the Shia politicians cannot ignore popular demand from the Shia majority for some action to end the Sunni terrorism. What the West and neighboring Sunni Arab majority states fear most is a massive attack on the Iraqi Sunni Arab population, in order to eliminate the source of support for Sunni Arab terrorism. This would be another effort to expel all Sunnis from Iraq, something like the one that got started six years ago and was aborted by the American success in getting Sunni Arab leaders to turn against Sunni Arab terror groups. But over 20 percent of the 2003 Iraqi Sunni Arabs still live in exile, and many more were driven from their homes and fled to Sunni Arab majority areas for refuge. In part, because of that, the Sunni Arabs have been unwilling or unable to finish the job. Nevertheless the Shia majority wants an end to the terror attacks against them. Yet, right on cue, neighboring Sunni countries (including Turkey) have increased pressure on Iraq to work out a non-violent solution to their Sunni Arab terrorist problem. The Iraqis have told their neighbors to butt out. But if a massive attack on the Sunni Arab minority (about 15 percent of the population) develops, the Sunni neighbors will be under pressure to do more than issue diplomatic protests. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Sunni Arabs fleeing across the border will do that.

The Sunni Arab terrorists are not just attacking Shia civilians. There are also bombings and gun attacks on Shia police and other government officials. Attacks on Sunni Arab leaders also continue because there is no unity in the Sunni Arab community about what to do. One area where the Sunni Arab population is particularly pro-terrorist is northern Iraq, near the border of the autonomous Kurdish state. Here there are violent disagreements over ownership of real estate and oil.

The government is fighting back against terrorists and the many criminal gangs. While corrupt, the cops do find and arrest many terrorists and gangsters. The courts prosecute and convict many of them. In the last eight years the government has executed 1,200 convicted criminals and that continues. Yes, terrorism is down 90 percent from the peak period (2006-7) but that last ten percent still gets people's attention.  

As new sanctions are applied to Iran, to halt imports for their weapons (especially nuclear) programs, Iraq has become a bigger player in Iran's smuggling effort. It's not just the Shia-dominated Iraqi government that is friendly to Shia Iran, it's the endemic corruption. Iraq has long been the most corrupt nation in a region infamous for its corruption. Gulf Arab states, fearful of an increasingly aggressive and nuclear armed Iran, have cracked down on the smugglers within their borders. Now the pressure is coming to Iraq, where Iran has already bought many senior Iraqi officials. Yet Iraqis also fear an Iranian invasion. Historically, Iran has often invaded and occupied what is now Iraq. These occupations, over the last few thousand years, are not remembered fondly.

January 27, 2012: In the capital, a suicide bomber attacked a Shia funeral and killed over 30 people and wounded twice as many.

A prominent Sunni Arab politician was arrested. As associate and mentor of the arrested man (vice president Tareq al Hashemi) continues to take sanctuary in the Kurdish north.

January 26, 2012: Al Qaeda in Iraq announced it would increase its attacks against Shia Iraqis.

January 21, 2012: In the northern city of Mosul, police killed Majid Hassan Ali, who was in charge of local terrorist operations for the Islamic State of Iraq. This is one of the Sunni Arab groups using terrorism in an attempt to put the Sunni Arabs back in control of the country. In the same operation that killed Majid Hassan Ali, 19 al Qaeda members were arrested, all of them Iraqi except for two Palestinians. There used to be a lot more foreigners working for these terror organizations. The foreigners don't come much anymore because the Iraqi Sunni Arab addiction to terrorism is now seen by most Arabs as a tragic dead end.  

January 19, 2012: The government suspended 19 Sunni Arab senior officials who had been boycotting their duties in protest against government attempt to arrest Sunni Arab leaders on terrorism charges.

January 15, 2012: In largely Sunni Arab western Iraq a group of terrorists, some in police uniforms, attacked a police compound in an attempt to free terrorist leaders jailed there. The attack failed, but seven policemen were killed.

 


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