Aug 25 2011 Iraqi-on-Iraqi Violence: Who profits?
Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Today was a good day in Iraq. Only 6 attacks across the country were reported as Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and others turn up the heat during this ‘peaceful month’ of Ramadan. Last Monday at least 70 were killed and 200 were wounded. No claim of responsibility for these attacks was made, but Iraqi and US government officials, as well as on-the-ground reporting puts most of the blame on AQI.
Why are Iraqis killing Iraqis? Well, some of the killing, especially by AQI is done by non-Iraqis, but there is no need to beg the question. It is obvious that violence aimed at destabilizing the government security forces provides a reason for Maliki to request that US troops stay past the deadline because if there are no attacks then there is no need for US troops. This has fueled rumors of government involvement in some of the violence.
The recent announcement of US withdrawal may have triggered this current rise in attacks, but last year’s Ramada saw a parallel series of attacks by Al Qaeda. The similar coordination of the attacks across a wide area of Iraq is particularly troubling since it signals an Al Qaeda network that is widespread and coordinated despite US government claims of a weakened AQI.
In the street: Baghdad is returning to life; restaurants, hotels, a new mall…but folks still don’t feel safe.
Many are fearful of a return to 2006 levels of civil war and violence, and this feeds some growing sentiment for US troops to remain, but most Iraqis still want America to pull out.
The focus of the attacks have changed. They’ve moved from high visibility targets with attacks aimed at garnering international publicity to attacks on local government, infrastructure, police, and army aimed at destabilizing localities and both reinforcing the fear of and establishing the strength of AQI. There has also been an increase of Shia-on-Shia violence as factions seek to position themselves for the post-US era.
Add to all of this the increasing number of small-scale attacks on individual politicians by individuals and groups vying for power and you describe an Iraq ‘mildly’ out of control: if you can call between 300 and 500 attacks per month ‘mild’.
The future? Hey. I’ve no crystal ball, but I think we’re looking at instability that will last for at least a generation…yes, 2030 is my horizon for peace in Iraq. At that time any Iraqi under 50 will have lived their entire lives in a state of war.
It’s no wonder that a fog of hopelessness is settling over Iraq…One can only pray that the fledgling peace movements in Iraq will not succumb.
[thanks to Annie Gowan Washington Post http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec11/iraq2_08-16.html ,
Michael Knights WIfNEP http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC06.php?CID=1703
Mohammed Towfeek CNN