Iraq a World Apart

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 10 months ago

In Al Qaeda’s War on Iraq, we pointed out that senior al Qaeda leader and emir of foreign fighters Abu Osama al-Tunisi was killed along with two other terrorist suspects in a U.S. F-16 strike that dropped two 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a safehouse where they were meeting.  The Islamic State of Iraq confirmed his death today, and subsequently boasted of questionable victories for themselves.

“The war between us and them is a competition; they get us, we get them. Yesterday, we tore their bodies and their parts were scattered everywhere, and we killed them and they are still licking their wounds,” the Islamic State of Iraq said in its statement.

In a separate posting on an extremist Web site Monday, the Islamic State of Iraq issued a video allegedly showing an U.S. Apache helicopter being shot down by an anti-aircraft machine gun.

The short video, which could not be independently verified, shows brief clips of a man holding a machine gun, a helicopter flying and later landing with plumes of smoke rising from it. The video indicated the shooting took place on Sept. 25 in southwest Baghdad suburb of Hor Rajab.

The U.S. military reported last week an Apache helicopter that was fighting off a ground attack on U.S. forces was hit by enemy fire and made a hard landing south Baghdad. There were no casualties in the attack, which the U.S. military said took place on Wednesday.

It is a sign of their further diminution that they would make such a fuss over causing a “hard landing” of a helicopter.  The recent alliance of a few Sunni resistance groups together seems more a publicity stunt than anything with real meaning.  The same tactic is used by American corporate officers: when the company is failing, reorganize.  Al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgency is losing, and badly.  Unlike the Shi’ite militia in the South, the U.S. forces have taken the fight to them and won.  A few days ago and soon after killing al-Tunisi, coalition forcers disrupted another al Qaeda meeting which was being held for the purpose of electing another yet another emir because of the death of his predecessor.

Soldiers from the 2nd Iraqi Army Division, with U.S. Special Forces as advisers, detained 23 suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists during an intelligence-driven raid in Sharqat Sept. 29.
Acting on intelligence, Iraqi Soldiers raided targeted locations in Sharqat to disrupt a meeting between al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership.  The meeting was held to elect a new emir since their previous one, Sabah Abdul-Rahman Abosh, was killed by Iraqi and Coalition Forces in a firefight Sept. 28.  The detainees are suspected of conducting terrorist attacks in the area.

Three hundred candidates appeared for a drive to recruit police in Ameriya.  “Allowing residents to take a stake in providing their own security for their neighborhood will go a long way toward denying Al-Qaeda the ability to move back into Ameriya,? said Maj. Chip Daniels, the operations officer for 1-5 Cavalry. “This is a good move on the part of the Iraqi government.”

Al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgency has no place to call home.  Yet there is the troubling situation of the low grade, slow motion civil war between the Sunnis and Shi’a, along with the involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and [subset] Quds forces.  Just as troubling is the coalition failure and refusal to confront the Shi’ite militias competing for unmitigated power in the Iraq South, especially Basra.  The British have been militarily defeated in Basra, and they intend to leave the Basra airport soon.

The Shi’ite militias continue to compete unimpeded for control of the “empire” of the oil rich South, while the mixed Provinces such as Diyala have difficulty with sectarian relations.

A convoy of strangers rumbled into this quiet Sunni village on a riverbed north of Baghdad, their armored vehicles enveloping the town in a cloud of dust. Peeking out from mud brick homes, suspicious residents tried to get a glimpse at the intruders.

It was their governor — a man this poor farming village had never seen in his nearly three years in office.

Under protection of U.S. soldiers, Gov. Raad Rashid al-Tamimi — a Shiite — sat atop a child’s desk in a dilapidated schoolhouse early last week and goaded a dozen of Guba’s tribal elders to join a reconciliation effort that has so far enticed 19 of the province’s 26 major tribes.

A day later, a suicide bomber ravaged another such reconciliation meeting in al-Tamimi’s hometown of Baqouba, killing at least 15 people and lightly wounding the 52-year-old governor, who was believed to be the target. Two U.S. soldiers were wounded in the bombing.

Such is the ebb and flow of reconciliation and violence in Diyala province, a battered landscape of warring tribes, fertile valleys and pockets of al-Qaida fighters. The sectarian and tribal chasms are wide here, and elected officials — who are mostly Shiite — cannot safely travel the province’s sectarian patchwork.

“The governor wouldn’t come here alone, and I wouldn’t let him. This has been a very dangerous place,” said Col. David Sutherland, the top U.S. commander in Diyala, who escorted al-Tamimi on his weekend tour along with about 20 U.S. soldiers.

Al Qaeda is near military defeat, but Iraq is a world apart.  The Sunni Anbar Province is proceeding apace with reconstruction and stabilization without the involvement of the national Iraq government.  The Diyala Province is divided, and the Shi’ite South is a stronghold of militia who the coalition forces apparently have no intention of confronting.  It is truly bottom-up counterinsurgency as Petraeus says, but the bottom has fallen out of the Iraq South.

You are currently reading "Iraq a World Apart", entry #636 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) al Qaeda,Iran,Iraq,Jaish al Mahdi,Sunni Insurgency and was published October 2nd, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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