Thursday, February 23, 2012

Iraq Attacks

Today's attacks in Iraq are very likely to be the work of Al Qa'ida in Iraq. The multiple actions included strikes against diners in restaurants, a school and a mosque. This is the nature of Sunni Salafist extremists - extraordinarily aggressive application of force in pursuit of a total war doctrinal strategy.* A strategy that in AQI's case, is rooted in the pursuit of the destruction of the Iraqi state via the propagation of genocidal levels of sectarian violence. The intention of today's attacks is thus to spark sectarian warfare among different communities of the Iraqi people (Shia areas were targeted), much like with AQI's intention in conducting the 2006 attack on the Golden Mosque. The current sectarian dysfunction in the Iraqi Govt is seen by AQI as an opportunity ripe for exploitation. Clearly also, it is important to note that the (post- Coalition withdrawal) absence of large scale counter-terrorism capabilities from the US/UK has allowed AQI space to re-constitute to a position where in they can effectively carry out large scale attacks such as today's. (US/UK counter-terrorist forces waged a highly effective attritional campaign against AQI during 2007/08/09 that effectively destroyed the group's senior and middle leadership).

Another point to note here is that the proximate position of Iraq to Syria/Iran means that instability in Iraq has profound consequences for the rest of the region. Amidst the ongoing Iranian nuclear crisis/Syrian uprising, reducing tensions in Iraq must be a priority for the US govt. Joe Biden has done some pretty good work on this recently. At the same time, Obama should ensure that the CIA station in Iraq has the support it needs (especially from the NSA) to be able to provide actionable intelligence to Iraqi security forces.

*- The current leader of AQI, Abu Dua, is true heir to Zarqawi.

According to one US intelligence officer speaking in 2005, Dua 

"held religious courts to try local citizens charged with supporting the Iraqi government and coalition forces. He would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them."

 People like Dua are a reflection of the irreconcilable element of a terrorist organisation. 

These individuals can only be dealt with through capture/kill operations.

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