Monday, July 23, 2012

Terrorist Attacks in Iraq

Today's terrorist attacks against the people of Iraq are a reminder that the fight for stability in that country is not over. The attacks also illustrate the degree to which the Islamist insurgency (who are responsible for these attacks) has always (at least in strategic terms) been divorced from the nationalist rooted insurgency (which sought the withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq). Much of the post-war violence in Iraq in the 2006- period onwards was due to the Islamist groups rather than Nationalist.

From my perspective, the current terrorist attacks are indicative of a resurgent Islamic State of Iraq (Sunni terrorist alliance). The group has a central two-fold focus- 1) To re-instigate a civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shia. 2) To use the ensuing chaos in order to form a Sunni caliphate in at least part of Iraq.

While Iraqi security forces have improved dramatically over the past few years, they still require extensive support in terms of logistics and intelligence. The United States must stand ready to provide this assistance where more is needed. We must also continue to pressure Iraqi Parliamentarians to find compromise with each other wherever possible. In addition, Prime Minister Maliki (Dawa) still retains far too much executive control over elite security units and too little interest in reconciliation with the Iraqiya block. The United States must work hard to address this problem.

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