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"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Is al Qaeda Fleeing Iraq? 

Is al Qaeda fleeing Iraq? StrategyPage thinks so:

Al Qaeda operations in Iraq have encountered some unexpected problems. Iraqis have become increasingly hostile to al Qaeda's suicide bombing campaign. Religious leaders, which al Qaeda expects to get support from, have been openly denouncing these bombings. Iraqis, aware that they are more likely, than American soldiers, to be victims of these attacks, are providing more information on where the al Qaeda members are hiding out. Most of the al Qaeda in Iraq are foreigners, and easy for Iraqis to detect. As a result of this, many of the al Qaeda men have moved back to Fallujah, which has become a terrorist sanctuary. The interim government is trying to convince the tribal and religious leaders of Fallujah to back a military operation in the city to clear out the various al Qaeda, criminal and Baath Party gangs. But the gangs of Fallujah are quick to threaten any local leader that shows signs of supporting the government. While the Fallujah leadership is intimidated, many residents of Fallujah are not, and are providing information to the coalition, which has led to attacks, with smart bombs or coalition and Iraqi troops, on buildings used by al Qaeda, or other gangs, as headquarters.

Al Qaeda has found the atmosphere even more hostile elsewhere in Iraq, and many of the terrorists have returned home.


Dan Murphy, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, seems to agree:

In April, with anger swelling at the US occupation and a Marine-led assault on the Sunni city of Fallujah,thousands of Shiites provided assistance to their Iraqi brothers in the city.

Adnan Feisal Muthar filled up his truck with food and drove it to Fallujah to help residents rendered homeless by US bombing. His uncle and two of his sons donated blood for the wounded. "We wanted to help the people there,'' says Mr. Muthar. "They were Iraqis and they were suffering."

But the city west of Baghdad is no longer a sympathetic rallying place for a unified Iraqi resistance. It is now seen as run by intolerant and exclusivist Sunni imams who are seeking to turn it into a haven for Al Qaeda ideologues. Fallujah is emerging as a symbol of the disparate nature of the overall insurgency inside Iraq. Many Shiites, like the Muthars, have stopped supporting it.


Then there's this revealing statement from a young Iraqi:

"It makes me very uncomfortable to say this, but if the American's weren't around [to attack] we would be fighting among ourselves,'' says a young native of Fallujah who participated in attacks against US forces last year but has since quit the resistance, saying he's been disillusioned by a disregard for civilians shown by some insurgents.


We'll see if the future bears out this analysis. Stay tuned |
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