My old friend Lee C. wrote:
“I fail to see the logic of turning against the Interim Government.Why are the Iraqi people not turning on the "foreign fighters", the Jihadi, Sadr and his gang, the Ba'athi remnants and rest of the insurgency?”
Well, Lee, I am not saying that it is logical; however the popular mood is very much incensed because of frustration in the face of the apparent inability of the Government to stem the tide of terrorism that is plaguing our country.
Of course, the worst thing that could happen is the kind of sectarian conflict that seems to be the aim of the terrorist groups. If you remember there was this famous letter of Zarqawi, which I have written about at the time. That letter, which I am convinced of its authenticity was very clear and more or less outlined a complete plan of action. One of the main objectives explicitly stated in that letter was this objective of precipitating a sectarian civil war in Iraq. If you study carefully the pattern of violence and terrorism you will clearly see that there is a definite sectarian orientation to these acts, and most of the victims are from certain religious and ethnic groups (Shiaa, Kurds, Christians – together the vast majority). However to be fair, the Sunni areas have also suffered numerous attacks, the latest of which was the attack on the National Guards posts in Al Baghdadi town in the West of Iraq. Also the victims in the frequent attacks in Mosul and elsewhere were not Shiaa people. We must however, struggle, with all our might to combat this sectarianism, for it is a vile plot to destroy the country.
The people are incensed for many reasons some of which are:
- During the disturbance in Najaf, the Government and the MNF took very decisive action and we all saw the consequences. Similarly, the problem in Sadr City was dealt with resolutely. However, no such firmness is seen in regard to the situation in locations such as Latifiya, Diala and the like.
- Latifiya, is a small town, much smaller than Najaf. This place has become the haven for the most hardened criminal gangs. There is a stretch of highway no longer than 10 km which goes by this town. This road has seen repeated murders, kidnappings, and harassment of quite innocent travelers, mostly in fact in one point on this road. The bandits simply commit these acts and go home in time for dinner and comfortable beds. It is established for instance, that the incarceration and beheading of the American and British Engineers took place in that very town. They have even attacked funeral processions of people taking their dead to nearby Karbala, as is the custom with Shiaa people. The murder of the policemen returning from Jordan took place at precisely the same point on that road. Even my relative who was kidnapped lately was attacked in the same place. The Government claimed several times that it has chastised this area and arrested many individuals, yet the atrocities continue to be perpetrated, in even greater frequency and scale. So people are wondering why is it that the Government and the MNF is so ineffective in this area, when they were so determined in the case of Najaf and Sadr City. Also the fact that one of the important persons responsible for national security in the Government happens to be of the same tribe as the main population of the town is not lost on people.
- The above is only one example of several such similar areas. Some areas of Baghdad are also known to be haven for terrorists.
- It is well known, that the policy of Dr. Ayad Allawi, is to try to rehabilitate some of the elements of the previous regime. Although I personally support this policy, yet there are obvious dangers here. The people suspect that infiltration and covert collaboration with the terrorists is taking place from within the new security formations as has been demonstrated in the latest atrocity of the massacre of the unarmed young volunteers near Mandili. The assailants knew exactly about the movement of these poor guys and were waiting in ambush. They were sent unarmed on a desolate road and at night, completely without any protection. Those responsible in the training camp must be investigated, at least for criminal negligence.
- Why should the soldiers, mainly from the Southern parts, be brought to this dangerous location for training? Wouldn’t it have been safer to train them nearer home in much more secure areas?
- We have yet to see a single public prosecution of any of the perpetrators of these atrocities, although, both the American and Iraqi authorities claim that they have captured many. This is most peculiar and highly suspicious.
- Sadr and his followers are open, public and frank opposition, and every one of their leaders is working in broad daylight. They are not some dark figures working underground and using terrorist car bombings and suicide attacks. This fact must be stated, in fairness, regardless whether we like that movement or not. Therefore it is not correct to class them with the terrorists of Fallujah and Latifiyah etc.
Above are some of the points that are troubling people. For my part I sincerely hope that the Government acts quickly to dispel these misgivings and regain the trust and support of the people which is beginning to wane.