Saturday, February 25, 2006

Aftershocks of Samarra

The situation in Iraq became more concerning with the attack on the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra.

The backdrop is complex. Iraq would have been a complete success if it was not for al-Anbar and the other provinces with Sunni majority populations allied with foreign terrorists. Foreign groups like al Qaeda in Iraq have been a constant problem while native Shia terrorists like Moqtada al-Sadr's Al-Mahdi Army have been pacifiable.

Samarra is a historic city in Salah ad Din province which is well-within the Sunni zone of control. The area is known to be a trouble spot for Coalition troops. The Mosque had importance to Sunnis but was greatly valued by the Shia.

The recent attack has caused many to fear a civil war. Violence has erupted in several areas and early reports seemed to support fears of civil war.

Like the Jordanian hotel bombing, al Qaeda has attacked Muslims. Thomas Friedman claims accurately that the latest attack shows al Qaeda is losing the war. Direct and indirect attacks against the Coalition military have proven to be extremely risky. The only means the terrorist have is to attack weak targets (civilians) in such a way that their attacks garner media attention. The terrorist realizes there is no way they can defeat the Coalition leviathan so they must play on the weaknesses of the people's impatience and lack of resolve.

Now is the time for all Iraqis interested in peace to unite. The insurgency cannot be defeated completely by military means alone. The base must withdrawal support. Without roots the terrorist will fade into history. But as long as ties between local communities and terrorists remain, so will the insurgency remain.

The situation is much like Germany after World War II when the Allies fought SS units known as the Werwolf. The Allies continued military operations until 1948, sometimes to the extent of shelling villages with Werwolf snipers. The insurgency ended in 1948 after protests against terrorist actions gave the clear message that the Germany people wanted to move on.

Rumors of civil war in Iraq are old. Fortunately it seems many sides are tired of the bloodshed. Al Sistani has called for calm. Al Sadr has united with Sunni groups in order to protect the peace. Native Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups are trying to negotiate a favorable peace settlement and the Islamic Army has waged battles against al Qaeda in Iraq. If the foreign radicals can be expelled by the Sunnis then peace is very probable. The Secular Sunnis are fighting for their "rights" and have little interest in a pan-Islamic State sold by Osama bin Laden.

Internationally, Muslims also have a huge role to play. They must show greater anger at the destruction of one of their holy mosques than they did because cartoons depicted Muhammad. They must demonstrate and go into the streets. If protests do it occur it shows al Qaeda has lost a huge battle for Muslim hearts and minds. If protests do not occur the West will once again be validated in the thought that Arab and Muslim cultural are inferior, violent, and not worth effort to cooperate with.

We must all pray and work towards peace.

Category: War on Terrorism

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