Iraq just had its bloodiest day of the year to date, with a series of coordinated bombings and shootings claiming more than 100 lives. It’s an ominous return to form for al-Qaeda, which is taking advantage of the absence of American troops and the fragility of the government to wreak havoc and enflame sectarian unrest.Fox News reports:
Iraqi militants have kept up a steady drumbeat of deadly attacks since the U.S. pulled out in December, ending nearly a decade of war. They have sought to deepen the chaos created by the deepening sectarian political crisis that pits Sunni and Kurdish leaders against Shiite political powers.The latest violence bore most of the hallmarks of Al Qaeda: the bombings and shootings all took place within a few hours of each other and struck mostly at security forces and government offices—favorite targets of the predominantly Sunni militants.
One Iraqi lawmaker fears the worst—that al-Qaeda is seeping into the country’s security services:
[MP Hakim al-Zamili] said weaknesses in Iraq’s ability to gather intelligence about terror plots, or stop them despite security checkpoints has shown how toothless the government is in protecting its people.Al-Zamili also raised the specter of Al Qaeda infiltrating security forces. If these gaps are not closed quickly, he said, “the attacks and explosions will continue and al-Qaida will be stronger.”
Via Meadia has been keeping up with both the good and bad news from Iraq, noting the potential of its economy and geopolitical influence while also facing up to the unrelenting threat of violence and political unrest. We can only hope that this disturbing resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq does not mean that terror group is assuming exclusive leadership in the Iraqi zone of the regional “Sunni Surge.”With American troops out, a political crisis in the government’s leadership, and chaos in Syria spilling across borders, the threat of a new wave of jihadist terror should not be far from our minds.