mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Iraq Update: Al-Qaeda Delivers the Bloodiest Day of the Year

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.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Nathan

    This sort of thing somewhat reveals the lie that Iraqi insurgents just wanted the USA out of Iraq, doesn’t it?

  • Kris

    [Let’s find out if the distinguished looking lady at the head of the table allows black humor.]

    “Iraq Update: Al-Qaeda Delivers the Bloodiest Day of the Year”

    But on a happier note, that day also saw the Iraqi premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises”.

  • thibaud

    Funny you should bring that up, Kris. Nary a peep from our host on this subject.

    Which at first glance seems really odd.

    Because when there’s a mass public shooting in France, your “lady at the head of the table” is all over it, and quick to draw conclusions about European character:

    When there’s a massacre in Norway, VM is quick out of the blocks, making points about Norwegian “nastiness” and reflecting at length about modern society:

    When there’s (yet another) massacre here in the USA on the turf of what VM calls the “home team,” the response is …. silence.

    Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker puts Via Meadia to shame:

    “The truth is made worse by the reality that no one—really no one—anywhere on the political spectrum has the courage to speak out about the madness of unleashed guns and what they do to American life.”

  • J R Yankovic

    I don’t know if the comments are getting briefer. But from where I stand on this subject they’re definitely getting better (along with the humor, if I may add).

    Meanwhile I can’t help thinking: In a no-hypocrisy, what-you-see-is-what-you-get world, the anti-nation-building lobby on “our” side would find an embarrassing number of areas of common ground with the al-Qaeda freedom-fighters (pun intended). I mean, anything to keep a fledgling, probationary or even makeshift nation-state from functioning, right? Besides, what makes us think these Arabs have even the CAPACITY for nationhood? So instead we should settle for chronic or worse instability on an intimate, Beirut-type, block-by-block scale, in which those who suffer worst are by far the most vulnerable – women, children, the poor and uneducated, the elderly, the “immobile.” Then again – and I realize I risk sounding both cynical and hysterical in suggesting this – what exactly are THEIR lives worth to a global corporatocracy?

    Funny thing too about al-Qaeda options for maintaining or enhancing credibility. You really don’t ever have to be POPULAR with the majority of your base population; all you have to do is TERRIFY enough of them on the one hand, while keeping yourself in a state of semi-reputability on the other, by means of a carefully cultivated guilt factor and its various ripple effects through the community (“I’M a wholehearted Muslim: are YOU?”). Imagine you’re a devout believer, and slowly, incrementally, actions you’ve always instinctively loathed and detested start becoming the standard by which you – or others close to you – now measure your fervor and dedication. And so what was once unthinkable becomes quasi-(or unofficially) obligatory.

    Hateful and fanatical ideas can paralyse populations even when they don’t convince them. Which returns me to an old question and concern of mine: When are we going to start seriously combating the IDEOLOGY of al-Qaeda and its franchises and imitators, and not just its various organizations and actions? Or are we going to continue to refrain from condemning Nazism outright, so to speak, for fear of offending Germans?

  • dearieme

    The war of occupation in Iraq has been a failure. Is anyone surprised?

    The war of conquest was a success but, as far as I can see, a pointless one.

    In total, the whole thing was an appallingly ill-judged political adventure undertaken at stupendous cost of blood and treasure.

  • Kris

    thibaud@3: So now you’re reduced to complaining that this blog doesn’t cover the stories you want it to cover? To quote someone, “It’s so unfair”.

  • thibaud

    No complaints here, Kris. Just curious as to why the silence, ‘s all. Very strange, don’t you think?

  • Kris

    thibaud@7: “Very strange, don’t you think?”

    Honestly, not really. If I thought guns in the US were a Serious Issue That Must Be Dealt With, I’d be more interested in the story. I don’t, so I’m not. Just another of the many tragic stories in the world. Similarly, quite a few commenters felt that our host was making too much of the counter-examples you brought up, and many others besides. We all have our interests, bugbears, narratives. Even our host. So?

  • thibaud

    Faire un oeuf. I suppose I keep hoping against hope that enlightened conservatives like our host will actually help move the national debate forward, with fact-based, good-faith, sophisticated analysis rather than sneers against OtherSide and partisan cheerleading.

  • Fred

    Thibaud, I never agree with you, but your comments are usually at least well-argued, if often nasty and condescending. But your comment at number 3 is sheer idiocy. The Aurora shooter is a lone lunatic, the kind of psychotic that could exist in any culture at any time. Al Qaeda is an organized and sane, if evil, group of people. While their sort of brutality and bloodthirstiness are not limited to the Middle East, that region is certainly the locus for much, if not most, of it. AQ is therefore, even though a minority, much more representative of Middle Eastern culture (excepting Israel) than a lone psycho is of American culture. In your rush to insult Professor Mead, this time you’ve made a bloody fool of yourself.

  • thibaud

    Fred – I agree 100% with your points about Homes and AQ.

    Where we disagree is whether it’s an “insult,” as you put it, to point out the discrepancy between our host’s eager, and rather unseemly, diatribes against Norwegian or French or Euro-wide moral turpitude and his total silence when occasioned by the exact same incident, a mass public shooting, when it occurs on home turf.

    Any fair assessment of this discrepancy would suggest that there’s some bad faith at work. It’s as if, say, a Catholic who had been constantly ranting against muslim honor killings had nothing whatsoever to say – not even a perfunctory condemnation a la Ratzinger’s occasional remarks – about the Church’s practice of protecting pedophile priests.

  • Kris

    Back in the day, I was struck by the fact that our host had nothing to say about the Winnenden massacre in Germany. This is obviously a sign that he is trying to whitewash German crimes. Or it just might be that he isn’t interested in being an “It bleeds, it leads” blog, and only covers stories which he considers of significance. If, for example, the Colorado shootings were committed by a Christian in a mosque, do you really doubt that this blog would cover it extensively?

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service