It was a throwback to the bad old days. Car bomb after car bomb, more than 10 in all, blasting Iraqi civilians in the middle of a blazing summer. Suicide bombers and gunmen targeting security forces. The figures were grim: At least 85 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in 17 cities stretching from the north to the south of Iraq.
Monday was the kind of day that many Iraqis had seen before and hoped they would never see again. Even though no group claimed responsibility for the bloodshed, the use of suicide bombers and the targeting of civilians pointed to al Qaeda in Iraq, or AQI in U.S. military shorthand, as the most likely culprit. “AQI remains a determined and capable threat against the Iraqi people,” Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman, wrote in an email. “This has been our shared assessment with the Iraqi government for some time.”
With decreasing levels of violence in Iraq over much of the past year, media coverage has focused mostly on the war in Afghanistan. In many ways, Iraq has become the forgotten war. There are still roughly 45,000 U.S. troops in the country, but they will be out by the end of the year unless the U.S. and Iraqi government reach a new agreement. That brings up one key question: Can the Iraqi security forces secure the country on their own?
Monday’s attacks appear to be a clear answer to that question. Despite the billions of dollars the U.S. has spent on training the Iraqi security forces over the past eight years, they are still not ready to take over security duties. But the blame shouldn’t fall on the security forces alone. Iraqi politicians haven’t helped much, either. Since the beginning of the year, the Iraqi government hasn’t appointed a minister of interior, defense, or national security as various political blocs have bitterly fought over the posts. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been responsible for all three ministries. Maliki held a security meeting the day before the attacks and told attendants that security is improving in the country and there’s no need to fill the ministry postings, according to Mahmoud Othman, an Iraqi parliamentarian.
“The capability of the Iraqi security forces is under question,” says Othman. “But the responsibility for security lies with the government. With the conflict between all the political parties, those terrorists find the ground to commit their crimes.”
I said this when the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade left in August of 2009:
I served in Desert Storm and I was part of the inital combat operations in 2003 for OIF. I’ve kept up with most everything that has transpired during the Iraq war and with the troops. I am very proud to have been a part of this mission and I’m even more proud of the Soldiers who continued to carry on until successful stabilization, and turning the reigns over to the Iraqi government.
It’s up to Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki and his parliament to take the opportunity to bring his country into the 21st century and help make Iraq’s new found democracy work.
Iraq was once ruled by a WMD-weilding, terrorist-supporting megalomaniac. The threat has been erradicated and there is now a fledgling democracy smack dab in the heart of a region controlled by Islamofascism.
We must not forget that this war against Islamic terrorism and aggression is not over. The focus is now on Afghanistan; the other battlefield that the MSM and the public threw down the memory hole. Up until Obama got elected, the war efforts there were going pretty damned good. I’ve always mantained that B. Hussein was given a winning hand in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war is his to lose; if he doesn’t get the fuck out of the way and let the Army do its job, that’s exactly what will happen.
Remember those who gave their lives and welcome those who have returned home. Neither should be forgotten.
The reigns are now in Nouri al-Maliki’s hands. Aside from AQI, Iraq is just one country in a muslim extremist cesspool. It’s surrounded by Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iran. Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist cells traipse right into Iraq from those countries with no resistance. The other obstacle to complete stabilization is that there are 150+ tribes in Iraq. Not all of them will get along.
Al-Maliki’s leadership qualities are very questionable. The ministry has to be filled with people who really give a shit about the security and future of Iraq. In not doing so, that creates as much of a threat to stability as the terrorists. For the most part, Iraq has become pretty stable in spite of the sporadic attacks. The Iraqi police, military, and security forces have been equipped and trained. It’s now up to them to pick up the slack and take control.
- Shock, anger sweep Iraq after bloodbath (cbsnews.com)
- Biggest threat to Iraq? Iran-backed militias, not Al Qaeda, US official says (csmonitor.com)
- 7 pulled from Iraqi mosque, killed execution-style (foxnews.com)