Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Iraq: Car Bombs, Awakening Councils, and Hope

There's been another car bombing in Baghdad: a big one. At least 51 people were killed, 75 injured in a Shiite part of the city.

The blast hit a garage, a bus stop, an outdoor market and apartments. The loss of life is tragic.

There's been a "flurry" of attacks lately, according to CNN, mostly aimed at the Awakening Councils, or Sons of Iraq. CNN calls them "U.S.-allied Sunni fighters" - which is accurate, as far as it goes. The Awakening Councils do accept a coalition military presence, but they're not so much 'pro-America' as pro-Iraq.

Another thing: CNN calls the Awakening Councils "predominantly U.S.-allied Sunni fighters" - but last October, when ten Iraqi Sheiks who were part of an 'Awakening Council' were kidnapped, seven were Sunni and three were Shiite. Despite the impression CNN leaves, the Awakening Councils aren't all Sunni.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and a few things to say about the big Baghdad blast.
  • It's the work of "the defeated remnants of terrorism" who are trying to whip up the sort of Sunni-Shiite violence that's part of Iraq's recent past
  • "terrorists" and Islamic militants "returned to their old failing bet in trying to incite the sectarian strife" after they lost in Baghdad and other cities
I'm inclined to agree with him.

What I see as a major point in the story is down in the "Other developments" section: "An American-led coalition raid aimed at an al Qaeda in Iraq bombing network killed four 'suspected terrorists' Tuesday in Mosul, the U.S. military said. Coalition troops approached a building and ordered people there to surrender; four militants were killed when they refused, according to the military."

Another victory, a minor one, against a backdrop of terrorist bombings that kill Iraqis, but fail to whip up the 'kill my Shiite/Sunni neighbor' passions we were reading so much about.

Terrorism is loosing in Iraq, and Al Qaeda knows it. I'm sure there will be more bombings, but I'm also getting more confident that the Iraqi government will learn how to deal with its country.

More, in "Car bomb kills at least 51 Iraqis, official says" (CNN (July 17, 2008)).

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.