By Ahmed Alaskary
& Mohammed Baraka
August 17, 2006
- Without a clear understanding
of the factors which are causing the continuing instability
in Iraq, especially in Baghdad, an effective solution cannot be formulated.
There are two sources for the continued violence:
The insurgency is almost exclusively Sunni Arab-led and
since Iraq's liberation they have targeted mostly civilians,
but also troops and officials, through suicide bombings,
car bombings and assassinations. Their goal is to destabilize
the democratically elected government and alter the new
democratic reality back to minority rule.
The militias, which are mainly Shi'i (although the Sunni
Iraqi Islamic Party has an unnamed militia), have been
blamed for sectarian killings and death squads – contributing
to the increased violence. However, unlike the terrorists,
their aim is not to change the new political landscape.
Instead, they conduct random revenge attacks against perceived
Sunni insurgents and their supporters and fill in the
security vacuum in their neighbourhoods.
dealing with both the terrorists and militias is essential
to improving the security situation, the former clearly
represent a greater danger to Iraq's nascent democracy.
- The incident in Hay al-Jihad earlier in July, when a death squad sealed
the area and killed 42 Iraqis identified as Sunnis, was
significant not because it was an incident of random killing
of innocent people based on their religious sect (hundreds
have been killed in a similar fashion over the past 3
years, especially in the so-called 'Triangle of Death'),
but because it was the first case of Shias employing such
- Despite mass Sunni participation in the political process,
represented by the high turnout in the December elections,
and Maliki's National Reconciliation Initiative, which gives insurgents
the opportunity to abandon violence in exchange for entering
the political process, the Sunni-led insurgency continues
unabated. Some experts have suggested that the Sunni community must
be pushed into abandoning their passive support for the
- The two Najaf incidences, when the US and Iraqi army directly
engaged Moqtada's Mehdi Army, serves to highlight that
confronting the militias militarily without providing
an improvement in security and an alternative only widens
their public support. To improve the security situation,
particularly in Baghdad, first the insurgency needs to
be dealt with effectively as this will take away the publics
need for the militias, thus weakening them at which stage
they can then be dealt with once and for all.