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By Hassan Al-Wakeel & Ali Latif
March 5, 2007

The Baghdad Security Plan

The strictest security measures since the US-led invasion in 2003 have been imposed in Baghdad as part of the new Security Plan. Of these measures, is the deployment of 40,000 troops on the ground as well as an extension to nightly curfews.

  • A significant drop in execution style killings has been observed subsequent to the implementation of the plan. The Associated Press shows that 628 bullet-riddled bodies have been found around the capital this month, compared to more than 1000 last month, and over 1300 in the month previous to that.
  • This can be attributed to the apparent decision of Moqtada Al-Sadr to cooperate with the new plan that has led to him cleansing the rogue elements of the Mahdi Army, and his clear orders not to fight the American troops as they roll into the Mahdi strongholds of Eastern Baghdad. While commentators continue to discuss his actual whereabouts the reality on the ground suggests that the once disruptive militia leader has taken a step towards curbing the violence in Baghdad.

Worrying statements from the Vice-President

  • Despite the roll-back of sectarian militias, the arrest and capture of several death squad leaders, the halving of extra-judicial executions, and the agreement to establish a joint US-Iraqi base in Sadr city, the insurgent attacks and suicide bombing campaign streaming out of Sunni strongholds in and around Baghdad remain unabated. Curiously, Tareq Al-Hashimi, the Vice-President, has called for the operation to be abandoned accusing it of focusing only on Sunni areas. In a further break from reality, Al-Hashimi has called for the abandonment of the current political process completely, seemingly to imply the reversal of all the democratic steps the country has taken since the invasion.

An inter-Sunni conflict on the horizon?

  • There has been a recent outbreak of insurgent attacks against Sunni targets. Two notable cases include the targeting of a Sunni Islamic cleric following his denouncement of the insurgency and the recent killing of six Sunni men after a meeting with local Shi’ites. While there have been inter-Sunni flare-ups in the past, these attacks suggest a new level of conflict between those wanting to join the political process and those that are set against any democratic future for the country.
  • One driver in this potentially significant split in the Arab Sunni community is execution of Saddam earlier on this year. The removal of such a powerful symbol of the past resulted in many finally abandoning the idea of a return to Baath party rule and has emboldened others that had feared his return to work towards the future of their community and country.

Cabinet Re-Shuffle

  • The Iraqi PM has once again announced he plans to reshuffle the cabinet. The reshuffle has been announced several times and if the PM does not carry it out this time, it will weaken his credibility to clean out the government from incompetent and corrupt ministers.

 

© 2007 Iraqi Prospect Organisation
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