year of ever increasing violence against Iraqi civilians, the Islamic
terrorists have gone into decline over the Summer. Civilian deaths in September
were about half what they were in August, and that was after a decline in
August compared to July. But the twelve months before that were the most
horrendous in Iraqi history. While the Shia death squads became more active,
the Sunni Arab terrorists kept using spectacular car and truck bomb attacks
against civilians (mostly Shia). Sunni Arab death squads, especially from al
Qaeda, increased their attacks on Sunni Arab leaders who were backing away from
supporting the Sunni Arab terror campaign.
The Sunni Arab terrorist
campaign, an attempt to regain control of the country, has been disastrous for
the Iraqi Sunni Arabs. There were about five million of them in 2003, when
their leader, Saddam Hussein, was overthrown. Since then, about half have fled
the country, while over 60,000 have been killed. Neighboring Sunni Arab nations
have also backed away from support for the Iraqi Sunnis. The majority
population in Iraq, the Shia and Kurds, have long hated the Sunni Arabs, and
that hatred only grew as Sunni Arab terrorists increased their attacks over the
last four years. Now, even the Sunni Arab community, or at least most of it,
has turned on the terrorists. For example, a recent peace treaty in Diyala
province, between the government and the tribal leaders, included 11 Sunni, six
Shia and three Kurdish tribes. About half the 1.6 million population of the
province belong to these 20 tribes. Diyala is a largely Sunni Arab area
northeast of Baghdad. Long a stronghold of Sunni Arab nationalism, and support
for Sunni Arab terrorists, the peace deal has broken the back of that terrorist
support. A year ago, it would have been suicide for a Sunni tribal elder to
come out in support of the government. Such a move is still dangerous, but now
it's considered a risky, but wise, course of action.
communications (phone calls, emails, captured letters) indicate increasing
desperation. Al Qaeda has lost half its leadership this year, and the
replacements find themselves struggling just to stay alive in the face
increasing activity by American and Iraqi troops.
What hit the Iraqi
terrorists was a perfect storm of misfortune. The years of attacks had left the
Americans with a huge database of information on who the terrorists were, and
how they operated. With that, the terrorists were easier to track and run down.
By 2007, most of the American troops in Iraq had been there before. They were
combat experienced, and this made their raids, patrols and searches more rapid,
thorough and effective. Same with Iraqi troops and police. Finally, the sending
of 30,000 additional American troops created a critical level of forces for
running down and smashing entire terrorist networks. Each province contained
several of these, and as the Summer wore on, the lights began to go out. Week
by week, terrorist cells and networks went offline. No one could reach them,
and that's because the members were either dead, or fled.
Recently, al Qaeda
communications have been referring to the "Iraq problem." In other
words, "how are we going to spin our defeat in Iraq." Good question.
The answer will soon be revealed.