Iraq: March 17, 2005


Iraqi popular opinion has turned against terrorism in a big way. Apparently the key event was the revelation that Osama bin Laden had appointed Abu Musab al Zarqawi as "Emir" (leader) of al Qaeda efforts in Iraq, and commanded him to go forth and kill as many enemies of Islam as possible. But as suicide bombing attacks increasingly failed to reach American targets, and killed Iraqis instead, it appeared that a Saudi (bin Laden) was telling a Jordanian (Zarqawi) to kill Iraqis. This attitude never made headlines, but it slowly spread among Sunni Arab Iraqis over the last year.  Sunni Arab areas where were most of the violence was, particularly after Shia Arab demagogue Moqtada Sadr stopped instigating violence (because he found that he had much less popular support than he believed). Once the Sunni Arabs turned against terrorism, the terrorists found themselves operating in an increasingly hostile environment. 

A big story that the media missed was that American troops operating outside the fortified camps (like the Green Zone) were a lot closer to what was going on than your average reporter (who doesn't get out much because of the danger). The combat troops, and many of the non-combat troops, deal with the danger, and Iraqis, on a daily basis. The troops saw the change in attitude among Iraqis. They also saw, in neighborhood after neighborhood, the sharp decline in attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces. They knew the reason for this was the ongoing reconstruction work (mainly supervised by coalition troops), and continuing terror attacks that killed mostly Iraqis. The foreign media appeared to be describing a place that sort of looked like Iraq, but wasn't. Because of the growing availability of email in Iraq, for Iraqis and foreign troops, more people around the world are able to get unfiltered (by journalists) reports from inside Iraq. This has left recipients of these emails wondering what's going on with the reporters. It's simple; fiction always outsells non-fiction.  


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