Sunday, March 04, 2007

Insurgents Burn Their Bridges -- Even With Sunnis

Alissa Rubin, formerly an L.A. Times correspondent in Baghdad, has reported to work for the New York Times there, and in an article in the NYT Saturday had a riveting account of the latest episode of mindless terror in Anbar province.

Her story was about how 10 masked men showed up at a soccer game in Ramadi, and immediately killed two of the young players who they accused of working with the Secret Police in front of the whole crowd. The father of one of the victims, Nawaf Al-Zuali, cried, "They killed them before the audience, and nobody moved to help them."

The men first had their hands tied, and then were shot dead, one as he tried to flee the scene.

On the same day, insurgents kidnapped 18 Shiite policemen in supposed reprisal for the reported rape of a Sunni women. Sixteen of the 18 were soon thereafter found murdered. None apparently had had anything to do with the reported rape. Shortly before, a bomb at a school killed 40 young people about to take their examinations. Other bombs have been detonated in market places, killimg shoppers indiscrimately.

Monday morning, a new suicide bombing killed 26 in Baghdad and six Shiite pilgrims were shot. So much for claims on Sunday that the violence in Baghdad had been reduced by the new U.S. security operation.

Two quotes in the New York Times article on the latest bombing -- directed at Baghdad's age-old book market -- capture the spirit of the terrorists. Poet Abdul Baqi Faidhullah observed, "There are no Americans or Iraqi politicians here -- there are only Iraqi intellectuals who represent themselves and their homeland, plus stationery and book dealers. Those who did this are like savage machines intent on harvesting souls and killing all bright minds." Wissam Arif, a browser of the book market, said, "Those terrorists do not represent Islam. They are fighting science. They hate the light of science and scientists. Haven't they killed hundreds of prophets and intellectuals?"

In short, those trying to disrupt Iraq come out of the Dark Ages. They represent no authentic religion, and the only way to deal with them is to stamp them out, eliminate them from the face of the earth.

Meanwhile, the British conducted a raid on security police in Basra and discovered 30 prisoners in various stages of torture, showing that on both sides of the sectarian divide, brutality continues.

How long can this violence go on? It has grown so terrible that most elements of Iraqi society are putting up their hands and screaming: "Enough." It is a stain against fundamentalist Islam, but, as columnist Tom Friedman of the New York Times has pointed out, moderate Muslims for the most part have had no strong reaction. They disgracefully sit idly by.

In Anbar, though, some Sunni groups have been fighting the insurgents, and especially foreign Arabs who have smuggled themselves across Iraq's borders to join al Qaeda in attacking American soldiers and the Shiites.

Perhaps things have reached a kind of turning point, and the situation may improve some day. But there is no sure sign of this today.

Rather, despite U.S. efforts under President Bush's plan for a "surge" of new troops to control Shiite reprisals and stem the sectarian violence. they seem thus far only to have encouraged further terrorist attacks.

The strategy apparently is Al Qaeda's plan. Cynically trying to exacerbate tensions to cause a nightmare which will buttress anti-war sentiment in the U.S. homeland, the terrorists constantly show up in innocent situations and murder people. No wonder an estimated two million citizens have fled Iraq and are burdening neighbors like Syria and Jordan.

We go from worse to worse. What will be the end of it? After all, suicide bombings, that most contemptiable human activity, continue and are expanding in new areas, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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