Unrest Builds Again In Iraq
Highlighting that violence in Iraq spiked up with a marked rise in suicide bombers in Iraq, the United States of America today outlined efforts to halt the accelerating Al-Qaeda’s resurgence in the Middle Eastern nation.
In his testimony in Washington DC, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran and Iran Brett McGurk discussed the situation in Iraq with a focus on al Qaeda’s primary offshoot in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and how the US government addressed this issue.
The ISIL islamist group is prominent for its suicide bombers who struck regularly, targeting Shia civilians targets, also Sunni areas for the purpose to contest territory and Kurdish areas aiming to spark ethnic conflict.
ISIL’s brutal tactics
According to Mr. McGurk, the ISIL militants began to execute its strategy across the Syrian border in Iraq.
He said the violence in Iraq ticked up towards the end of 2012, but did not accelerate until early 2013, with a marked rise in suicide bombers.
ISIL sicide bombers are foreign fighters, recruited through extreme propaganda on the promise of paradise for killing other Muslims.
Mr. McGurk said suicide bombers have a pernicious effect on the stability of Iraq, and demonstrate a sophisticated global network that is able to recruit, train, and deploy, human beings to commit suicide and mass murder.
The suicide bombers are, in a twisted turn of logic, ISIL’s most precious resource, Mr. McGurk added.
suicide bombers increasing in number in Iraq
By early 2013, signs of ISIL shifted its resources from Syria to Iraq.
In 2012, Iraq witnessed an average of 5-10 suicide attacks per month.
In summer 2013, it was averaging 30-40 suicide attacks per month, and increasingly coordinated and effective attacks.
On March 14, 2013, there five suicide bombers from ISIL who took over the Iraqi Ministry of Justice in downtown Baghdad.
By the summer of 2013, ISIL suicide bombers struck regularly, focused primarily on Shia civilian targets. In November 2013, Iraq witnessed 50 suicide attacks, compared with only three in November 2012.
ISIL attacks are known to be calculated, coordinated, and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
focused U.S. Support
According to Mr. Mcgurk, political and economic initiatives are necessary for defeating a network like ISIL.
Addressing the shortfall of the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) where Iraq lacks of armored helicopters, the Iraqi, the US will deliver 10 Scan Eagle surveillance UAVs this spring, and 48 Raven UAVs later this year, all of which, when used in combination with other platforms, can provide regular surveillance of the Jazeera region and the Iraq-Syria border.
In addition, the US has increased bilateral and regional training opportunities for Iraqi counterterrorism (CT) units, and expedited deliveries of key CT-related equipment for Iraq’s highest-end and most disciplined units.
Mr. Mcgurk said U.S. trainers with the Embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation are also conducting non-operational training with these high-end Iraqi operators, and Iraq and Jordan have discussed the possibility of advanced training for Iraqi forces in Jordan.
Alqaeda gaining control of Iraq again?
Earlier this year, al-Qaeda-linked militants hold control of much of the Iraqi city of Fallujah and other nearby towns. The militants successfully fought off efforts by Iraqi troops with air support to regain control.
The al-Qaeda fighters have captured American military equipment used by the the U.S. Marines and given to Fallujah police.
Fallujah is notorious among American Marines from 2004 when insurgents killed four American security contractors and hung their burned bodies from a bridge. It became the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq War. Over 100 U.S. Marines were killed and hundreds wounded in the second battle of Fallujah in 2004.
US Troops Left Iraq
In December 2011, the last convoy of U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq.
The move signaled the end of nearly nine years of war that cost almost 4,500 American and many of thousands of Iraqi lives.
The war was launched in March 2003 in an aim to oust President Saddam Hussein.
During the war, more than 170,000 American troops were in Iraq at more than 500 bases.