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Al Qaeda Hits Back in Anbar

Just a few weeks ago our good friends were crowing that Al Qaeda had been defeated in Anbar province and was on the ropes in Diyala province. Today, Al Qaeda demonstrated that they were wrong again.

A suicide car bomb targeting mourners at a funeral killed at least 27 people and wounded more than 30 others today in Falluja, west of Baghdad, hospital and police officials said.

The bomber was targeting a large crowd in a funeral procession for a man who was killed earlier on today, police officer Jamal Anfous said.

The man whose funeral mourners were attending was identified as Allawi al-Isawi, a local contractor who was part of a Sunni Arab initiative working against al Qaeda militants in Fallujah, 50km west of Baghdad.

I would love to see Al Qaeda wiped out of Iraq entirely but I won't base my assessment of the progress in meeting that objective on a lot of wishful thinking and starry-eyed optimism. Any rational observer who isn't trying to spin the situation for political advantage will tell you that it will take years to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq. They are dug in, well-financed, very highly motivated, and possess a fanatical devotion to their cause that is unmatched by any of the Sunni tribes they are up against.

And if Al Qaeda's resurgence in Anbar isn't bad enough, we are now seeing an increase in sectarian killings which means that Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army has regrouped and is up to its old tricks:

From the beginning of May until Tuesday, 321 unidentified corpses, many dumped and showing signs of torture and execution, have been found across the Iraqi capital, according to morgue data provided by a Health Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. The data showed that the same number of bodies were found in all of January, the month before the launch of the Baghdad security plan.

Meanwhile, the "surge" has done nothing to prevent a significant increase in the number of suicide car bombings.

In the 14 weeks preceding the start of the plan on Feb. 14, at least 821 people died in 11 attacks -- typically suicide car bombings -- that killed more than 20 people at a time, according to a Washington Post analysis. There have been at least 20 such attacks in the 14 weeks since the start of the plan, causing a death toll of at least 1,098, the analysis showed.

The "surge" isn't making any difference in Iraq and it won't because the real problem there lies in the failure of the Sunnis and Shiites to reconcile within the framework of a unified government and constitution that they can all support. This nightmare isn't going to end any time soon folks.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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