Mar 28 2008
The move in Iraq to take out the Shiite Militias is an interesting development. On the one hand President Bush is correct that the destruction of al-Qaeda as a force in Iraq has given Maliki’s government to move onto the next problem – the Shiite Militia’s under Moqtada Sadr’s control. If successful Iraq will have defeated its too largest internal threats. But this is the dicier of the two problems because, unlike al-Qaeda which has been led by foreigners and used foreign suicide bombers to create an uprising against it in Iraq, it is not clear how much support Sadr has in Iraq. My guess is he has very little, which is why he has been holding back with a cease fire right now. And the Iraqi security forces are now strong enough (especially with allied air support), to deal some major blows to the Militias. And this is what we are seeing:
Separately, U.S.-led coalition planes dropped bombs on Shiite militia positions overnight in the southern city of Basra, a British military spokesman said.
British forces spokesman Maj. Tom Holloway said the aircraft opened fire twice on militia targets.
“The first one was a building which had a large amount of militia groups inside and around it, and the second strike was on enemy mortar team, which was shelling one of the Iraqi army positions,” Holloway said on CNN’s “American Morning.”
The British military said the firings were the first by coalition forces since the Iraqi army launched an operation Tuesday in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city.
At least 120 militia fighters have been killed and 240 wounded in Basra since the military operation started, said an Iraqi Defense Ministry official on condition of anonymity.
Iraq’s parliament called a special session for Friday to address the crisis.
This is a great opportunity for the Iraq government and parliament to determine its future. Speculating again, I believe they will see this through since it is highly unlikely Maliki moved without gaining support ahead of time. And while the hand-wringers will latch onto every move as a sign of the pending doom of Iraq they have been predicting – but not seeing – for five years, the fact is Maliki is applying a good mix of big stick and carrots to give Sadr an opportunity to relent or have his forces decimated:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office says the government has given residents of the southern city of Basra until April 8 to turn over “heavy and medium-size weapons” in return for a reward.
Government adviser Sadiq al-Rikabi says the deadline is separate from a three-day ultimatum for gunmen to surrender their arms and renounce violence or face harsher measures. That expires later Friday.
The move instead appears to be aimed at noncombatants who may have weapons like machine-guns and grenade launchers either for smuggling purposes or to sell to militants or criminal gangs.
If Iraq succeeds, as I said, then the two largest threats to peace and security will have been dealt with. Only time will tell, but I would not bet against Iraq at this point in time. It has come too far, fought through too many hurdles to lose all of it now. And interestingly enough, the country as whole is not rising up in defiance – just the militias.
In Pakistan the fighting is still escalating in many areas. I see this as the ‘lancing the boil’ phase where those who strive through violence to gain ground are going to run into those looking to end the fighting and take out the miscreants. For example, al-Qaeda and radical elements of the Taliban are starting to target the Pakistani anti-terrorist forces:
Two Pakistani intelligence agents involved in tracking al-Qaeda suspects have been shot dead in the southern port city of Karachi, police say.
Inspector Mohammad Ibrahim and his deputy, Fazlur Rahman, were employees of Pakistan’s main civilian spy agency.
The men were attacked late on Thursday at a car showroom in a commercial area.
If government security forces find themselves the targets if Islamo Fascists they will retaliate and redouble their efforts:
Lahore, Mar 28: Police have arrested two terrorists who were allegedly involved in recent twin suicide bombings in the city and seized a suicide jacket and a huge cache of explosives from their possession.
Shehzad was living in a rented house where his accomplices visited him to discuss future attacks. He had also sheltered some suicide bombers in his house. Hussain ran a phone booth where suicide bombers and other extremists had allegedly met him.
Among the items seized from the two men were 60 detonators, over 60 packs of explosive powder and a suicide jacket.
I doubt the Pakistani public appreciates such a large arms cache being housed amongst their families and neighborhoods. I still am of the opinion the desire for peace by the general public in Pakistan will drive the people there to realize the terrorists in their midsts are the source of all their problems, and could begin to give the government the support they need to take the fight to the source of all the problems.
In fact, there are signs, as there have been for months, that there is a lot of infighting between the tribes that live in the tribal areas of Pakistan. In fact, there has been a lot of sectarian fighting between Shiites and Sunnis in the region:
Sectarian violence between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims has intensified in a tribal region of northwest Pakistan, with at least 22 people reportedly killed in gunbattles, a senior official said.
“Dead bodies are lying inside houses and in fields,” said Qalb-e-Hassan, a newly elected provincial legislator from Kohat town.
Fighting overnight was concentrated in three villages of Kohat district of North West Frontier Province.
The latest clashes, between men from the Mishti and Kachai tribes, brought the toll to more than 50 in an outbreak of sectarian violence that began last week.
While Kohat is plagued with sectarian unrest, al Qaeda-linked militants have unleashed a wave of violence on the rest of Pakistan. Nearly 600 people have been killed since the start of the year, many of them victims of suicide attacks.
It is only a matter of time, in my opinion, before Pakistan tires of these murderous thugs and start to realize the fighting is not due to America, but due to the thugs they have allowed to run amok in their country.
In case you are wondering, things are also going badly for the terrorists in Afghanistan as well. The Taliban are making bold predictions that they will take down the government there, which I seriously doubt they can pull off. What it will end up being is more jihadis marching into the jaws of the allied and Afghan security forces, demonstrating again their impotence against the new order – which is allied to the West.
One final note of concern closer to home as the US sees an increased risk from home grown terrorists who still want to bring Jihad to our shores:
Law enforcement officials and security experts are warning against the threat of homegrown terrorism as several cases involving alleged American jihadists enter the courts.
“The public is getting complacent,” New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly tells FOX News. Kelly, who was the police commissioner during the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, has developed a task force of counterterrorism officers trained to spot jihadists.
Several terror-related cases now in the courts highlight this need for continued vigilance, experts say.
â€” In Florida, the retrial of six of the “Liberty City Seven” is coming to a close. The group members, who allegedly plotted to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago and swore allegiance to Al Qaeda on a secret FBI surveillance tape, were arrested in June 2006. Their first trial ended in a not-guilty verdict for one defendant and a mistrial for the other six.
â€” In Washington state, the murder trial has begun for Pakistani-American Naveed Haq, who is accused of opening fire in Seattle’s Jewish Federation Building in July 2006, killing one woman and wounding five others. Haq allegedly said he was mad at the Jews and how they are running the country.
Two other cases are to enter court next month.
â€” In Michigan, a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Houssein Zorkot, a Lebanese-born medical student at Wayne State University in Detroit who posted on his Web site in September 2007 that he was launching a personal jihad. He was arrested that same day in a nearby park, wearing camouflage paint and holding a loaded AK-47.
â€” In South Carolina a trial is set for Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed, two University of South Florida students who officials say had pipe bombs in their car when they were caught speeding near the Goose Creek weapons base.
At a minimum these trials will remind America that the dearth of attacks on America since 9-11 is not because the terrorists are not dedicated to pull off another attack, but because of the diligence of our security efforts – which Democrats keep claiming we don’t need anymore. The delusions of the left will be in stark contrasts to the realities of terrorism that will be on trial for the coming months.