Al-Qaeda in Iraq Returns with a Vengeance

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank's work at his blog,www.politicallyunbalanced.com.


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Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), is making a viscous return to terror prominence as it launches a bloody offensive against the Iraqi government, joins the fight in Syria, and threatens to commit terrorist strikes inside the United States.

In a recording posted July 22 on a jihadist website, the ISI announced its official return atop the terrorist totem pole when it unveiled its new strategic terror plan, “Destroying the Walls,” one whose overarching aim is to reestablish the group’s power in Iraq by retaking the territory it had lost during the war.

To achieve that end, ISI leader Abu Bakr El-Baghdadi promised a violent campaign against the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government, one focused on bombing military installations and police posts, assassinating Iraqi judges and prosecutors, and breaking Islamist prisoners out of Iraqi jails

The following day, the promised jihadist blitzkrieg began in earnest as the ISI launched a coordinated series of roadside and car bomb attacks in 19 cities throughout Iraq, a deadly assault which killed over 110 people and wounded more than 250 others.

Days later, the ISI launched a second offensive of car bombings in the predominantly Sunni provinces of Diyala and Al Anbar — former al-Qaeda strongholds in western Iraq — an onslaught which killed over 40 people, including 12 Iraqi police.

The al-Qaeda-fueled carnage marked the deadliest month in Iraq since American troops withdrew from the country in December 2011. The second deadliest month was in February when the ISI unleashed a coordinated attack against Iraqi security personnel and civilians in 12 separate Iraqi cities, killing 55.

Al-Qaeda’s bloody blitz, unfortunately, is being abetted by a fractured Iraqi government whose Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is engaged in a power struggle with his Sunni opposition, a fight that only helps the ISI’s efforts to reignite Sunni fears of a permanent Shiite takeover of Iraq.

As one Iraqi security official in Diyala said, the intense fighting currently being waged by ISI raised serious concerns “about the capacity of Iraqi forces in the face of the growing strength of al-Qaeda.”

That al-Qaeda strength has been steadily growing since 2008 when the ISI was relegated to the terrorist ash heap after suffering a devastating defeat at the combined hands of Sunni tribal militias and US forces, a defeat that saw the terror group firmly ousted from its territorial strongholds in western Iraq.

Prior to that point the ISI had been the most formidable and dreaded insurgent group facing Coalition forces, one whose stock-in-trade specialty was stoking the sectarian flames between Iraq’s Sunni and Shiite populace

Specifically, the Sunni ISI would target Shiite neighborhoods with bombing and gun attacks, hoping to goad Shiite militias into retaliating against Sunni neighborhoods, a tactic that proved so successful that between 2006-2007 thousands of lives were being lost each month in the internecine warfare.

By late 2007, however, the civil strife began to dissipate with the introduction of the American “surge,” which changed America’s mission from a conventional war to a counterinsurgency, a strategy which focused on winning the “hearts and minds” of the local populace.

Not surprisingly, that strategy gained traction with Sunnis who had grown weary of being offered up for slaughter by the ISI. The result was the celebrated Anbar Awakening that drove ISI from its Iraqi strongholds and killed scores of its top leadership, including ISI founder Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

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  • Chezwick

    Sorry folks, but I'm glad we're the hell out of Iraq. This is the one and only thing that Obama has done right in his three and a half years in power.

    If we had fought to prop up a secular regime in Iraq that reflected our values (my initial rational for supporting the invasion), that would have been quite different, but to have our best and brightest go over there and get killed and maimed so that Iraq could institute a Sharia regime aligned with Iran, well, this was a rank obscenity, a tragedy on so many levels. We're better off out.

    The confessional hatreds of Shia and Sunni run a lot deeper in the Muslim collective psyche than any short-term influence America could ever exert. Let them dissipate their energies slaughtering each other instead of us.

    • aleric_kong

      There was a rational way to withdrawal, like providing advisers, logistics, training and air power to continue the gains we made.

      Then there was the Obama way, which consists of turning over the Middle East to the al-Qaeda backed Moslem brotherhood and abandoning everyone we told to rise up for basic human rights, like the women in today's Moslem world, only so Obama can win votes.

      Casualties were low before Obama's irrational withdrawal. al-Qaeda's new resurgence contradicts the leftist argument that terrorists only exist because of US involvement.

      • Chezwick

        The Iraqi government demanded the lifting of immunity for US servicemen serving in Iraq as a condition for a continuation of the American presence. No President in his right mind would have accepted such a condition. And the idea that all would have turned out well in Iraq had we just maintained a presence there is as fallacious as the belief that our continued presence in Afghanistan will somehow bring peace and stability to that tortured country.

  • ★FALCON★

    Thank Goodness Obama ended the war in Iraq responsibly or we could have had 10 years of blood and treasure circle the drain. Whew.

    I know where to find thirty thousand drones that could be used to wipe out any remnants of al-Qaida.

  • SAM000

    How naive and simplistic are USA intelligence;
    the last days violence in several points of Baghdad was done with the QODS forces and collaboration of the Iraqi security forces under direct command of Al-Maliki the Iraqi PM.

    Iraqi Parliament is planning to impeach the PM for the crimes and corruption and the result will be the destitution of the current Government who is the proxy of the Islamic Regime of Teheran.

    Al-Maliki says that his destitution will cause the VIOLENCE, AL-Maliki uses this tactic from 2005 to stay on power, the principal reason of AL-MALIKI's impeachment is his implication of these ethnic violence from 2005.
    Al-Maliki the Iraqi PM is the Commander of Security Forces, ARMY, POLICE, Special FORCES, and the target of all these bombings and assassinations are the high ranked officials who are not with Al-Maliki.

    Al-Qaeda is another name of Iranian QODS FORCES in IRAQ,

    Iran's Mullahs are fooling you the Americans, You have Gained the war of IRAQ, you offered IRAQ in a gold plate to the Iranian Mullahs and now you are playing the Mullah's game in the MIDDLE EAST.

    At this level of understanding, you the Americans, you are your lethal enemies, you yourself.
    The Mullahs play, and you are dancing with their RHYTHM.

  • melvin polatnick

    Revenge seeking Sunni tribesmen will soon be searching basements for hiding Christians. The massacre cannot be prevented unless the hunted are quickly transported to the Vatican. The Pope himself must come to Syria to supervise the evacuation.

  • amused

    Hey Chezwick again in rarity , I find myself in agreement. If Alqueda wants to light up the Iraqis , LET THE IRAQIS take care of it . Unlike these chicken-hawk armchair Generals who criticize our complete withdrawal from that place .The US gave them their chance at Liberty , if they want their necks under the heel ofSharia-Al Queda , that's there problem .

    As for you SAM000 , it was the CIA's faulty intelligence that got us in Iraq . Afghanistan next ASAP .Any thing they start in those two countries , we can finish from the air .

    • SAM000

      amused, intelligence, CIA, army, air strike and all kind of tools are only the tools, how to use them and why and for what purpose is the QUESTION.

      the first QUESTION IS;
      WHAT KIND OF human sense overturns a DICTATORSHIP for a middle aged ISLAMIC REGIME?
      or, WHY USA freed Iraq from SADDAM military regime and offered it to the enemy of humanity who is the ISLAMIC REGIME OF IRAN?!

      Second Question, which is inside the first question but concerns OBAMA's Middle eastern policy;
      WITHDRAWAL from IRAQ for the benefits of whom?
      For the benefits of democracy or the enemy of democracy?

      First action of attacking IRAQ was an historic and strategic and GEOPOLITICAL MISTAKE.

      Withdrawal of IRAQ is an STAMP of the SUPERPOWER DEATH.

      OBAMA has offered a white stamped paper to all the enemies.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    I heard some sound advice years ago, 'Never kill a man committing suicide.' seems to fit in Iraq. Evil
    hangs over the Middle East unyieldingly and will only disappear when the sky there is over
    1,000,000 times brighter than the Sun. Americans sacrificed and did their best with boots on
    the ground, the lack of change goes to the inner character of the people we try to help and
    their mellenial hatreds, fallen state and refusal of mercy and grace………………..William

    • SAM000

      You said, "the lack of change goes to the inner character of the people"

      Which kind of help?
      What help?
      Installing and supporting the proxy of the Mullahs of Iran on power in IRAQ is help?
      You have removed Saddam, BUT you have installed a regime which is 1000 times worst than Saddam, the current regime has killed more than 1 millions of Iraqians.

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