December 4, 2005


Sunni leader's slaying leads to tips (ANTONIO CASTANEDA, 12/03/05, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SAMARRA, Iraq -- After keeping their distance for months, Iraqis in this Sunni Arab city suddenly began cooperating with U.S. troops, leading them to insurgents and hidden weapons caches. The reason: anger over the assassination by insurgents of a local tribal chief.

"That's when they decided to make a stand," said Capt. Ryan Wylie of Lincoln, Neb., commander of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment. "They definitely had an idea of the terrorists and where they hang out."

U.S. commanders cite other reasons for a lull in violence in this city 60 miles north of Baghdad. They include construction of an 11-mile berm around the city to block gun runners and a greater reliance by the military on covert monitoring positions.

But almost everyone agrees that the biggest reason for the reduction in violence here was the public backlash against the insurgents after the Oct. 11 assassination of Sheik Hikmat Mumtaz al-Bazi, chief of one of the area's seven tribes.

Buried in Amman's Rubble: Zarqawi's Support (Fawaz Gerges, December 4, 2005, Washington Post)
Amid the continuing bloodshed in Iraq, there is evidence of fresh thinking. The change is, ironically, brought about by Abu Musab Zarqawi himself, whose indiscriminate terrorism appears to have succeeded in uniting people there against his global jihad ideology. Since the hotel bombings in Zarqawi's native Jordan, more and more Sunni Iraqis and Arabs have condemned the terrorist leader's nightmarish vision for their societies -- one that promises further "catastrophic" suicide attacks. Their reaction represents an important turning point, both for the militants for whom this change of outlook represents a new predicament and for the U.S. government, which must recognize that securing Iraq's future stability is not up to foreign military forces but depends on local public opinion.

Now that the holy warriors are waging their struggle in the heart of the Muslim community, or ummah -- in shopping centers, residential compounds, hotels and restaurants -- Muslims are getting a closer look at the terrorists' lack of respect for life, and most don't like what they see.

Might we consider our victory in the Cold War to have been pre-emptive? The defeat of Marxism/Socialis/Bolshevism took away the only positive (though obviously wrong) political program that's shown any broad appeal in opposition to liberal democracy in the past century at least.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2005 10:15 AM

but,but,but... we can't be winning! ten more Marines were killed this week !

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at December 4, 2005 11:02 AM

We must be winning. Even Gerges is coming around lately ... too lately, but finally.

Posted by: Genecis at December 4, 2005 11:38 AM

Actually, the main criticism of Gerges has been a tendency to minimize the threat of Islamicism--he's right.

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2005 11:45 AM

--which must recognize that securing Iraq's future stability is not up to foreign military forces but depends on local public opinion.--

Is it me or is this a well, DUH! statement?

Actually, I'm more along the lines of No S*(t, Sherlock.

Posted by: Sandy P at December 4, 2005 11:10 PM