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2013-10-17 07:31:00
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Al-Qaida is roaring back in Iraq
Baghdad/ UrukPress
Al-Qaida is roaring back in Iraq

 

Baghdad/ urukpress


As symptoms of the resurrection of al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq, a new research on the human cost of the war in Iraq estimates that roughly half a million men, women and children died between 2003 and 2011 as a direct result of violence or the associated collapse of civil infrastructure.
The surge in bombings and shootings continues, though it appears to have declined to a sustainable level of lethality. On the 13th, a series of multiple bombings across Baghdad and Shi'ite cities in the south killed at least 61 people and wounded 171 more. Attacks occurred in a dozen cities.    In the six days between 8 and 13 October, deaths averaged 40 per day and 66 wounded each day. That appears to be the latest sustainable norm. Each month the casualty toll appears to be rising. Most attacks target Shiites.  
Al-Qaida has come roaring back in Iraq since U.S. troops left in late 2011 and now looks stronger than it has in years. The terror group has shown it is capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks several times a month, driving the death toll in Iraq to the highest level in half a decade. It sees each attack as a way to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos that weakens the Shiite-led government’s authority.
 
At least 51 died in the Oct. 5 attack, many of them Shiite pilgrims walking by on their way to a shrine. No one has claimed responsibility, but there is little doubt al-Qaida’s local franchise is to blame. Suicide bombers and car bombs are its calling cards, Shiite civilians among its favorite targets.
Al-Qaida has come roaring back in Iraq since U.S. troops left in late 2011 and now looks stronger than it has in years. The terror group has shown it is capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks several times a month, driving the death toll in Iraq to the highest level in half a decade. It sees each attack as a way to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos that weakens the Shiite-led government’s authority.

Recent prison breaks have bolstered al-Qaida’s ranks, while feelings of Sunni marginalization and the chaos caused by the civil war in neighboring Syria are fueling its comeback.
The pace of the killing accelerated significantly following a deadly crackdown by security forces on a camp for Sunni protesters in the northern town of Hawija in April. United Nations figures show 712 people died violently in Iraq that month, at the time the most since 2008.
Al-Qaida does not have a monopoly on violence in Iraq, a country where most households have at least one assault rifle tucked away. Other Sunni militants, including the Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order, which has ties to members of Saddam Hussein’s now-outlawed Baath party, also carry out attacks, as do Shiite militias that are remobilizing as the violence escalates.
But al-Qaida’s indiscriminate waves of car bombs and suicide attacks, often in civilian areas, account for the bulk of the bloodshed.
The group earlier this year renamed itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, highlighting its cross-border ambitions. It is playing a more active military role alongside other predominantly Sunni rebels in the fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, and its members have carried out attacks against Syrians near the porous border inside Iraq.
The United States believes the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is now operating from Syria.
“Given the security vacuum, it makes sense for him to do that,” said Paul Floyd, a military analyst at global intelligence company Stratfor who served several U.S. Army tours in Iraq. He said the unrest in Syria could be making it even easier for al-Qaida to get its hands on explosives for use in Iraq.
A study released this month by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said al-Qaida in Iraq has emerged as “an extremely vigorous, resilient, and capable organization” that can operate as far south as Iraq’s Persian Gulf port of Basra.

The group “has reconstituted as a professional military force capable of planning, training, resourcing and executing synchronized and complex attacks in Iraq,” author Jessica Lewis added.
The study found that al-Qaida was able to carry out 24 separate attacks involving waves of six or more car bombs on a single day during a one-year period that coincided with the terror group’s “Breaking the Walls” campaign, which ended in July.