OpinionMeister

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Al Qaeda Losing Iraqi Hearts and Minds

Strategy Page has a fascinating post titled "IRAQ: Fiction Outsells Non-Fiction." Link. It deals with the many Iraqi stories that the MSM miss, holed up on one hotel in the Green Zone and not venturing out where it is dangerous, but where the real stories are. The biggest story in my opinion:
Iraqi popular opinion has turned against terrorism in a big way. Apparently the key event was the revelation that Osama bin Laden had appointed Abu Musab al Zarqawi as "Emir" (leader) of al Qaeda efforts in Iraq and commanded him to go forth and kill big-time. But as suicide bombing attacks increasingly failed to reach American targets, and killed Iraqis instead, it appeared that a Saudi (bin Laden) was telling a Jordanian (Zarqawi) to kill Iraqis. This attitude never made headlines, but it slowly spread among Sunni Arab Iraqis over the last year. Sunni Arab areas where were most of the violence was, particularly after Shia Arab demagogue Moqtada Sadr stopped instigating violence (because he found that he had much less popular support than he believed). Once the Sunni Arabs turned against terrorism, the terrorists found themselves operating in an increasingly hostile environment.

It is obvious that the effectiveness of the terrorists has declined sharply. I am sure that there are many reasons, including the effectiveness of US forces and the growing number and ability of Iraqi security forces, but this has got to be a big one. Mao described how guerrillas are like fish swimming in friendly waters. If the waters become unfriendly, the fish cannot swim there. It doesn't matter whether the cooperation comes from support or fear, as long as it is there. The terrorists in Iraq are now acting more and more despite the local population, not with its help and support.

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