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U.S. Military Occupation Of Iraq Did Not Resolve Long-Term Issues

April 1, 2009

The fact remains that the long-term political issues that exist in Iraq are still there, simmering and mostly unresolved.  Now there comes more reporting that the violence that we all witnessed during the U.S. occupation promises to return.  The large number of U.S. forces that are in that country were supposed to allow for breathing space so the political leaders could reconcile differences, and better establish a working government.  As the American forces are rightfully preparing to leave comes the latest evidence that the violence of the past probably is not over.  To what extent the violence erupts is questionable, but the pot and ingredients are all there for chaos.  

Other officials, Iraqi and American, are more worried. They observe jihadi and other insurgent groups activating networks of sleeper cells, which are already striking government and civilian targets. Insurgent groups linked to the rule of Mr. Hussein are also reviving.

Among the most powerful now is Nashqabandi, which is believed to have ties to a former Hussein deputy, Izzat Ibrahimal-Douri. The organization, which gets money from Iraqi exiles in Syria, formed an alliance with religious Sunni extremists, according to American and Iraqi military intelligence.

Al Qaedaand the hard-core Saddamists are the main threats to the national security of Iraq,” said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser.

“Nashqabandi is the cradle; they are providing logistical support for Al Qaeda,” he said. “What we are seeing is the resurgence of the hard-core Saddamists, but using Al Qaeda in Iraq as a front and as suicide bombers.”

American military officials believe they have checked the insurgency, but liken it to a spring. “It can come up quickly as soon as it is released, but the longer you keep it down the less it rebounds,” said Col. James Phelps, an insurgency expert attached to the multinational force in Iraq. “Some Al Qaeda in Iraq leadership did go to ground,” he said.

In interviews with 14 leaders of the Awakening movement, which has been credited with helping to reduce violence, all said they believed that the jihadi presence in their areas had increased, as American troops began to close combat outposts or hand them over to the Iraqi Army, a first step toward withdrawing entirely. The Awakening leaders reported signs of trouble: assassination attempts, homemade bombs placed near their homes or under their cars, leaflets urging them not to work with the Iraqi government.

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