More troops for Anbar and Baghdad

I heard on the news today that US President Bush is going to officially announce his plan to send an additional 20,000 US troops to Iraq. The news report said the troops were going to Baghdad with the mission of confronting the Shiite militia’s and Sunni insurgency to quell the violent sectarian war which has been plaguing Baghdad of late.

A later report on the news said the new Iraqi Government had also decided to increase troop levels in Baghdad to match the US surge- this article suggested a door-to-door search would be conducted by joint US-Iraqi forces. The aim is to root out militias and insurgents in hope of stabilizing Baghdad before a gradual US withdrawal. There have been rumours Democrats in the new congress would not provide funds for these troops- yet the most senior Democrats insist they will not cut off funding for US troops in Iraq.

Assuming this all goes ahead and the Iraqi army can equal the US troop deployment (unlikely, they will probably match at least half however). I would assume at least 25% of these forces will not be present in Baghdad and will likely go to Anbar as suggested. Continue reading More troops for Anbar and Baghdad

Punishment of Saddam Hussein

On Sunday the 5th of November an event occurred which shook, and sometimes shocked members of the Iraqi blogosphere; Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death. For those who don’t know the court case was in relation to the slaughter of 148 civilians in the town of Dujail 1982, as revenge for a failed attempt to assassinate Saddam Hussein. Iraqi’s in the Middle Eastern blogosphere reacted in different ways- but one thing was clear; they know he’s guilty, but is he getting off too easy?

The first and most important place to start with this report is over at Asterism. Here Salam Adil has already written a round-up of discussion about the Saddam verdict in the Iraqi Blogosphere; make sure you check it out. Next most important is probably this post by Zeyad from Healing Iraq, also a round-up of the Iraqi blogosphere’s responses. Another round-up of responses from the Iraqi blogosphere was also completed this week, however this time not from within the Iraqi blogosphere. Continue reading Punishment of Saddam Hussein

Religious extremism on the rise in post-Saddam Iraq

The rise of religious extremism in Iraq is a result of the US-lead invasion in 2003. In dire times it is not uncommon for people to turn to religion and extremist groups who knew this used Anti-US sentiments to gain support in Iraq after Saddam’s fall.

Extremists groups crossed the border from Iran (the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq // “Badr Corps”), Saudi Arabia and Jordan (“Al-Qaeda in Iraq”). Prominent religious leaders, whose strong stance against the presence of Coalition forces in Iraq had won over many Iraqi’s, began to envision an Islamic theocracy in Iraq. Damage caused to important religious sites also inflamed caused people to rally behind their religious leaders, who have become more extreme as the occupation continues. As a result of the invasion and the cunning of extremist leaders, religious extremism has thrived in Iraq since 2003.

Through out history it is noted that people tend to turn to religion in times of crisis and war as faith allows us to remain optimistic. This means the already deep roots of religion in Iraq became suddenly much more important during and after the 2003 invasion, providing religious figures with the confidence to speak their minds and promote their own motives. Irani religious leaders including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani provided imported Shiite leaders with credibility and support by endorsing the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite Bloc) in Iraq’s first round of elections. Continue reading Religious extremism on the rise in post-Saddam Iraq