From Baghdad comes news of a popular uprising against al Qaeda:
A battle raged in west Baghdad on Thursday after residents rose up against al-Qaida and called for U.S. military help to end random gunfire that forced people to huddle indoors and threats that kept students from final exams, a member of the district council said.
U.S. forces backed by helicopter gunships clashed with suspected al- Qaida gunmen in western Baghdad’s primarily Sunni Muslim Amariyah neighborhood in an engagement that lasted several hours, said the district councilman, who would not allow use of his name for fear of al-Qaida retribution.
[T]he councilman said the al-Qaida leader in the Amariyah district, known as Haji Hameed, was killed and 45 other fighters were detained.
Members of al-Qaida, who consider the district part of their so-called Islamic State of Iraq, were preventing students from attending final exams, shooting randomly and forcing residents to stay in their homes, the councilman said.
We have noted a number of similar stories over the past several years. No doubt a large majority of Iraqis have little sympathy for al Qaeda and other extremist groups, and want the violence to end. Whether that majority has been unable or unwilling to assert itself effectively, or whether there are simply too many Iraqis (albeit certainly a minority) who are content to perpetrate or condone violence, is hard to say. But it is very late in the day for the “silent majority” to make itself heard.
Another story out of Iraq is that American military commanders are talking to various insurgent groups about a cease-fire:
U.S. military commanders are talking with Iraqi militants about cease-fires and other arrangements to try to stop the violence, the No. 2 American commander said Thursday.
Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno said he has authorized commanders at all levels to reach out to militants, tribes, religious leaders and others in the country that has been gripped by violence from a range of fronts including insurgents, sectarian rivals and common criminals.
“We are talking about cease-fires, and maybe signing some things that say they won’t conduct operations against the government of Iraq or against coalition forces,” Odierno told Pentagon reporters in a video conference from Baghdad.
This, too, is another in a series of similar reports extending over a period of years. From time to time, various groups have been said to agree to lay down their arms. But it seems pretty clear that there are still more than enough Iraqis and foreigners who want to keep firing to frustrate such efforts, especially when the die-hard insurgents see the level of agitation for withdrawal here in the U.S.
Via Power Line News.
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