No thought about al Qaeda going away
Al Qaeda is a disease that infects an already sick patient and eats away as more victims die and mount. The scourge can be cured only when the host nation mounts an effective resistance and develops an economy that provides some immunity against terrorism.
“Scores dead after multiple 'al-Qaeda' Iraq bombings
Scores of people were killed on Tuesday in a string of bombings and shootings across Iraq, a coordinated escalation in violence almost certainly the work of al-Qaeda.
By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent
3:22PM GMT 20 Mar 2012
Two car bombs exploded in Karbala, a centre of Shia worship south of Baghdad, killing 13 people and injuring 50 in a shopping area.
Among the dead were five Iranian pilgrims, visiting the shrines in the city to the two founding martyrs of the Shia faith.
A similar double bombing took place in Kirkuk, a city in the north of the country at the centre of several sectarian and ethnic divides, also killing 13 people.
It was thought the bombings were intended to disrupt an Arab League summit due to take place in Baghdad next week.
The double car bomb is a standard tactic of al-Qaeda and linked to Sunni militant groups in Iraq, with an initial explosion attracting the attention of police and other emergency services and a second bomb exploding when they arrive."The second explosion caused the biggest destruction. I saw body parts, fingers, hands thrown on the road," Murtadha Ali Kadhim, a 23-year-old shop worker in Karbala, told the Reuters news agency. "The security forces are stupid because they always gather at the site of an explosion and then a second explosion occurs. They become a target."
In Baghdad, one bomb hit an office of the foreign ministry and a second struck a security patrol, killing three police. A gun attack on a church killed three more.
In all, 14 towns and cities were attacked, with the death toll estimated at 49 by late afternoon. The number of wounded was put at almost 200.
In most of the cases, the targets seem to have been civilians and police, but a motorcade carrying the governor of Anbar province, a Sunni heartland west of Baghdad stretching to the Syrian border, and long a haven for al-Qaeda, was also hit. A bodyguard was killed.
Violence in Iraq has declined since the heights of the near civil war that followed the invasion of 2003, and Shia militant groups have mostly declared their intention to cease altogether and join the political process since the American troop withdrawal last year.
But the dominance of the political landscape by the Shia, who make up the biggest single group in the country, has fractured the Sunni community into competing groups, a minority of which have proved to be recruiting grounds for the terrorists.
A statement by the Islamic State of Iraq, al-Qaeda's local franchise, after the last major bombings on February 23 said they had been revenge for the arrest, torture and execution of Sunnis in the country.
"Know that the coming stage is a stage of real confrontation and war against the despicable (Shia), whether you like it or not," it said. "There is no way out of it and there is no swerving from it."
Diplomats say a pattern has emerged of serious attacks every five or six weeks, indicating that the group does not have the numbers or material for sustained campaigns, but they had also been expecting a surge before and during the Arab League summit due to be held next week.
An unverified statement purporting to be from Islamic State of Iraq last night claimed responsibility for the attack on the foreign ministry building, saying it had been handling security for the summit.
Hosting the summit was an ambitious decision by the Iraqi government, which has been attempting to spruce up the bomb-scarred capital for months in preparation.
But the government of Nuri al-Maliki, the prime minister, is keen to balance the country's new friendship with Iran with restoring better relations with those Sunni-led neighbours like Saudi Arabia who dominate the League's politics.
During the summit, parts of Baghdad will be sealed off, regular flights toBaghdad International Airport will stop, and on the day of the heads of government meeting on March 29, a curfew will be imposed.”