Home > Gaza, Iraq, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Shoshana Bryen, Syria, Uncategorized > Iraq right to fight al Qaeda, resist Ba’ath

Iraq right to fight al Qaeda, resist Ba’ath

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Over the summer, the Government of Iraq accused the Government of Syria of harboring al Qaeda camps and permitting operatives to cross the border into Iraq to attack Iraqis and Americans-including the attack on August 19, 2009 that killed 95 people and wounded more than 500 in the heart of Baghdad. The State Department responded:

“We understand that there has been sort of mutual recall of the ambassadors. We consider that an internal matter. We believe that, as a general principle, that diplomatic dialogue is the best means to address the concerns of both parties. We are working with the Iraqis to determine who perpetrated these horrible acts of violence….We hope this doesn’t hinder dialogue between the two countries.”

Not America’s problem. Internal stuff. They both have issues. Hope they work it out.
 
But just let the Iraqi election commission decide that some candidates planning to run in the March election are ineligible because they have ties to the Ba’ath Party-illegal in Iraq for obvious reasons-and Vice President Biden dashes off to Baghdad. The Iraqis said Mr. Biden proposed deferring the ruling on eligibility until after the election. All candidates could sign a pledge denouncing the Ba’ath Party and all could stay on the ballot. Then, after the people vote, the commission could try to prevent any candidates determined post facto to be illegal from taking their seats. The Iraqis, in a welcome display of political maturity, declined.
 
The Americans said it wasn’t like that. Tony Blinken, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, said, “There is no American plan…the Iraqis themselves are seized with it.” In an odd echo, Mr. Biden said, “Iraq’s leaders are seized with this issue.”
 
Two points. 
 
First, the Bush Administration, with the full agreement of Israel, decided that Hamas, a terrorist organization by charter and practice, should be treated like a political party for the purpose of elections. Look how well that turned out for the Palestinians. Winning only a plurality in a single legislative election, they did what terrorist organizations do-they went to war, first against Fatah and then against Israel. Abu Mazen has since canceled the scheduled presidential election, and any reasonable hope for political evolution is dead. You would think the Obama Administration, interested as it is in being different from its predecessor, would not make the same mistake in Iraq.
 
Second, if you don’t believe us, listen to Saleh Mutlak, a banned candidate. “What they are doing could be a real danger in the near future. America wants to withdraw from Iraq, but if this stands it will lead to different factors in the political process, people will lose hope and there could be more violence.” The head of the election commission replied that those words “are an indirect admission that he will commit to violence, in my personal opinion.” 
 
We disagree-it is a direct admission and a direct threat.
 
The Iraqi government should hang tough on this. The Iraqi people have to believe and know that elections are a regular part of national life, political parties have to meet the legal standard to run and terrorist organizations are not political parties. If Mr. Mutlak is not an acceptable candidate because of his support for the Ba’ath Party, that’s too bad; vote for someone else.
 
As for the Iraqi-Syrian problem, Iraqi forces are reported to have killed Saad Uwayid Obeid Mijbil Al Shamari, known as Abu Khalaf. Middle East Newsline reports that U.S. military sources said, “For the past four years (Abu Khalaf) was considered by U.S. and Iraqi intelligence officials to be a foremost senior al Qaeda foreign terrorist facilitator who assisted in the movement of hundreds of terrorists from Syria into Iraq. These foreign terrorists conducted numerous high-profile attacks throughout Iraq and killed many people, including security forces in Iraq, Iraqi government workers, and civilians,” including those killed last August.
 
It seems that Iraq is “seized” of the right issues.

**

Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member

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