There is serious concern regarding the return of violence in Iraq. Last Thursday, two explosions shook Iraq and 180 people were killed and injured. One of the bombings targeted civilians whilst the other was carried out by a female suicide bomber who killed ten policemen who were distributing aid to displaced families in south-east Baghdad. It is as if the incidents of the past are repeating themselves only less frequently.
It is assumed that the years of bloodshed since 2004 have taught the Iraqis some basic facts, enough to counter the renewal of the plot to set Iraq alight once more. The Iraqis have realised that the majority of bombings are carried out against civilians rather than military bodies, whether American or Iraqi; this contradicts the claim that it is resistance. Many of these explosions sought to cause sectarian violence by targeting Sunni mosques and Shia Husseiniyas. They would be followed by statements and recordings that openly call for sectarian war. Moreover, a number of those who were arrested gave a clear picture of the nature of terrorism, arguing that it not like how the Arab media portrays it – as insurgence and national resistance – and evidence of this is the fact that the most violent insurgents were [non-Iraqi] Arabs and non-Arabs. Furthermore, weapons and explosives were brought into Iraq from abroad in an organized manner, which indicated that regional governments had a hand in this procedure.
At a later stage, through political interaction and commitment of these governments to cooperate regarding security, the violence came to an abrupt stop. Moreover, information revealed that most of the activists abroad – Iraqis in opposition who were involved in terror acts – were actually linked to foreign parties. In short, many of the incidents that occurred in Iraq were not acts of innocent resistance. The fact of the matter is that most of the bombings have targeted Iraqi civilians, which means that the purpose of all this was to stipulate conditions upon the Americans and the new Iraqi regime in the interests of foreign powers and not for the liberation of the country.
Despite that stability in Iraq is still young and cannot be regarded as a permanent feature, a slight taste of it has served as enough to convince the Iraqis that the experience of the past four years was more of a conspiracy against the Iraqi citizen than a war against the existing regime. The Iraqi government is right to launch this ongoing campaign to convince Iraqi citizens that they will be the first to benefit from stability, and that they are primarily responsible for protecting this stability by rejecting acts of terror regardless of their opinions on other matters. The opposition in Iraq enjoy a wider margin of expression than many other Arab countries to bring about change through the media and the elections.
Iraqis, including those who live in relatively safe areas such as the Kurdish north, have learnt that stability is a necessity that must be upheld by everybody regardless of their differences regarding government, resources and territories. Chaos would only lead to prolonging the presence of foreign troops on their land and would offer regional powers the opportunity to contribute to the sabotage and disintegration of the country. The Iraqis have realized that the proposals of division, such as dividing the country based on sectarian differences, fail to unite even the people of the same sect. On the contrary, such proposals sow seeds of conflict amongst people of the same doctrine. Evidence of this is the fighting that has erupted amongst members of the Shia sect and also amongst the Sunnis.
If the years of violence fail to convince Iraqi citizens to denounce bloodshed and terrorism in all its forms then no power, no matter how great it might be, will be able to protect them.