News

    Some Iraqi Officials See Progress Against Insurgents Despite Deadly Car Bomb Attack

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Monday's car bomb attack in Iraq, which killed at least 125 people and left scores of others wounded, was the bloodiest terrorist incident in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Yet, despite the carnage, some see signs of progress in the battle against the insurgency, with the apprehension of the former dictator's half brother and the capture of a lieutenant of terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Iraq's anti-insurgency efforts could also get a boost from local television broadcasts of purported confessions of captured terrorist operatives.

    Amid an almost-daily drumbeat of violence and bloodshed, Iraq's minister of national security, Qassim Dawood, could not help but smile last week when telling reporters about the capture of an al-Zarqawi co-plotter. "We have reached a point very close to al-Zarqawi, and you will hear good news shortly," Mr. Dawood said.

    Even more expressions of satisfaction have been heard since Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan, half-brother and former advisor to Saddam Hussein, was taken into custody, reportedly with Syrian assistance.

    Iraqi officials are eager to demonstrate that they are aggressively pursuing every avenue toward a more secure nation. Yet, horrific attacks, like Monday's car bombing, have always been more visible to the public than subsequent investigations and detentions of suspects, until now, that is.

    Iraqi television has begun broadcasting what it says are the confessions of detained insurgents. The program, called "Terrorists in the Hands of Justice," has featured men claiming to have carried out beheadings and bombings, in some cases with the alleged backing of Syrian operatives.

    Speaking on the U.S. ABC television network, Interior Ministry Spokesman Sabah Kadhim said, in the face of horrific bloodshed, simply announcing the capture of suspected terrorists is not enough.

    "The people say, 'Well, if you have these people [in custody], why do you not show them?'"

    The authenticity of the taped confessions has yet to be verified, and it is unknown to what extent detainees may have been coerced to speak in front of a camera. But the television program already appears to be having an impact on those who have seen it.

    One Baghdad resident condemned the insurgents as Iraq's enemies.

    "In fact such elements have affected the people and country, and they are saboteurs," he said.

    Reports quote Iraqi police officials as saying they have been getting more tips about insurgents since "Terrorists in the Hands of Justice" began airing.

    But what of a longer-term impact? By channeling popular outrage and resentment over terrorist plots, could the program truly weaken the insurgency? Could it lead Iraqis who are embittered over the prolonged U.S. military presence in their country to re-direct their anger?

    Probably not, according to Muqtedar Khan, a scholar of U.S.-Islamic relations at Washington's Brookings Institution. "When Sunnis watch these tapes, they are going to respond by saying that these people [suspected insurgents] are being forced to do it as a product of torture. The Shiites are going to see these tapes as what is already known," he said.

    Mr. Khan says confessions of suspected insurgents will have a greater impact, if and when U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq, at which point the terrorists will no longer be able to say they are fighting a foreign occupation.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora