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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs