News / Middle East

Violence and Reports of Fighters Joining al-Qaeda Makes Stability of Iraq Uncertain

Multimedia

Elizabeth Lee

Experts on Iraq say citizens there are frustrated, as Iraqi leaders continue to struggle with forming a government.  U.S media reports say some of that frustration is causing hundreds of well-armed Iraqi fighters, allied with US troops, to quit or even join the insurgency.

The violence in Iraq continues, almost two months after more U.S. troops leave the country.

Sean Kane of the United States Institute of Peace says the level of violence has gone down since 2006, but he adds continued terrorist attacks still make Iraqi citizens very nervous.

"They do very much want to see the U.S. troops leave but they are concerned about what will happen after the US leaves and don't have full trust of confidence in their security forces yet or in their political leaders."

As Kane points out, one problem is that Iraq's political leaders have yet to form a government - more than seven months after the March elections.

"The stakes are higher than the previous election in 2006 because some Iraqis have a fear or perception that this could be the last set of democratic elections and if you even think that's a possibility you don't want to be out of power as the U.S. is withdrawing from the country," says Kane.

In addition to a lack of confidence in the political system, there are news reports of another threat.  American media report an intensive recruiting campaign by the Sunni insurgency and say some fighters allied with the U.S. - the so-called "Awakening Councils" - are now rejoining Al Qaeda.  The members of the Awakening are former insurgents who turned against Al Qaeda, in return for pay by the American military and promises of Iraqi government jobs. But Sean Kane says about half of the former Sunni fighters still do not have jobs with the government.

"When you combine the slow rate, the bureaucratic issues there with the uncertainty of government formation with the possibility that the government that is formed will look at lot like the government of 2006 with limited Sunni participation, it's not surprising that some of them are now starting to hedge their bets."

Michael Corbin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, dismisses reports that some Sunnis are re-joining the insurgency.

"There is not support for the insurgency despite some articles talking about Sunnis turning to the insurgency   A - there isn't an insurgency; there's a lot of frustration there are terrorist groups, but B - we don't have evidence of Sunnis returning to take up arms against the government or against the political process."

Nevertheless, Corbin says, the possibility of some Iraqis re-joining the insurgency is a real threat.

"We've got to provide employment. People are not turning to the insurgency but they will if they don't have jobs."

And in addition to jobs, Sean Kane says stability in Iraq also depends on when a new government is formed, and how the power is shared.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid