Friday, February 18, 2005

The terrorist attacks have increased once again in cities like Baghdad and Mosul after the period of relative peace that followed the elections.
The terrorists were obviously stunned the for a while and we expected that the terror groups would change their strategy of obstructing the elections and now they adopted a new-old plan as a reaction to the big achievement of the She'at in the elections which made the terror groups consider going back to the old idea of provoking a civil war.

Now they're targeting the She'at citizens and their religious symbols and mosques and I think this is a proof that they're losing and that their pre-election strategy was wrong and going back to the civil war plan that was previously applied (and proved to be ineffective) after the liberation indicates their bankruptcy and their inability to find a new effective strategy to face the huge success great determination of the people. Now it seems that the terrorists are recycling their stupid.

Terror has received so many severe blows in the last few weeks and I still believe that we should make use of the high morale of the people after the success in the elections and build more bridges between the security forces and the coalition on one side and the people on the other side.

And I think that the coalition and the Iraqi forces are making efforts to make this happen; on my way back to Baghdad from Samawa last week, some Iraqi soldiers and IP men stopped us an handed the passengers-with a nice language-a number of leaflets that urge the people to report any suspicious activities and/or elements and encourage people to report and assuring them that they don't have to fear from being tracked by the thugs.

Few miles later we were stopped by an American checkpoint and they didn't stop us for an inspection procedure, after greeting us they were glad to see that some of us speak English well, one of them said that a coalition point was attacked with mortars and so he was asking us for any information or observations about this attack.
I told them that we're only passers by and we don't know the area very well and I asked if there were any casualties but gladly the answer was "no but we want to gather information about the attackers".

And I also noticed that Iraqi soldiers on other checkpoints started friendly conversations with the people and this is a good indication; searching isn't enough alone, bridging the gaps is what really matters.
Security will not be achieved if the people do not cooperate with the authorities and I think now it's due the time for the people to take bigger role in a nation-wide action against terror.

A few days ago a coalition convoy was patrolling our district and they were stopping every other hundred meters talking to the people and distributing key chains and leaflets that carry secure phone numbers for the people to use in reporting criminal activities and this is a smart idea as key chains are always in one's hands or pocket and phones are a reliable contact route and I think using the internet and e mails for the same task is another option that can be helpful as it's untraceable and people, especially the educated segment use the internet very often and they would feel more secure comfortable that way than with the phones.

I have no estimations about how many people will provide information that way but I feel that the rate has increased after the elections. Moreover, the Iraqi media is also playing a good role in exposing criminals and there are some local channels that broadcast the confessions of arrested terrorists.
I think that the local TV station in Mosul has done a good job recently and the people are now even more disgusted from the doings of the terrorists and the terrorists reaction by attacking the station's HQ more than once in the past days indicates that they're really pissed off from this station's shows.

The confessions have shown that some criminals have strong connections with the Syrian authorities from where they get instructions and support.
The interesting part of the show was the interrogation with Khalidah Jasim the sister of Khalid Zakiyah who's one of the most wanted criminals in Mosul who got arrested a while ago in Tikrit.
She stated that she was in her 2nd year in college studying psychiatry and that she was a member of a Palestinian military organization that was lead by George Habash.

She confessed that she has taken her brother's place in leading the terror group and she's specialized in preparing TNT used in roadside bombs.
She also didn't deny one of the group members statements that she offered to sleep with him twice in order to persuade him to plant landmines and perform attacks against Iraqi and American troops.
More details about this in the Friends of Democracy Arabic website.

The Iraqi security forces are now deployed everywhere in Baghdad and there are checkpoints at every corner.
The ceremonies of Ashoura have begun and people are practicing the cooking tradition in the streets and distributing food through to their neighbors and inviting anyone passing by. And people come walking on foot to visit the shrines of Imam Kadhum in Baghdad as well as other shrines in Najaf and kerbala to hold their ceremonies.
We still remember the bloody attacks of last year and we hope that this year's ceremonies pass peacefully.
Terrorism knows no religion and attacking people while doing their prayers or holding their ceremonies in their mosques is enough to tell the people inside and outside the country that those criminals do not represent any legitimate resistance or a rebellion; they're simply criminals.

Here are pictures for the leaflets and key chain (the upper one was distributed by the MNF while the one below was distributed by the ISF) Face...Back.


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