by Patrick Lang (bio below)

KARBALA, Iraq – Suicide bombers targeted Shiite pilgrims in the south and police recruits in central Iraq Thursday, killing almost 100 people in a stepped-up line of attacks. Thursday’s bombings came a day after insurgents killed 53 people, including 32 killed by a suicide attacker at a Shiite funeral east of Baqouba. The blast near the Imam Hussein shrine in central Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, killed at least 49 people and injured 52, said Karbala police Col. Razaq al-Taie. The site was a scene of chaos with men ferrying the wounded in push carts and pools of blood on the ground. The bomber appeared to have set off the explosion only about 30 yards from the shrine in a busy shopping area. In Ramadi, police and hospital officials said at least 50 people were killed and 40 injured in a suicide attack on a line of police recruits.” Samir N. Yacoub

100 today so far. This begins to sound like an answer to the question I posed yesterday as to whether or not the insurgents and their supporters were going to accept a negotiated but subordinate role in the government being created by the Shia and Kurd winners of last month’s election.

I hear people saying things like, “Well, they will just have to GET OVER IT and learn to live with minority status.” Sorry, but they have another option and that is to continue to wage a terrorist war against us and the Iraqi government in the belief/hope that eventually something will change in the situation and (a) the country will break up and they achieve independence in the Sunni Arab heartland north and west of Baghdad or (b) they can dominate the same area with lines of communication running out of the region into Sunni run countries. In either case they will, by now, believe that eventually we will leave and that our departure will “level the playing field.”

If the United States leaves a smallish (less than 100K) force in garrisons in country and increases the number and intensity of TACAIR strikes in support of government forces, this will have only a moderate effect on the scenario described above because (1) Our garrisons will become more and more occupied with securing themselves and the embassy and (2) TACAIR in the hands of the Iraqi forces will be a double edged sword, protecting those forces and at the same time adding to the recruiting efforts of the insurgents.

Karbala’s governor, Aqeel al-Khazraji, blamed “takfiris and Saddamists” for the Karbala attack. The takfiri ideology is followed by extremist Sunni Muslims bent on killing anyone considered to be an infidel, even fellow Muslims who disagree with their doctrine. Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a takfiri. His group has often targeted Shiites. Samir N. Yacoub

I do not know Samir N. Yacoub, but from his name he might be a Christian Arab. If he is a South Asian then he is probably Muslim. I mention that because it is interesting the way he throws the word “takfir” around. This word means something like “heathenizer” or “calling others heathen.” The governor of Karbala is undoubtedly a Shia. I have a question for my learned friends – Do the “takfiris” call themselves that or is this term applied to them by their enemies? I would have thought that they would call themselves something like “Muwahidun” (monotheists).

Col. Patrick W. Lang (Ret.), a highly decorated retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, served as “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism” for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and was later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. Col. Lang was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point. For his service in the DIA, he was awarded the “Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.” He is a frequent commentator on television and radio, including MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann (interview), CNN and Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room (interview), PBS’s Newshour, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” (interview), and more .

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Drinking the Kool-Aid,” Middle East Policy Council Journal, Vol. XI, Summer 2004, No. 2

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