Iraq’s renewed restlessness

Fear of the unknown once again grips Iraq. With hardly 48-hours to go before US forces relinquish their mandate in the war-weary country, Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki feels jittery. In an unprecedented warning, Maliki has put the nation on top alert for terror attacks.

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Published: Sun 29 Aug 2010, 8:55 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:35 PM

This is a challenging moment for Iraq’s security forces and its intelligence sleuths to ensure that the country do not fall back into the grip of lawlessness and chaos. Though Al Qaeda and the like, which ironically also encompass elements of the ousted Baath party, have time and again proven their capability to hit below the belt, the government cannot afford to merely sit idle and watch. Apart from beefing up security measures on self-help basis, the need of the hour is to ruthlessly crackdown on unscrupulous elements that do want the liberated political polity to succeed.

A series of deadly blasts last week, and that too within a span of hours, across the length and breath of Iraq can be a forecast of eventualities to come. At least 60 people were killed last Wednesday and scores injured in what seemed to be a backlash from insurgent groups at a time when American military presence is rapidly shrinking. Though the war-weary country had experienced many such bloody episodes, the latest one was with a definite message backed with serious political and strategic ramifications. The crux is that Al Qaeda and the like are neither down nor out. Rather, through such acts they want to convey the impression that invasion, occupation and now withdrawal of foreign forces has hardly impacted their ability to strike at their time of choice. This is not only quite disturbing but also fatal for a dispensation, which is still in its infancy and mired in chaos and uncertainty.

One of the pressing weaknesses these days is the inability of elected representatives to form a new government. Despite the passage of five months, politicians are in a quandary. This has, indeed, buoyed the unscrupulous elements to move in to benefit from the void, and disturb the social polity as much as they can. This governance vacuum along with the withdrawal of US troops is bound to impact adversely. It is incumbent upon Iraqi politicians to work hard for its long-term security and developmental needs. The policy of chasing the shadows hasn’t helped; it’s time to take it upfront.

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