Friday, May 27, 2005

Terror tactics backfiring in Iraq?

Former U.S. Army Colonel and Iraq war veteran Austin Bay says Zarquawi's movement might be as badly wounded as he is.

Zarqawi is a master-terrorist, at the tactical level. He’s cunning. He can attract fanatics and turn fanatic desire into front-page mass murder. Strategically, however, he’s in the process of engineering his own movement’s defeat. His “bloodbath tactics” have backfired in Iraq and –according to several analysts– are in the process of turning Arab public opinion against Al Qaeda. He’s brought Islamist terror to the center of the Arab world, and Islamist terror kills Arabs and Muslims without mercy. As for operational success? That’s a tougher call. He’s failed to ignite any kind of mass uprising against the Iraqi government. Instead of baiting Shias and Kurds into a civil war he’s hardened their political resolve– a Kurd is now Iraq’s president. He has played a key role in sustaining Iraq’s Sunni holdouts– in part terrorizing Sunnis who might consider a deal with the Iraqi government. That’s a “negative” kind of success (ie, he’s not inspiring, he’s enforcing).