Sunday, February 27, 2005

THE FINAL BLOW: THE END OF THE IRAQI INSURGENCY

It is becoming clear that the end of the Iraqi insurgency is near. Only a few chess pieces remain to be moved and the problem that has been plaguing the U.S. and Iraqis since the invasion in 2003 - the "insurgency" - will be crushed for good. Why am I so optimistic? Two reasons in particular which are playing off one another and I hope will culminate in the next few months.

First, the increased pressure on Syria has paid off in a small way. According to several news accounts, it was Syria who handed over Saddam's half brother to the U.S. coalition this weekend:
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources reveal: Saddam Hussein’s half-brother and adviser Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikrity was handed to Americans in Iraq by Syria. No. 36 on US list of 55 most wanted Iraqis, he was one of Syrian-based Baathists who run Iraq insurgency against US forces and Iraqi government.

Damascus turned him in to ease US pressure on Assad regime regarding Lebanon, Hariri assassination and support of terror.

This could be the beginning of the end of Assad's support for the former Baathist regime of Bagdad. Although a small step, this will be the initial hand-over the numerous former regime officials who still infest Syria to this day.

Remember, back in early January, now-former U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, traveled to Damascus to deliver nine American demands. According to Debka, they were:
1. Start repealing Syria’s 40-years old emergency laws.

2. Free all political prisoners from jail.

3. Abolish media censorship.

4. Initiate democratic reform.

5. Speed up economic development

6. Cut down relations with Iran.

7. Announce publicly that the disputed Shebaa Farms at the base of Mt. Hermon are former Syrian territory.

8. Hand over to US or Iraqi authorities 55 top officials and military officers of the former Saddam regime, who are confirmed by intelligence to be established in Syria and running the guerrilla war in Iraq out of their homes and offices.

(An address, telephone number and cell phone number were listed beside each name).

9. Syria had better make sure that none of the Kornet AT-14 anti-tank missiles which it recently purchased in large quantities from East Europe turn up in Iraq.

This means that at least demand #8 has been acted upon. If this is the beginning of a larger scale handover, it could spell the end of the Baathist gorilla war still ongoing in Iraq. If this could be accomplished, it would make it harder for the Jordanian "Throat-Cutter", Zarqawi, to blend in to the "insurgency". It would expose him as the cheap terrorist thug he is to the rest of Iraq and world in general. This brings us to the second reason I believe the insurgency is about crumble...

Zarqawi will be caught. He has had numerous "top aides" caught over the past few months and I doubt that we are very far behind him at this point. In fact, Allawi is banking on Zarqawi's capture as being the catalyst to his re-appointment as Prime Minister. According to this article:
The Baghdad government’s burgeoning optimism over the prospects of very soon collaring Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s man in Iraq, is fed from interim prime minister Iyad Allawi office.
Debkafile's counter-terror sources reveal he is telling his inner circle that the special anti-terror units under his direct command are closing in on their quarry. This drive is not divorced from his campaign to keep the job and it has produced a string of successes in the last ten days.

Allawi's had quite a few notches in his belt lately:
First, in the last two weeks, Iraqi security forces have quietly unearthed Zarqawi’s principal ammunition and explosive caches, partly helped by information obtained in the interrogations of the captured terrorists.
Second, Zarqawi has been sighted several times making his way through the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad in the direction of the Iranian frontier, indicating he is on the run.
Third, Allawi recently closed a three-way deal with the most influential Iraqi Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and the Tehran leadership for Iran to arrest him if he tries to cross the border and surrender him to Sistani in Najef.

If Allawi can put his hands on Zarqawi, and Syria continues the pattern it has started by handing over Saddam's half brother, the twin heads of Iraqi insurgency will have been cut off. This will deal a significant blow the remaining resisters in Iraq and, in my opinion, will signal the end of the major uprising in that country.


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