Angry Iraqis Denounce Insurgent Attacks

Angry Iraqis denounce insurgent attacks (The Daily Star – Lebanon)

As more people lose loved ones to relentless violence, Iraqis have become increasingly vocal in their criticism of the insurgency, even staging a rare public demonstration condemning militants as terrorists after a deadly car bombing. While it may be too early to say public opinion has shifted, one thing is clear: Many Iraqis have grown tired of two years of constant insecurity, and some are directing their anger at insurgents for the first time. “I demand that they be put in the zoo along with the other scavengers, because that is where they belong,” says one Mosul resident whose brother was killed in a recent attack.

One turning point came in Hilla, a predominantly Shiite city south of Baghdad where a suicide car bombing killed 125 people on Monday – the deadliest single attack since the fall of Saddam Hussein. For many in Hilla, it was the final straw. On Tuesday, more than 2,000 people chanting “no to terrorism!” staged a mass demonstration outside the small medical clinic where the suicide bomber rammed into a crowd of Iraqi police and army recruits, also killing civilians from a nearby market. Outraged, they waved fists in the air and carried banners denouncing the insurgents.

Popular anger against insurgents has been driven, in part, by government propaganda. Last week, U.S.-funded Al-Iraqiyya television aired a series of confessions showing alleged insurgents calmly talking about how they had beheaded dozens of people, kidnapped others for ransom, and raped women and girls before killing them. “People are realizing that the captured insurgents are not super heroes. They are timid people who kill for money and they have nothing to do with Jihad,” said Karim Humadi, head of programming for Al-Iraqiyya.


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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.