Samstag, 4. Dezember 2010

Some News from Iraq

It is a story that did not attract much attention, though it certainly would have deserved it. Iraqi security forces have arrested Hudhayfah al-Batawi. Who exactly is that, you might ask and to that crucial question the well-informed response is that he has been the leader of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq. One wonders why the story has not gained much traction with the media. But truth is that Iraq has not been anyone's foreign policy priority and not in Europe in particular. The opposition to the 2003 campaign against Saddam has largely translated itself in a reluctance to get involved with Iraq now, even though its government enjoys democratic legitimacy and the security situation has improved considerably. But maybe its also due to the fact that Iraqi security forces arrested the previous leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq as well (Munaf Abdul Rahim al-Rawi as recently as March 2010) and killed his successor in April (Abu-Ayyub al-Masri), decapitating – to employ a term that has been the purview of the terrorists – the once so powerful insurgent group. It is also good news for two other reasons: First this group was responsible for the killing of Christians earlier this year. The government and its security forces seem intent to protect religious minorities and they follow through on it. Against all rumours and bets on its demise, Iraq’s democracy might still be fragile but the trend toward consolidation seems to hold.

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