Free Headline Alerts     
Worldwide Web


Wednesday, September 1, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Iraq on high alert for spike in Al Qaida attacks following U.S. exit

BAGHDAD — Iraq is bracing for an escalation in Al Qaida mass-casualty suicide attacks, following the withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops, heralded in a major address by President Barack Obama on Aug. 31 which sought to 'turn the page' on U.S. combat operations.


Officials said the Iraqi intelligence community has assessed that the Al Qaida network was preparing a series of huge bombings mostly in the Baghdad area over the next few weeks. They said the attacks were meant to destroy the credibility of the lame duck government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and escalate sectarian tension, particularly between Shi'ites and Sunnis.

"We are directing the Iraqi forces, police and army and other security forces, to take the highest alert and precautionary measures to foil this criminal planning," Al Maliki said.

Also In This Edition

On Sept. 1, the U.S. military, with fewer than 50,000 troops, ended its combat mission in Iraq. Over the next 16 months, the military will be limited to training and logistics in Iraq.

Officials did not rule out the prospect that Al Maliki would quietly ask the U.S. military to resume combat operations, Middle East Newsline reported. But they acknowledged that any formal request would encounter harsh opposition from parliament.

"We call on the nation to have open eyes to monitor the movements of those terrorists and keep such criminal gangs from halting the progress of our nation," Al Maliki said.

The United States has sought to calm Iraqi fears over the military pullout. Over the last three days, Vice President Joseph Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Iraq for high-level consultations as well as a review of military requirements until the complete withdrawal in late 2011.

Publicly, Iraqi leaders insisted that they would no longer need direct U.S. combat support in the war against Al Qaida. They said both the Iraqi military and security forces, which total around 700,000, could conduct independent operations throughout the country.

"Iraqi troops are going forward and shall not be stopped by terrorist attacks, especially with the growing public cooperation with security forces," President Jalal Talabani said.

About Us     l    Contact Us     l     l
Copyright © 2010    East West Services, Inc.    All rights reserved.