Sunday, June 19, 2005

Abu Talha: A Followup

Mohammed at Iraq the Model has some information that adds credence to my previous speculation that Abu Talha, "Emir" of al Qaeda in Mosul, was turned over to coalition forces as part of a broader deal between local Sunni leaders and the Iraqi government. In his post, Mohammed provides the following quote from the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada:

It is believed that that a meeting for the leaders of armed groups in Mosul was planned to be held in the house where Abu Talha was staying and that representatives of the groups that established contacts with the government didn't attend the meeting.

American troops raided the house at the exact time of the meeting and captured Abu Talha. Sources from Mosul told Al-Mada that on June 9, some person bought a house for 120 million Dinars and then immediately rented the house to a man who works for the education ministry and on Tuesday June 13, a task force from the American army (12 armored vehicles backed by 4 helicopters) raided the same house and arrested Abu Talha and his wife. Not one bullet was fired in the operation.

As progress towards creating a permanent democratic Iraqi government continues, Iraq's Sunni Arabs are increasingly seeking a political solution that will allow them to be a part of this process. While the less radical Sunni insurgents are gradually persuaded to lay down their arms, al Qaeda and the jihadists will be left holding the bag. Hysterical Congressmen and negative media coverage aside, almost all the long-term trends point towards a successful outcome in Iraq. It won't be easy, and the end product will be far from perfect, but America and the world will be better off for our willingness to see things through. If we don't have the will to defeat al Qaeda in Iraq, we will have to pay a far higher price to do it somewhere else.


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