The Islamic state in Iraq!
Al-Qaeda's declaration of an "Islamic State" in Iraq came and went unnoticed by most of Iraqis. One of my friends said when I told him about it "what difference would it make? They've been killing people on daily basis so what makes you think they will stop and start taking care of them and act like a responsible government like they claim to be?"
As an Iraqi I know they can't control this "'State" but they chose an area of influence where they can use their "hit and run" tactics to declare a "State" in, moreover, the declaration sounded more like a challenge to the Iraqi Government and the Coalition forces than a real declaration of a state.
I guess my friend was right, there will be no change in their actions towards people but still I have a few points I would like to mention about this new "State" and its surroundings:
It seems that al Qaeda quitted the idea of "liberating" the entire country. I guess that from now on they will be busy "defending" the newborn "State".
The declaration came when their lighting began to fade so to speak, so they came up with a move to attract some of the lost attention back; they need to once again to be in the spotlight to insure the flow of recruits and funds.
They have chosen four provinces of Sunni majority where they have few supporters adding to them Baghdad and Kirkuk where they have fewer supporters. Baghdad and Kirkuk (which has a sizable presence of Shia militias that rarely gets involved in action) will witness a fierce war between al Qaeda and the Shia militia because the militia will try their best to show that the two cities do not belong to al Qaeda.
The Iraqi Government and the Coalition forces have their own war against al Qaeda and the militia, so what we will have is like a compound war where each one of them will have to fight at two fronts simultaneously.
I think their strategy will retain the same methods of killing more Shia civilians in the hope to provoke an all-out civil war.
Killing Shia civilians will lead to retaliation acts form the militia against Sunni civilians living in Shia neighborhoods, so more forced displacement will take place in the coming few weeks. Neither the Government nor the Coalition forces can do much about the sectarian killings and forced displacement because they usually occur through assassinations and intimidations that are difficult to notice and trace by the security forces.
I don’t think deploying more forces would solve the problem but "smart" forces may have a better chance.
The al-Qaeda should not be given any chance to choose the time and the place of the battle. The moving patrols of the Iraqi and Coalition forces are very simple targets and most of the casualties happen among them. The best way to deal with both al- Qaeda and the militia is to keep "hunting" them in "sudden strikes". They should live in fear all the time not knowing when it will happen.
The Israeli techniques in hunting down their opponents would go perfect for the coming stage. Eliminating their threat is more cost-effective and prevents unnecessary casualties that might result when trying to capture them.