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June 24, 2004
Iraqi Terrorists Stage Desparate Attacks

Iraqi terrorists staged a wave of coordinated attacks across Iraq today, six days before the CPA transfers sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government that intends on establishing a representative democracy in the heart of the Middle East:

Rebels bent on disrupting a handover to Iraqi rule bloodied five cities Thursday with coordinated assaults on local security forces in which about 75 people, including three U.S. soldiers, were killed. The violence in Baquba, Falluja, Ramadi, Mosul and Baghdad intensified a sustained campaign by Iraqi insurgents and foreign militants to sabotage Iraq's formal transition from U.S.-led occupation to an interim government in six days' time.

Scores of black-clad gunmen, some claiming loyalty to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, attacked a police station and other government buildings in Baquba, 60 km (40 miles) northwest of Baghdad, in a dawn assault. A U.S. military spokesman said two American soldiers had been killed in an ambush. U.S. forces had responded with air strikes after gunmen captured the civic center and attacked another government building. Two insurgents were killed.

Many of the fighters wore yellow headbands bearing the name of a Muslim militant group "Saraya al-Tawhid and Jihad" (Battalions of Unification and Holy War). They handed out leaflets warning Iraqis not to "collaborate" with Americans.

"The flesh of collaborators is tastier than that of Americans," the leaflets said.

None of this surprises observers. In fact, George Bush has warned Americans and Iraqis that the violence was likely to crescendo as the transfer date drew near, as groups such as Zarqawi's attempt to do all they can to derail the nascent Iraqi state. Nor is this tactic anything new to Islamofascists. Israel was rewarded for its Oslo and Wye River land-for-peace concessions by the intifada, launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Any time, any place where peace threatens to break out, Islamofascists intend on ensuring the continuation of war through the terrorization of civilian populations.

This single-minded pursuit of murder and death is one of the main reasons that Bush has stuck to the June 30 transfer date. While some people consider that too soon, and some have thought so all along, once the date was set, it became critical for us to meet it. Not only would a pushback damage our credibility in the region, it would reward the terrorists by responding to their provocations. It would, in effect, put them in charge of Iraqi sovereignty, just as the PA has allowed Hamas and Islamic Jihad control over Palestinian autonomy by refusing to deal with them (and likely collaborating with them) and advance the peace process.

We will still be on the ground in Iraq after June 30, providing security while the new government builds its own police and army to handle it. But the Iraqis will be in charge of Iraq, not the CPA, and the terrorists will not be able to stop that.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 24, 2004 6:25 AM

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