Iraqi security forces have captured a senior member of al-Qaeda in Iraq, a Syrian financier that provided a significant portion of the money for the foreign insurgency:
Iraqi security forces announced on Monday the capture of a senior al-Qaida in Iraq figure, and the U.S. ambassador said the risk of civil war from last week’s sectarian violence was over.
Violence throughout Iraq killed 36 people Monday, as fierce fighting broke out between Iraqi commandos and insurgents southeast of the capital. But sectarian clashes have declined sharply since the bloodletting that followed the destruction of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra, and Baghdad residents returned to their jobs after three days of a government-imposed curfew. …
The captured al-Qaida figure was identified as Abou al-Farouq, a Syrian who financed and coordinated groups working for Iraq’s most wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, according to an Interior Ministry officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the media.
Acting on a tip from residents, members of the Interior Ministry’s Wolf Brigade captured al-Farouq with five other followers of al-Zarqawi near Bakr, about 100 miles west of Baghdad, the ministry officer said.
The Defense Ministry said Iraqi security forces have killed 35 insurgents and arrested 487 in raids across the country since the bombing last Wednesday of the Samarra shrine.
The violence has decreased markedly but an estimated 1300 Iraqis died in the week following the bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra. The attack by AQ forces at first threatened to send the country into a spiral of sectarian violence ultimately culminating in a civil war, but several developments have appeared to make that threat more remote. Sunni political groups have pledged to return to the bargaining table for establishing the first regular constitutional government in Iraq, and the government has pledged to rebuild the Askariya shrine — a pledge that the US has also offered to fund.
Now the security forces have received significant cooperation in the Sunni stronghold of Ramadi. Tipsters informed their national forces to the presence of al-Farouq and his fellow AQ terrorists, preferring democracy to rule by terrorists. This bombing has apparently forced the Iraqis to see the fork in the road quite clearly: either they can pursue old sectarian hatreds and collapse into annihilation, or they can come together to defeat the foreign terrorists who want to exploit those hatreds for their own purposes. It looks like the Iraqis have made their choice.