BAGHDAD, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Iraq is witnessing a resurgence of violence as the U.S. troops stick to their withdrawal plan and departs, and the death toll in July has claimed an alarming two- year high, costing doubt on the government's ability of protecting people from attacks.
In defiance of ongoing attacks across the country, the U.S. officials iterated that Iraqi army is able to deal with security issues on their own. But local analysts worried that insurgents will further exploit the dragged-on political vacuum and stage more devastating attacks.
QAIDA GOES MORE RAMPANT
The insurgents, who have been lying low months ago, are changing into a rampant and high profile style in recent crimes.
The so-called Islamic State of Iraq, a al-Qaida local branch, has claimed more than five major attacks launched on banks and security forces, while more provocatively, criminals took credit by rising their black flag in central Baghdad before fleeing the scene, in day time.
The new spate of bombings and attacks by al-Qaida groups coincided with the drawdown of U.S. troops, as the same goal remains: to undermine people's confidence in the serving government led by Nuri al-Maliki.
"The recent increase of violence showed that Maliki has failed to decrease the violence, which entails him to let others to form the new government to take the responsibility providing security and stability for Iraqis," Dr. Hani Ashur, a political advisor of the Iraqia List bloc headed by Ayad Allawi, told Xinhua in an interview.
But different from the past few months, insurgents have showed some new characters in their act of crimes.
The recent attacks are more organized and coordinated. Besides, a series of robbery of bank, gold stores and blood station, indicating that al-Qaida is launching crimes with more practical goals, not just to reignite sectarian violence, but also to reorganize and reoccupy their territory in Iraq after Americans left. They are using money, fear, instability and everything they can get to lure and force people back.
POLITICS IS BEHIND THE ATTACKS
Many local analysts believe that despite the terrorism and insurgents who are exploiting the sectarian-charged postwar atmosphere, the ongoing political infighting is also behind the upgrade of the violence.
"I believe that the increase of violence is not only targeting the U.S. military plans to pull out from Iraq, sometimes major attacks are part of the bitter political struggle between the Iraqi factions over power," Ibrahim al-Ameri, a political professor in Baghdad University, told Xinhua in an interview.
"In my opinion, the security is deteriorating day after day as we are coming closer to the August 31 deadline of the U.S. combat troops' withdrawal," Ameri said.
"The most important factor that would affect the security situation in Iraq after the U.S. combat troops departure is the political progress when the politicians can reach an agreement about a new government," he said.
"The security deterioration will increase as we are coming closer to the August 31 deadline and after it, because both Shiite and Sunni militias will be encouraged to hit the fragile Iraqi security forces, though not to the levels of 2006-2007 chaos. But let us hope that things will be better after the formation of the next government," he said.
"When you don't have tangible political stability, you can't get tangible security improvement," Ameri added.
Dr. Hani, for his part, is of the same opinion on the political factor behind the attacks. "The recent increase of violence is attributed to political vacuum which delays forming a new government. The militant groups are using the current circumstance to move their sleeping cells, especially after the departure of the U.S. troops."
IRAQIS ARE NOT READY
Although the top U.S. commander and high-ranking officials reiterated their confidence in Iraqi security force, saying that Iraqis are ready and able to take over security operations on their own, the latest wave of attacks and the mounting casualties indicated an obvious opposite trend.
"The United States will keep 50,000 soldiers in Iraq until the end of 2011 for training Iraqis, this is a confession from the Americans that the Iraqi security forces are not totally ready to take over the security responsibility," said Dr. Hani, adding that "it means violence in Iraq will not end soon."
"However, that doesn't mean that the presence of U.S. troops is the main guarantee for security in Iraq, no, we believe that strong security forces, national reconciliation and less division over the power in the country is the right way for security improvement and stability," he said.
Ameri, however, expressed a limited optimism upon the security situation after the pullout of U.S. combat troops.
"Despite recent bloody attacks, the violence in Iraq are far less than the period when sectarian killings culminated in 2006- 2007, therefore, I can perceive that till now the Americans showed no evident sign that they are going to change their withdrawal plans," Ameri said.
"I think there would be no significant change in the Iraqi security situations after the August 31 combat troops' pullout, because the remaining 50,000 U.S. soldiers are still capable to do various missions, not only training Iraqi forces, they also carry out counterterrorism missions," he said, adding that the Iraqi security forces are still not capable of dealing with such levels of violence.
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