As one would have suspected, Iraqi military forces are struggling with keeping al-Qaida to the periphery. The exit of the American troops created a new situation, one which I still prefer. The Iraqi forces struggle with a new al-Qaida tactics, described further on yourmiddleeast.com They no longer commit suicidebombings to the same extent, no they focus on weakening their opponents, the Iraqi military forces. By killing military personnel they lower the morale, create fear among the soldiers and make way for their own capacity building.
So how to tackle the problem? Well the main problem is not tackling it, the main issue according to me is not to create new ones. The first American invasion of Iraq left Saddam Hussein in power and thus created the "need" for the second invasion. The second invasion led to the establishment of al-Qaida in Iraq and inplacement of weak leadership. Quite clearly the record for invasions in Iraq is rather poor. I hence do not call for a new troops increase.
Others argue that democracy and poverty reduction (in its braod possibility-to-decide perspective) is the way that the surrounding world can help Iraq. It is true that a continuation of trying to keep the Middle East under the threat of violence is not the way to solve these problems. Increased possibilities for people in Iraq to earn their income through peaceful and productive means is essentially a part of the solution. However I think it is naïve to think that flowers and hugs will make this world more peaceful. My long lasted will to think so has empirically been proven wrong. There must also be military components to fight al-Qaida and other extremists.
One common tool often equipped by USA throughout the history has been increased aid flows. Particulary during the Cold War this was the most common way of making sure that one's ideas would be the ones abidden to by the world's leaders. The result was more often than not a complete separation between leaders and their people. This has led to major problems all around the world, both militarily and in the poverty reduction front put forward above. Rather it increased the rationale for extremist groups to emerge and also prevail. The unquestioned aid that many leaders got has definately been a reason for the insecurity we experience today. So I quickly dismiss this option. However, genuine aid that breaks up with the agenda of "making sure those god damn muslim terrorists disappear" will most certainly in the longer run prove to be helpful.
So what do I believe then? I believe in the simplicity of the issue. Many think this has to do with some very complex, absract and mathematical idea that very few professors or military generals can understand. But no, it is much more simple than that. It is not perfect, I know, but it is the only possible thing. My suggestion is to work the way that it is worked on in other places, that is the Western world. Why does the West tackle the problem of terrorism through preemptive attacks, through hours of spying and by good cooperation between different defence bodies? Beacuse it is the only way for a state to work against terrorism without creating new waves of resistance. It is not possible for the Iraqi state as little as it is possible for the American or German one to stop everybody on their way to work, just to randomly check for weapons. We must understand that too though military presence is also too though military presence in Iraq.
So my way forward would mean that the UN would provide the Iraqi state the needed intelligence tools, increased education for how to handle these issues in terms of government/state apparatus and naturally to work on effective aid, in cooperation with the Iraqi government. Depsite this last point, I strongly urge the wolrd not to allow the Iragi government to be able to steer more of the aid money to run the government tasks in order for the leaders to direct the oli money to their own pockets. Hence this is not a complicated thing but it is still very complex to do the right thing without doing the wrong things.