posted on May, 13 2005 @ 04:50 PM
Following the relative success of the January 30, 2005 national elections in Baghdad, many Western observers looked forward optimistically to a future
Iraq marked by democracy and freedom--rather than televised executions and horrific suicide bombings. As Iraqi voters triumphantly waved their ink
stained fingers before media cameras, it seemed for a moment that there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel in America's prolonged and
costly military campaign in Iraq. The failure of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and allied Islamic militants to significantly disrupt national
elections--despite endless threats to do so--was heralded in many circles as the beginning of the end of their troubling dominance over Iraq's
restive Sunni Triangle. Yet, three months later, that optimistic attitude is fading fast in the wake of renewed suicide bombing attacks across the
country, dramatically increased signs of insurgent coordination and strategic planning, and mounting evidence that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi seeks to
attack his American enemies directly in their own homeland.
When the insurgency in the Sunni Triangle first began in 2003, suicide bombings were occasional and carried out by lone attackers. Rarely was such a
daring attack recorded on film. Over the past six months, suicide car bombings have become a disturbingly common event in central Iraq. Nowadays,
Zarqawi's "martyrdom" volunteers aggressively prowl the streets of Iraq in dump trucks, fire engines, and even police cars laden with tons
(literally) of makeshift explosives. Rather than striking at targets of opportunity, the suicide bombers are often used to kickoff coordinated
attacks on major targets, as seen in recent Al-Qaida operations on the Al-Sadeer Hotel in Baghdad, Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, Camp Gannon in
far western Iraq, a U.S. intelligence base in Tikrit, and (most recently) the "Battles of Omar Hadeed and Mohammed Jassem al-Issawi". Many of these
attacks are recorded and subsequently distributed by Zarqawi's Media Wing; some of them are filmed from several different angles and at close enough
range for the cameraman to be knocked down by the resulting blast.
Who are these men and why are they so eager to die?
[edit on 13/5/05 by jayce]