0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
WASHINGTON – As violence and political turmoil tear through a war-wrecked Iraq, military experts are warning Congress that Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist cells are regrouping and working together not only in Iraq but in the entire region to undo a decade of U.S.-led progress.“We left (Iraq) on the edge of being stable,” Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a former military intelligence officer, told Fox News. While saying it's clear the job was "not done," he warned: “Al Qaeda as an entity is coming back strong within the region and is doing things to destabilize governments, which, at this point in time, are still friendly to us." On Thursday, Iraq’s parliament speaker painted a grim picture of a crumbling country that is taking another beating by terrorists."The situation is grave," Osama al-Nujaifi said during a press conference.Al-Nujaifi believes recent spikes in sectarian violence coupled with political instability are fueling concerns that the country could be pushed into another civil war.The latest series of orchestrated attacks in Iraq took place Thursday after militants set up their own checkpoints across the country and executed drivers at will. While the killings occurred, a bomb went off inside a crowded café north of Baghdad near the town of Muqdadiyah, killing 16 and injuring 20 others.Thursday's attacks follow a big prison break Sunday at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison – now under Iraqi government control. At least 250 prisoners who have been linked to terror groups were released and are now back on the streets. Though the country's economy has actually been gradually improving over the last few years, the attacks in recent months have been frequent and severe, threatening stability. Nearly 2,000 people died in April and May alone. The latest strikes underscored the tenuous security picture in the country 10 years after thousands of American troops were dispatched to Iraq in 2003. Within five years of the start of the war, concerns that the U.S. was losing control prompted the George W. Bush administration to send 20,000 Marine and Army soldiers into Baghdad as part of a troop surge. Supporters like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., continue to cite the surge as the turning point in the war, when the U.S. regained ground and the trust of the Iraqi people. But in recent months, there are signs the country has returned to a state of confusion, distrust and despair. Presently, there are about 100 U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq. In Washington, lawmakers have started to question whether the hard-fought gains are being eroded by Al Qaeda’s army of terrorists or if there are ways to turn the situation around.