Oct 24 2013
By Kareem Zair
Azzaman, Octrober 24, 2013
Armed groups among them affiliates of al-Qaeda have escalated their attacks on government troops, particularly in the Muslim Sunni-dominated areas of central Iraq.
There has been an upsurge in attacks, suicide and car bombings in the country since last April with thousands of people killed and injured.
But the violence took a new turn recently with daring attacks on bridges and police and army positions inside major cities.
Yesterday, suicide bombers mounted deadly attacks on government targets in the restive Province of Anbar of which the city of Ramadi is the capital.
Armed groups blew up a bridge on the vital highway with Jordan, bringing traffic to a standstill.
At least 48 people were reported to have been killed in the attacks, which mainly targeted police and military headquarters in Anbar and other provincial towns.
Security conditions in the Province of Nineveh, another Muslim Sunni-dominated region, have aggravated dramatically in the past few months with insurgents in control of large swathes of provincial territory, including parts of the northern city of Mosul, the provincial capital.
The government is losing territory to the insurgents in Nineveh. The insurgents are reported to be imposing their own taxes and levies on towns and villages under their control and also charging transit fees from cars using highways in their areas.
With the government losing control in central Iraq, Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki and his military commanders are turning to tribal leaders to check the latest advances made by al-Qaeda and other armed groups.
A similar tactic was employed by U.S. occupation troops to bring the Province of Anbar and other Sunni areas under control.
It initially paid off with armed tribesmen flushing al-Qaeda terrorists from their areas.
But the terror group has made a strong comeback in the past few months, assisted by affiliates in Syria, where al-Qaeda has emerged as the major resistance faction to the government in Damascus.
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