The city of al-Qaim in the northern Iraq is completely under control of al-Quaida militants
The situation became more acute in Iraq. It was reported on Tuesday that the city of al-Qaim in the northern Iraq was completely under control of al-Quaida militants, who declared the formation of the Islamic Republic of Qaim.
In response the USA and their allies began perhaps the largest military operation since their incursion into Iraq.
First al-Qaim, which is situated in the desert on the border with Syria, was thrilled with the intertribal clashes. This was aggravated by the fact that in this area, which is settled by Sunnites, al-Quaida militants felt right at home. It is in this area that militants have been attacking the Americans. Local citizens, tired of never-ending American bombings, terror acts of Usama Bin Laden's supporters and intertribal struggle, almost abandoned the city, leaving it to the mercy of al-Quaida.
Last weekend terrorists under the leader of Iraqi cell of al-Quaida, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi entered the city. They declared it the Islamic Republic, hoisting the flag of their organization, which is a sun on the black field.
Public executions of policemen, local authorities and everyone who is suspected of collaboration with occupation forces began in the city. Militants replaced the existing court with Shariat's law and declared the formation of the Islamic Republic. “Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Qaim”, the poster at the city entry reads. The majority of the militants are mercenaries from various Moslem countries, although some of them are Iraqis. They have the whole city under their control. They patrol it and build barricades.
It is interesting to note that the information about the city's occupation appeared in media only two days after it had begun. All this time American troops were preparing for the operation. US Air Force planes bombed two bridges at the Euphrates River near the Syrian border. The main goal of the Americans is to prevent al-Quaida militants from occupying other cities. The operation is carried out in Karbilah that is considered the staging point for militants' intrusion into Iraq. All the efforts are hurled into preventing militants from escaping al-Qaima.
The occupation of al-Qaima means that the situation in Iraq is not only far from stabilization, but can become more complicated any time. If al-Quaida manages to stay in the city for a longer period it can win in terms of propaganda and gain over many of the Sunnites, who do not agree with country's occupation by the Americans. This can lead to a real civil war, as not all of the Iraqis are willing to support Usama Bin Laden. Military operations involve other countries as well, with the US and their allies drawn in.