BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK
Can Iraq's leaders stop attacks?
Scene from 11 May carbombing in Iraq
A car bomb explosion near a market in eastern Baghdad has left several people dead in the latest violence in Iraq.

An army general and police colonel were also shot dead in the city. The attacks come only a day after a series of bombings across Iraq left at least 70 people dead and scores injured.

More than 300 people have now died in violence across the country this month alone, following the formation of the country's new government.

Can the Iraqi government stem the violence? Do the attacks increase pressure on the country's politicians? Can the insurgents be defeated?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

What are the insurgents fighting for? Are they fighting to stir a civil war, or are they fighting against American occupation? Identifying this can be a good start by the new Iraqi government to resolve this crisis. I am hopeful this violence can be stopped.
Pavan, USA

The attacks will stop when the Iraqi people summon the will to destroy the insurgents themselves and purge their supporters. If this requires a civil war, then that is part of Iraqi growing pains.
Sobac Retok, Manning, SC, USA

The Iraqi government must not act in haste and return violence with violence
Amlan Ghosh, London, UK
The methods employed by terrorists everywhere are the same, instil fear and hatred among people and create a sense of helplessness so that people succumb to their will in despair. That a democratically elected government has been formed is a source of great hope. The Iraqi government must not act in haste and return violence with violence but patiently reason out and prove that the path of peace is the right path, that Sunnis need not feel isolated and kept out of power.
Amlan Ghosh, London, UK

In a word, no. The violence won't end if the US leaves either. It will go on until every terrorist is captured or killed, or until Iraq is a Sharia dictatorship under the heel of the Sunni minority. The presence of a huge occupation force with itchy trigger fingers is the only thing that has stopped it from becoming an all out civil war. Recent events suggest even the American army may not be able to hold it back much longer.
Adam, WV, USA

I believe the sooner USA pulls out of Iraq, the sooner the country can mend itself and become a safe place once again.
tk, turkey

The possibility of Iraq's leaders putting a stop to the attacks is very slim but they can go a long way in halting it if the leaders themselves are committed to stopping it.
Jonah Thomas, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Those who initiated this violence should put an end to it
Clive, USA
The violence was not started by the Iraqi 'government.' Those who initiated this violence should put an end to it. Everyone knows how it can be stopped but no one wants to say so. The US must leave and, believe me, the violence will certainly subside.
Clive, USA

As long as the present government is considered a puppet regime for the US, it is highly unlikely these attacks will stop. The US presence in Iraq is only adding fuel to the fire of hatred in the region. The US needs to pull out. The dictatorship is gone, there are no weapons of mass destruction, a new government is in place and the Iraqi people are free. Continued US presence only points to interest in controlling oil supplies in the region.

Stopping the insurgency in Iraq would require a military presence the likes of which have not been seen since Nazi Germany's blitzkrieg of Poland, Russia, etc. The cost of such military force is beyond the US's commitment or budget and the insurgents know it. Thus, time (as Vietnam shows) is on their side, but none count the greatest cost: the loss of innocent Iraqi lives. They are, it seems, expendable. No wonder no official count exists of the Iraqi civilian dead since the American invasion began.
Ralph Vasquez, Fullerton USA

The US, UK and Iraqi forces are now subject to a dirty city warfare. The strength of the insurgents to fight comes from the heart and not the stomach. It is sad that politicians and Iraqis forces are fighting for their stomach. Allow Baathists to share power. Excluding any sect would create problems. The sooner they realise this, the better it is for Iraq.
AG, Indore, India

We cannot stop the insurgent attacks unless there is an increased troop presence
Ben, New York, USA
Even though I did not support the invasion, it seems that many people blame all Americans, instead of Bush. We cannot stop the insurgent attacks unless there is an increased troop presence. Whether the troops are Iraqi or American, there needs to be a show of force in Iraq. It worked for Rome, and it still does.
Ben, New York, USA

A leading American news channel were using the slogan "Iraq in Transition" on their reportage. I see that they have dropped it now - perhaps because transition implies changes from one state to another. Sadly, after all this time and so many lives ruined, we just see more of the same.
Jez, Kumamoto, Japan

These attacks are a part of a changing government. No democracy has been born without it's problems. The United States had it's own civil war. There are problems yet today in this country with regard to citizens agreeing with the government. The answer to the question is no.
ME, Portland USA

I sympathise with the innocent people in Iraq. However difficult it is to understand the political situation in Iraq, that people continue to die every day there is inhuman. It is ironic that the US and British governments succeeded in toppling the old regime to bring peace to Iraq only to find that terror had replaced peace. I wonder how many lives have been lost since the end of the war on Iraq. I think the two governments and the coalition forces should have some thinking to do.
R Chan, Hong Kong

Years from now, future generations will read about the great achievements in Iraq by America. Rightfully so, there will be little mention of today's opposition. Comprehensive studies of other great leaders reveal the adversity with which they had to contend. Abraham Lincoln was the most polarizing president in the history of our United States, yet he is considered to be our best. Today, Iraq's George Washington is still anonymous, but his proxy thus far has been George Bush.
Matt, USA

These attacks will not stop as long as the US-installed government remains
Rich Mitchell, England
These attacks will not stop as long as the US-installed government remains. The attackers have deep-rooted beliefs and, although extremists, they do represent the views of many others. Their acts are often last resorts to try and solve a problem. It is ridiculous to try and remove this problem with force.
Rich Mitchell, Cambridge, England

The Iraqi government was elected by the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people along with their elected representatives will prevail in this fight. The insurgents and the ignorant people of Europe will fail.
Samk, Ferndale, Michigan, USA

No. As long as they are seen as siding with the Americans, they will continue to rule from within their prison compound, the green zone. They are disconnected from the average Iraqis.
Mike, USA

Iraqis are trying hard to create their own representative government and terrorists and agents of evil should know they have no future! Democracy will prevail!
Mehdi, Iran

Is there a difference between deaths caused by "insurgents" and those caused by US troops? Both are fighting for what they felt was right. Who is to decide which party is more right than the other? Framing violence in terms of "insurgents" prevents people from understanding the dynamics of the situation which is more grey then straight forward black and white.
Chan Chow Wah, Singapore

Remove the occupiers, and you'll have no one left to fight
Paul G, Toronto, Canada
The answer is so obvious. The "insurgents" are fighting the "occupiers" of their home land. Remove the occupiers, and you'll have no one left to fight.
Paul G, Toronto, Canada

To Paul G, Toronto: if the coalition forces were removed, as he wants, you would have total disaster as seen with Pol Pot in Cambodia after the Vietnam conflict. Open your eyes and learn from history.
David Mulholland, Jacksonville, FL, USA

The only reason there is no peace and stability in Iraq is because the insurgents want an Islamic dictatorship. They will continue to murder their own people and destroy their own infrastructure until Americans give up. The enemy of the Iraqi people is not the US, but the insurgents. If the world would unite against these thugs, the Iraqi people would be forever grateful. The United States is not the enemy here.
Jim, The Woodlands, Texas, US

I think that realistically the only way of ending the insurgency is to give the Iraqi people what they really do want: Independence from the US and UK, control over their own national assets and in addition to all of this the right for each of the three major groups within Iraq to decide whether they actually want Iraq to exist as it is anymore. As to my third point, we must be clear that Iraq is an artificial group of lines on a map drawn up according to where the British army thought they should be drawn in 1918. The fact of the matter is that if the Sunnis, Shia and Kurds each had their own homelands, there would be much less chance of war between the three groups.
Stephen Marriott, Portsmouth, UK

My fiance is serving in Baghdad for the 2nd time in his short 24 years of life. He has no idea why he himself is there again. I read the news and hope and pray that I shall hear from him again. Will the new government stop the violence? No. They are too busy bickering and arguing and wasting very precious time, giving the enemy more fuel. They are in no hurry for the US to leave. Why? Because they are not interested in trying to take back their country. The hatred in that country is unbelievable. I weep for the innocent people in Iraq trying to go about their day to day lives wondering if it will be their last. Please bring our troops home. We need them here, not in a place riddled with such hatred and evil.
Shannon, GA, USA

The concept of insurgents is a US propaganda spin. Iraq is in a civil war for control of the country, and the Sunnis will be the eventual winner because they have the guns.
Joe Aldridge, Evergreen, USA

Lets get this straight. Iraqi leaders can stop the attacks, not the Americans.
Shaheer Tarin, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Sixty five percent of the Iraqi people voting states that they want democracy. Call the present government 'puppets' but you still can't escape the fact that the majority of the population want democracy, not a 'Saddam Hussain' style fascist state. That is why my son is fighting insurgents in Iraq at the moment. He is fighting for democracy and that is why I am proud of him.
Janice, Crosshills, England

Humanity has proven throughout history it is capable of achieving any aim. We must not place all the responsibility upon the new Iraqi leaders when we ourselves are responsible as well for this unbalanced moment. Too many companies and countries think only of how they can enrich their pockets and power while ignoring, as usual, the real issue. Yes, we can bring peace but this must be a joint effort from all individuals.
Oliver, Spain

Those of you comparing the US troops to these so called "insurgents" need to take a step back. If the insurgents suddenly stopped their attacks and disappeared, the violence in Iraq would end instantly. The American military does not go into the middle of markets and set off explosives. The American military does not needlessly target civilians. So many of you claim you have no problem with the American people, just with our government, so why is it so hard to figure out that these soldiers are the American people and all they want to do is stabilise the country and help set up this democracy so they can go home.
J.P. Skelton, Birchwood, TN, USA

The violence over the last few days have been terrible. George Bush was warned not to open Pandora's box, but he chose to do it anyway. Short of bringing back the US troops home, I cannot see how the Iraqi leaders can even try to stem the violence and try to bring some stability to this misfortunate nation. It is a sad situation indeed.
Shawna, NJ, USA

Iraq's leaders cannot stop the attacks because they do not represent the people of Iraq. They are imposed by the USA on the people of Iraq.
Kan San, Vokohama, Japan

If you think Iraq is chaotic now, just wait until the US leaves. Bush and Blair should have never gone on this misadventure in Iraq. We can't stay and we can't leave. Those who think these attacks will stop once the US gets out are incredibly foolish. They will likely get worse.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

The attacks in Iraq cannot be stopped until all the people support the government, more specifically, until the country is unified - Sunnis, Shias and the Kurdish people. The government will not resign but continue to work away at solving these problems and that can only be done with American help. I do not support the American occupation however Iraq is at a place now where they have no other option and are fully dependant on this occupation.
Ali, Vancouver, Canada

Insurgency requires at least the tacit support of communities willing to shield fighters from capture
Chris, US
The question should be, Can the Iraqi population, by forcefully ejecting the insurgents from their towns and villages, stop the attacks? Insurgency requires at least the tacit support of communities willing to shield fighters from capture. Rebel bases can be found and attacked, but insurgents who blend into the general population cannot be eradicated unless the citizenry says, enough is enough!
Chris, US

When will the Americans realise that invading another country and installing its 'chosen ones' as the government will never solve any problems that the country had in the first place, the people that the Americans put in charge are clearly not the leaders so the question is irrelevant.
Arthur, Derby UK

I strongly believe that Iraq's leaders will stop the attacks because they are armed with the will power which is better and stronger than firepower of the insurgents.
Akinsola Akindele, Idanre, Ondo State, Nigeria

Is it the responsibility of the new Iraqi leaders, or is it the responsibility of the coalition forces to stop the attacks?
Atman, The Caribbean
Is it the responsibility of the new Iraqi leaders, or is it the responsibility of the coalition forces to stop the attacks? My opinion is that the coalition started a job and they should complete it thoroughly. And why is it that the sophisticated coalition with all its weapons and technology is still unable to stamp out these everyday attacks?
Atman, The Caribbean

I think that sooner or later it will end and people will realise that democracy is better for everyone. However, I don't know how much damage these people will do before they realise this. It will all end sooner or later as long as the coalition keeps at it and allows the Iraqi government to form.
William Collard, Plymouth, UK

Publicity fuels these attacks. Perhaps if the press stopped showing the carnage as top stories in their papers, broadcasts and web pages, the so-called insurgents would lose the attention they so much crave.
Ed, New York, USA

Much surprise has been shown that the "efforts" to stop the violence have failed. Sadly, I fear these atrocities are critical to the long term occupation of Iraq. If the violence ended tomorrow there would be no reason, political or otherwise to remain, or more importantly, to remain in a position of military power. This would be the only true failure for the coalition were it to occur.
Hamish, Adelaide Australia

The Iraq war was bound to fail utterly right from the beginning. Destruction, death and other strategies will torment the lives of most Iraqis for life and the unstable situation at this moment could result in chaos and more civil unrest in the near future. Obviously it is extremely difficult to predict the future of Iraq, but the violence and bloodshed look far from over. Hopefully, with time, peace and order will be restored. However, this invasion has had a lot of negative consequences, which will render Iraqi democracy very unlikely any time soon.
Samuel Doveri Vesterbye, Belgium, Brussels

If the US forces have been mounting a major counter-insurgency operation in the western province of Anbar, where they say they have killed about 100 rebels in the past several days, how then it is anyway different from the most heinous acts of killings done by the insurgents? An eye for an eye would make the whole world blind. Both the insurgents and the Americans are doing nothing differently from one another. It is absolute madness. The US should get out of Iraq to stop this bloodletting. That's the only solution for the Iraq problem.
C. Sachidananda Narayanan, Tirunelveli, India.

I can not imagine how difficult the lives of Iraqi people are when they get up every morning, hearing endless suicide attacks? I sincerely praise all innocent Iraqi people for their patience and courage to overcome with this magnitude of daily violence. I am very hopeful for all of them to gain a sense of normalcy, stability and hope which will be restored by the new Iraqi government. May God give them a sense of hope, peace, justice and tranquillity.
Christopher Xaphakdy, Minnesota, USA

If the new government could build confidence among the Sunni Muslims by recruiting them in administrative government and security then these attacks might stop. Recruiting Sunni Muslims in security jobs would not only build confidence among Sunnis but also provide experience to the insurgency. This process would prevent Sunni Muslims from aligning with foreign Islamic terrorists.
Shyam Kumar, Chennai, India

Iraq's leaders are working towards stopping the attacks by including Sunnis in the government and involving them in the writing of the constitution. This is slowly working. People are turning in insurgents, something they never did in the past. The fact that the violence increased after the announcement of the new government proves that the insurgency is slowly losing strength, as they would have sustained this higher level of violence all along if it was within their power.
Steve Mac, Boston MA USA

Yes Iraq's leaders can stop the attacks. With each attack, the insurgents provide more data to Iraq's growing security services. Like the Israelis, the Iraqi government will eventually develop the ability to curtail many of the bombings taking place and eventually the security services will have the ability to attack and destroy the insurgents when and where they choose.
Frederick J. Bainhauer III, Pennsylvania, USA

Even the US & UK military state that they under-estimated the scope of the insurgence now seen in Iraq! Our forces are not on familiar territory, unlike the guerrillas that they face. Basically, the balance is against the US and UK and other UN forces and until a real leader takes office, one who has something to offer the people, then the insurgency will continue, along with the bill spent on keeping our forces in Iraq. The US had to borrow a huge amount of money today from the EU in order to keep their forces on the ground. If this is what democracy brings, then maybe there was a better way to bring about the change needed in Iraq.
Mark Harris, Swansea Wales

The Iraqi government needs leaders who have patriotic credentials as well as training and experience in running ministries
Kwok, Sydney Australia
Listen to what Hashim al-Shible had to say, "appointing ministers based on their sectarian identity would lead to divisions in the society and state." The Iraqi government needs leaders who have patriotic credentials as well as training and experience in running ministries. This is much more complex than a fixed recipe for baking a cake. It is time Rice and Rumsfeld realise that the insurgency and the make up of the Iraqi government (at its present rate ) have nothing in common except both are happening in Iraq.
Kwok, Sydney Australia

Sama' al Damshk claimed that the present chaos was not there while Saddam was in power. It was there but masked. A pseudo-stable regime predicated on mass executions and tyranny cannot be compared to the manifest chaos that happens after its demise. Every new order begins with pseudo-harmony giving way to its latent chaos, which gives way to eventual order. As has been said many times, Germany, Korea and others all took many years to regain normality. Iraq will also take time.
Titus, US

Installing Iraq's leaders is not as easy as removing Saddam. If we, being far away from Iraq, cannot agree on what is going on there, I am sure it is much tougher for Iraqis and their now leaders to agree. I am impressed with Mr. Hashim's statement; however, I hope that was genuine and not political stand. I just hope to see better days ahead for people of Iraq who have been struggling for peace since last thirty years!
Sangam Dhruva, USA

In Iraq there is a colonial occupying force that refuses to govern. Until they are expelled there will be chaos.
M Heron, Seattle, WA

If the violence is to end the Americans must make substantial concessions
Hisham, Concord, NC, USA
By now it should have become very clear that the Iraqi insurgency is a problem that will not disappear. Regardless of the imbalance in strength and force between the American/British forces and their enemies, a virtual stalemate is in effect. The use of force against this insurgency has proven to be quite ineffective. If the violence is to end the Americans must make substantial concessions - to appease both those who resist them and the majority of Iraqis who want to see them out. Their alternative is nothing short of ultimate failure.
Hisham, Concord, NC, USA

If the Iraqi government, its people and the allied forces work together, instead of blaming each other, then yes eventually they will be able to stop these attacks.
Sarah Wright, Woodland, California, USA

Hard to say. I think that finishing off the guerrilla groups will be extremely hard. A good start on resolving the issue would be having the US better equip the newly formed Iraqi troops in order to deal with the threat more successfully. But once again, it will be hard, probably the insurgents are not even fighting a political war but a religious war against the current Iraqi government. I think electing a candidate that represents only one minority of Muslims was a huge mistake. Muslims have different doctrines as Christians have Protestants and Catholics. The best hope for reducing the violence without necessary military action, would be to call for elections in Iraq for a second time. Certainly though of course you could deploy 600,000 troops and kill everybody.
George Bethanis, Athens, Greece

The government doesn't actually have any power as such, and will be used simply to "approve" the handing of oil rights to US oil giants, and to hand the rebuilding contracts to US companies. It has simply been setup in an attempt to "legitimise" the decisions the US makes.
Nathan Hobbs, Luton, UK

Democracy cannot be installed at the point of a gun
Baasil (Iraqi), UK
Those genuine Iraqi people, who are not naive or motivated by greed, will not allow the country to be sold out to foreign interests. The poor of Iraq have suffered for many years, one way or another, and need a government that will look after a traumatised people, both physically and mentally. This new so-called government neither has the skill, ability, power, or interest to achieve this. Those Iraqis who still feel positive about the occupation will one day realise America isn't paved with streets of gold (at least for most Americans), and neither will they make Iraq like this. The sooner all foreign forces get out of Iraq, and let whatever will happen, happen, the sooner there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Democracy cannot be installed at the point of a gun!
Baasil (Iraqi), UK

Who are the leaders? The government and parliament is a joke. People didn't even vote for names on a list. They didn't know who was standing for what policy. Others didn't vote because of a violent situation. The talking shop laughingly called a parliament cannot venture out of the American green zone. They are impotent and they will talk, but that is all. And eventually, people will start asking for someone strong who can do things, like Saddam.
Bilal Patel, London, UK

I'm baffled, I don't get it. The international coalition goes into Iraq to give the people of that country, democracy, freedom and prosperity and in return the coalition produces insurgents, suicide bombers and terrorists. Where were they when the tyrant, oppressor and dictator Saddam Hussein was in power?
Tom M, Canada

I do not believe we will see peace in Iraq, or the Middle East, anytime soon. The newly formed government could spark, and probably will, lead to divisions not only in Iraq, but the rest of the Arab countries surrounding Iraq. Bless the Iraqi people but I do feel we will see more violence in the days to come and a destabilizing in the Arab worlds. The recent violence is a tip of the iceberg to come.
Heather Barnard, Canada

As an Iraqi, I don't believe the US government wants to see democracy in Iraq. They themselves have installed or supported dictators who are friendly to the US in Cuba, Bolivia, Uganda, Vietnam, Brunei, Argentina, Indonesia, Iran - the list goes on and on... All the US cares about is controlling the oil (often repeated because it's true) keeping US bases in Iraq, handing out rebuilding contracts to US companies, and installing a regime friendly to Israel.
Laila, Dubai, UAE

After the collapse of the former regime, the Coalition Provisional Administration started wrong and committed some deadly mistakes for which the Iraqis are paying a big price. The successive Iraqi transitional governments were and are still weak and lack decisiveness. The country emerged from a dictator regime that was ruling with a fist of iron for about 35 years and was all of a sudden given a very high dose of democracy that could not be digested.
Kamal Dooski, Duhok - Iraq

Do you want to end the bloodshed? Put 600,000 troops into Iraq for 18 months. That's the only way now and should have been done from the start
Martin, Singapore
Do you want to end the bloodshed? Put 600,000 troops into Iraq for 18 months. That's the only way now and should have been done from the start.
Martin, Singapore

The unrest not only harms the new Iraqi government, it also makes a mockery of American claims to have made that area of the world safe. I'd hate to think what an "unsafe" Iraq would be like if today's Iraq is regarded as safe.
Phil McCammon, Zurich

The insurgents are harming Iraq and themselves, not the government. As they butcher Iraqi men women and children they clearly demonstrate the utter depravity, degeneracy and futility of their aims. They are simply extending the occupation, hindering Iraq's reconstruction and holding back economic development and job opportunities. The war must continue relentlessly to eradicate the killers and their supporters before they can blight the emerging democracy with their efforts to return Iraq to the killing fields of another evil dictatorship.
John, UK

My heart goes out to all the Iraqi people who wish for a normal day to day life and I sincerely hope that the new government will secure this. Unfortunately, as it seems, there was no plan to be put in place "After Saddam" and the war and the capture of Saddam has opened up an "old can of worms" that the New Government and the Coalition cannot control.
Helen, Derby, UK

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific