Japanese Targeted in Iraq

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 2 Issue: 2

The Islamist news site Mufakkirat al-Islam reported on January 14 how there has been a sharp increase in distribution of leaflets in Baghdad, al-Ramadi, al-Samawah specifically targeting the Japanese forces there and demanding their withdrawal from Iraq. The leaflets noted that instead of heeding an earlier threat to leave, the Japanese forces had chosen to seek the protection of a number of tribal sheikhs and government bureau chiefs for their base outside al-Samawah, in return for the building of civic projects and the employment of local youths. The declaration, signed in the names of the Army of Islam, the Army of Muhammad, the Army of Truth and the Army of Islamic Resistance, renewed their demand for instant withdrawal, adding that this was their last warning. The declaration threatened the rocketing of their base, just as occurred at the American bases at Habbaniya, Balad and Al-Warrar in December. The above groups are aware that Japanese forces are unlikely to be able to take a major hit without being pressured towards withdrawal. They are thus probably attempting to repeat the experience of the 1,650-strong Ukrainian contingent, whose 11 recent fatalities from an accident are fuelling parliamentary pressure for their recall. The Mufakkirat al-Islam report notes that in Iraq the Japanese are considered by the resistance to be the most confrontation-shy of the international forces (www.islammemo.cc).