Next door to Syria, an al-Qaeda-linked group is also gaining ground in Iraq
...Iraq’s western desert in Anbar province, which has a long and porous border with Syria, has been dubbed the “Jazeera Emirate.” Militants have launched an especially relentless wave of attacks on the city of Fallujah over the past two months, including the assassination of its mayor, Adnan Hussein, who was shot Nov. 13 by a rooftop sniper.
“Al-Qaeda controls 40 percent of the desert area of Anbar province,” said Sabah Karhout, the chairman of the Anbar Provincial Council.
Iraqi security forces have struck back, but — in a stark contrast to when they were working in concert with U.S. Special Forces — they have far less technological capacity to gather signals intelligence and less analytical capacity to assemble different bits of information into clear pictures that would help them plan operations.
Instead, they often appear to be relying on blunt tactics that threaten to alienate the local population. After the killing of Fallujah’s mayor, for example, police arrested about 400 people and held many of them for more than two weeks without charges, according to families of several of the detainees....