Saturday, May 07, 2005

IRAQ: Frustrated Terrorists Seek Tactics That Will Work

military news about Iraq

IRAQ: Frustrated Terrorists Seek Tactics That Will Work

May 6, 2005; The January 30 Parliament finally selected government ministers this week. Terrorist attacks have killed over 250 people, mostly civilians, in the last week. The terrorist campaign is remarkable for its persistence, and ineffectiveness. Actually, the terror campaign is beyond ineffective. It is the major reason why popular opinion in Iraq, and the Arab world, has turned against al Qaeda. When the terrorist bombings began to kill large numbers of civilians back in late 2003, many Iraqis believed the Americans were behind the attacks. Iraqis didn't believe al Qaeda and the Baath Party terrorists could be so stupid. Now, Iraqis consider al Qaeda and the Baath Party terrorists to be depraved, and rather clueless, butchers. Even the Sunni Arab international media is having a hard time selling the terrorists as brave warriors fighting the foreign invaders. The terror campaign in Iraq is becoming a growing embarrassment in the Arab world.

The al Qaeda and Baath Party strategy of trying to trigger a civil war between the main factions in the country (Sunni Arab, Shia Arab and Kurds) has been a failure. While a few Shia leaders have called to retribution against the Sunni Arab areas where the terrorists are known to hang out, the Shia Arab leadership, particularly the religious leaders, have called for restraint, and been obeyed. There has been a Shia response to the attacks, although it is largely unreported (because most reporters, fearing injury or kidnapping, report from inside U.S. bases or well guarded hotels). The Shia have increased security along roads and in Shia neighborhoods. Most of the new police and security troops raised in the last year have been to provide security for the Shia population. The Kurds have always been well protected, although a suicide bomber got past security last week (even though he was detected and was being chased), got into a crowd of men applying for police jobs, and killed some sixty people. The police applicants always come back after these attacks. Iraqis are hard to terrorize, but easy to piss off.

Iraqis can't help but notice that less than ten percent of the terrorist victims are Americans, and that the reason for this is that the Americans have better security. The continued terrorist attacks have provided an incentive for Iraqi police and troops to pay close attention when their American advisors and instructors explain to them how a high degree of security can be achieved. There's no magic or wondrous new technology involved. The main ingredient of effective security is people who are dedicated, persistent and disciplined. These qualities were never abundant in the Iraqi police and military, except for a few units that Saddam relied on to keep the country in line. Saddam's crack commandos and intelligence operatives are now the core of the terrorist organization. But the police and army has responded in kind, and have gotten results. It's been over six months since terrorists have been able to overrun a police station. The growing force of Iraqi SWAT teams and commandos have become such a threat that terrorists are targeting them, and their leaders.

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