November 19, 2003
CENTCOM, the American military headquarters running military operations in the Middle East, is setting up a forward headquarters in Qatar. Some 85 percent of CENTCOM headquarters troops will remain in Tampa, Florida. By setting up this advanced headquarters, the time zone differences and distance problems will be eliminated. Often CENTCOM has to make timely decisions and this is sometimes difficult when CENTCOM headquarters is back in the U.S.
In western Iraq, a Sunni Arab tribal leader suffered a car bomb attack on his home. Two died and a dozen were wounded, but the tribal leader was uninjured. The coalition has increasingly made deals with tribal leaders to provide economic aid in return for tribal forces assistance in keeping the peace in the rural areas that are largely controlled by the tribes. Since the 1991 war, Saddam tried to gain the support of the tribes with gifts instead of terror (his previous method.) Most tribal leaders were wary, but all of the Sunni Arab tribes went along to one degree or another. With Saddam gone, but many of his armed followers still around, the tribal leaders are being cautious. They fear that the Americans will leave and the Saddam forces will make a comeback.
In the past 24 hours, American forces operating west of Baghdad arrested 161 men suspected of making attacks on coalition and government targets.