Intelligence: Keeping Score in the Iraqi Civil War

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August 21, 2006: American intelligence troops in Iraq monitors "indicators of civil war" in Iraq on a weekly basis. The intel people keep track of things like; level of rhetoric by various leaders, intercepts of communications among various groups, sermons, money movements, weapons caches found, infiltration rate, and much more, including, of course "sectarian violence." Most of the indicators have been pretty stable, in the green or yellow zones. Only "sectarian violence" has been steadily in the red. This is why most intel people in Iraq seem to asses the chances of civil war as "high" but not certain, usually pinning it in the 60-70 percent range. But they also point out, not that many journalists pay attention, that this would only, technically be a "civil war." That is, a conflict where Iraqis are fighting Iraqis. That situation has been going on for decades, with, until 2003, the Kurds and Shia Arabs getting the worst of it. But in the last three years, the Sunni Arabs have been under attack, getting weaker, and more desperate. The intel intercepts, interrogation reports, and even the sermons in Sunni Arab mosques, and chatter in Sunni Arab coffee shops, all show this. This desperation is not about losing a "civil war," but about the violence becoming so intense that most Iraqi Sunni Arabs will have to flee the country. The Kurds and Shia Arabs now have far more armed, and trained, men than the Sunni Arabs, as well as controlling the government and having the Americans to back them up. The intel reports continue to show desperate efforts by Sunni Arab leaders to rein in Sunni Arab terrorists. But, so far, that has proved impossible. The Sunni Arabs fear that if the Sunni Arab terrorists are not halted, or destroyed, soon, Sunni Arabs will be driven from the country.

 


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