Logistics: Al Qaeda Loses Its Tail


November 9, 2007: The various terrorist groups in Iraq, especially the Sunni Arabs and al Qaeda, appear to be having supply problems. In a word, the enemy is running out of ammunition. Their logistical "tail" is being chopped to bits. Captured documents and prisoner interrogations mention these shortages. There are other signs as well. Many of the bomb factories, or bomb storage sites, are full of homemade explosives. Apparently most of the Saddam era, ready-made stuff, is gone. Most of the pre-2003 military explosives have been found and destroyed by American combat engineers over the last four years.

Another sign is the increased number of enemy weapons and munitions caches being found. In the past month, over 5,000 have been found, which is twice the number found in the same period a year ago. The most reassuring sign has been the sharp decrease in attacks on American and Iraqi troops. There were three times as many roadside bombs encountered last year, and nearly three times as many mortar and rocket attacks on U.S. bases.

Another factor is reduced smuggling. The Iraqi border guards are more numerous and better armed than a year ago. Operating out of many newly built forts along the Syrian and Iranian borders, it's become much more difficult to smuggle explosives or finished bombs into the country. While the border guards are often bribed by smugglers, pressure has been applied to refuse bribes from arms smugglers, or at least inform on them. That has worked on the Syrian border, while on the Iranian frontier, a recent campaign by Coalition commandoes against smugglers, encouraged Iran to halt weapons shipments, or at least most of them, into Iraq.


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