Although it doesn't get the media attention that hunting down
terrorists does, an important goal of Coalition and Iraqi army operations is to
find and secure weapons caches. There are a surprisingly large number of
stockpiles of arms, ammo, and supplies scattered across Iraq, and not just in
areas where the terrorists are strong. These are not just there for logistical
purposes. Weapons caches play an role in terrorist tactics.
covert stockpiles of arms and equipment improves insurgent freedom of action.
Stockpiles can be built up slowly, so as not to attract attention. A single
man, moving one or two items at a time every day or so, over several months,
can build-up a respectable arsenal. Once an arms cache is established, it can
be used to supply fighters if an attack opportunity develops. A cache
might exist in an area for a long time, unused and undetected. When terrorist
leaders decide that an attack should be staged in an area, they can arrange to
infiltrate unarmed personnel. Despite travel controls and check-points, it's
not too hard to move around rather openly in Iraq, using official or forged
papers, on legitimate pretexts. Once the terrorist personnel arrive in the
vicinity of an arms cache, they can be issued weapons, make an attack, and then
capturing arms caches is not merely of logistical importance, but plays a
valuable role in suppressing terrorist operations. Saddam Hussein bought
enormous quantities of Russian weapons and munitions, and left much of it scattered
all over central Iraq. A lot of this stuff was looted after the 2003 invasion,
and the terrorists, using more of Saddam's stolen oil money, bought a lot of it
to support terrorist activities, and the attempt to restore Saddam, or some
other Sunni Arab, to power.