Counter-Terrorism: New Tactics in Iraq


September 21, 2006: Lately, the enemy has been behaving differently in Iraq. For example, in western Iraq (Anbar province), some of the local terrorists have been making very energetic efforts to nail a fuel tanker. These trucks are very well guarded, and terrorists have learned to avoid them. There are easier targets. But for some reason, some of the bad guys in Anbar have become obsessed with blowing up a tanker truck. While this makes a great visual for terrorist videos, the effort has led to the deaths of a number of terrorists who were apparently unaware of how dangerous this is.
The terrorists have become bolder in Baghdad as well. When Coalition/Iraqi troops concentrate on an area that's been a hotbed of terrorist support and attacks, the initial result is not a reduction in hostile actions but an increase. Apparently the terrorists now concentrate their efforts, in order to hit the security forces as hard as possible, perhaps hoping to deter or discourage them. This is what happened in the wilder areas of Baghdad after the recent major effort to establish government control. Of course, the spike in hostile acts begins to decline after a while, as the security forces keep up the pressure. While these tactics never worked against American troops, the Sunni Arab terrorists still have a superiority complex when it comes to Kurds and Shia Arabs. Just because these lesser breeds now dominate the army and police, the Sunni Arab gunmen believe they can scare the army and cops if there's enough fireworks. This has worked before, but lately, it's working less. The army and police are standing their ground, and not calling in the Americans.
Despite all the losses the terrorists are suffering, the number of attacks is increasing. During January and February, terrorist attacks averages about 70-75 a day. The tempo has increased steadily since then, and peaked at an average of about 135 a day over the past 12 weeks or so. Two things seem to account for this. There are more Iraqi security forces, and American troops, in Sunni Arab areas. Now, many terrorists can make an attack without even leaving home. Also, there's an element of desperation. The "death squad" aspect of the war is turning against the Sunni Arabs. The Kurd and Shia Arab death squads are killing more Sunni Arabs, than the Sunni Arabs are killing Kurds and Shia Arabs. Some of the daily "attacks" are actually Kurds or Shia Arabs (police and civilians), in civilian clothes, attacking Sunni Arabs, who are defending themselves. There are an increasing number of these pre-dawn shoot outs, that don't involve the army or police, but do leave a lot of bodies and shell casings behind.




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