Counter-Terrorism: Victories You Don't Hear Much About


February7, 2007: There have some major set backs for terrorist organizations in Iraq recently. These generally don't get reported. Bad news sells, good news doesn't. But for those concerned about the progress of the war on terror, these battles in central Iraq are very important. For example, a battalion of troops from the U.S. 82nd Airborne division spent nine days last month (January 4-9), in a Sunni area about 70 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. The U.S. troops worked their way through several small villages, that turned out to be a base area for one of the Sunni terrorist organizations. The terrorists thought the area worth fighting for, and a hundred of them were killed, including six known terrorist leaders. Another 54 terrorist suspected were arrested. Found in the area were 1,100 107mm rockets, 1,500 RPG rockets, 500 mortar shells and lots of bomb making materials. Two American soldiers were killed in the fighting, and over a dozen were wounded.

The Sunni terrorist organizations are now attracting some truly fanatical recruits. It appears that a small percentage of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs are willing to fight to the death. Of the four million or so Sunni Arabs in Iraq in 2003, about half have already fled their homes, and either left the country, or moved to areas where the population is entirely Sunni. But even if only three percent of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs fight to the death, that's over 100,000 people who would rather die than live in a democracy with the majority Shia Arabs. These diehards are getting financial and emotional support other Sunni Arabs in the region, who see an Iraq run by its Shia Arab majority, as a danger to all Sunni Moslems. That's because of the ancient feud between Sunni and Shia (who disagree on who should be the supreme authority in the Islamic world, and on several other religious issues.)

While the United States would like to have the Iraqi government take care of these diehards, that would be a messy process. Many of the Shia and Kurd troops that predominate in the security forces are willing to kill all Sunni Arabs they encounter in a hostile area. The American troops can go in and just pop the bad guys, leaving most of the innocents unhurt. But to the majority of Iraqis, there's no such thing as an innocent Sunni Arab, and would prefer to see them all dead, or gone to some other country.


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