Iraq: Not A Good Time To Be Sunni And Arab In Iraq


July 24, 2007: The surge has basically been chasing the terrorist and criminal gangs around the suburbs of Baghdad, or even into northern or western Iraq. This has taken its toll. Time spent in flight cannot be spent planting IEDs or killing people. Putting all these guys on the road, also makes them more susceptible to capture. A lot of important terrorists have been captured this way. The chief liaison between al Qaeda headquarters and al Qaeda in Iraq was nabbed, as well as many mid-level terrorist cell leaders.

What most of the troops, and Iraqi civilians, notice is the lower level of violence. Since the surge offensive began four months ago, Iraqi (military and civilian) deaths have declined by more than 50 percent, and American casualties are down by over a third. U.S. troops are still taking the lead in moving into hostile areas, and being exposed to ambush and IEDs. But U.S. tactics and training have made enemy efforts much less lethal. This has helped demoralize an increasing number of terrorists. Many are tired of killing Iraqi civilians, and the increasing difficulty at getting at American troops. Look at this from the Iraqi perspective. In a very good month, Iraqis make a hundred or more attacks a day on American troops, and kill, on average, about four of them. While the terrorists make a big deal out of every American killed, they know that most of their attacks were not only failures, but got a lot of their buddies killed. On average, 10-20 terrorists die for every American killed. This has been going on for years, and an increasing number of Iraqi fighters are demoralized and quitting. Many either become informers, or surrender and speak freely. This is resulting in fresher intelligence, and raids that are catching terrorist cells preparing for operations, and in possession of weapons, bombs and incriminating documents.

There are several wars going on in Iraq. Up north, Turkish and Iranian troops are fighting with PKK (Kurdish secular separatist terrorists). The PKK takes refuge in northern Iraq, where the local Kurds tolerate, or support, the PKK. Turkey has put pressure on the U.S. to either get the Kurdish government in the north to round up or expel the PKK, or tolerate a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq to do that. The U.S. has told the Iraqi Kurds that they have to deal with the PKK, or something very bad (for the Kurds) will happen. And soon.

With the Sunni Arab threat diminishing, pro-Iranian Shia Arab groups are more often becoming the target of American military action. The Iraqi government is reluctant to go after these groups because the government is run by a coalition of Shia Arab parties. That said, the government has been less and less willing to protest attacks on Shia Arab militias. This is linked to more American evidence that Iran is supporting and supplying these groups. The Iraqi government knows that Iran wants a religious dictatorship running Iraq. Self interest does have its good side.

As could be expected, there's still no love lost between the Shia and Sunni Arab communities. The attitude in the Sunni Arab community alternates between despair and desperation. The despairing have been leaving, the desperate either fighting or trying to make a deal. Nearly half the 2003 Iraqi Sunni Arab population has left the country. That makes Sunni Arabs only about ten percent of the population. Many Kurds and Shia want them all gone, but as long as the Americans are there, such a mass expulsion won't happen. This gives the Sunni Arabs a chance to cut a political deal with the majority Kurds and Shia Arabs. There's not much love in that department. Amnesties and oil revenue are not being offered in large quantities. The Sunni Arabs are being less demanding. The Sunni Arab "resistance" is crumbling, worn down by casualties and hatred directed at them for all the murders they commit. Not a good time to be Sunni and Arab in Iraq.




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