Iraq: April 16, 2003


The Iraqi general commanding 16,000 troops along the Syrian border has surrendered. Those troops have largely kept their heads down and not interfered with the operations of coalition special forces and commandos in the area. 

Coalition troops continue to hire more Iraqi civil servants, particularly police, and go with them on joint patrols to maintain peace in most neighborhoods. However, organized gangs of looters are still on the prowl looking for valuable items. Coalition backed neighborhood militias are heard at night shooting it out with armed gangs. 

The first meeting of Iraqi civil, political and religious groups agreed to proceed with forming a democratic government. But several key groups, particularly radical Shia groups, refused to participate (because the meeting was organized by Americans) and then staged protests because they were not represented at the meeting. The Islamic radicals don't have the numbers they possess in Iran and Saudi Arabia, but they do have guns and the belief that they are on a mission from God. 

Special Operations troops are searching for senior members of the Saddam government thought to still be in Iraq. This activity may go on for several weeks before ending. 

Major combat activity has ended, with the only action left being terrorist attacks and resistance from political or criminal militias. 




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