Iraq: January 11, 2005


Can the anti-government forces in Iraq win? Some pundits think so. But do you really think the Shia Arabs and Kurds will allow Saddam's thugs to bully their way back into power? The Kurds and Shia Arabs are 80 percent of the population, they control of the oil, and have American troops to back up their efforts. Iraqis indicate, to anyone who will listen, that they have no intention of folding under Baath pressure, and a growing desire to come down hard on the Sunni Arabs who support the violence. The Kurds and Shia Arabs have lists of names, because Saddam's thugs didn't wear masks when they ran things for three decades. Guess who is going to lose? But that thought is what is driving the resistance. The Baath Party thugs know what they will have to face eventually, if they dont regain control of Iraq. 

The Baath and al Qaeda campaign against the police and government officials results in spectacular and newsworthy attacks each day. But there are still 7,000 new police and National Guard undergoing training, and another 25,000 waiting to start their training. The attacks are concentrated in two provinces; Anbar (where Fallujah is) and Nineveh (where Mosul is). Because the attacks are killing mostly Iraqis, the attackers are not very popular, even among Sunni Arabs. The police are getting more tips about anti-government activity. This includes information about where roadside bombs are planted, or where gunmen are hiding out. Although the Arab media makes a big deal about how impossible it will be to run the elections, the Iraqi people dont think so. To the average Iraqi, the elections mean the difference between a free and prosperous future, or more Baath Party tyranny. Candidates for the new parliament have the most to lose, especially in Sunni areas. Baath and al Qaeda have threatened these candidates with death, and in Sunni Arab areas, there are plenty of Baath Party gunmen to carry out the threats. 

The war in Iraq is a routine of patrols, raids and intelligence collecting for American and Iraqi forces. The Baath Party and al Qaeda fighters scout targets, recruit new fighters (using money, threats or the promise of rewards if Baath gets back in power) and carry out attacks. There are dozens of little battles each day that you never hear about, but this is where the war is being fought, and decided. When the histories of the Iraq campaign are written, its these raids, patrols and intelligence collecting efforts that will be recognized as the battles that decided the outcome. 


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