Iraq: March 8, 2005


The wild west atmosphere in Sunni Arab areas hides the fact that, increasingly, more and more of the violence is Sunni against Sunni. This is because an increasing number of Sunni Arabs are supporting the central government and getting attacked by terrorists because of it. Most of the conflict is more confrontational than combat. Groups of armed men will stare at each other, without any shots being fired. It's really basic gang warfare, with groups of armed civilians claiming streets and neighborhoods, making it clear that turf would be defended by force. With more Iraqi police available, the American troops can more easily get to know the pro-government Iraqi groups, and coordinate operations against the terrorists.

Some of the terrorists are foreigners. But only about ten percent of the terrorists killed are al Qaeda, the rest are pro-Saddam or pro-Sunni Arab domination. Based on information posted on al Qaeda web sites (praising individual "martyrs" who died in Iraq), some 60 percent of the al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia. Another ten percent are from Syria, seven percent from Kuwait, about 15 percent from many other Moslem nations, and eight percent from Iraq. Over twenty al Qaeda members are being killed a month in Iraq, and many more captured. Those captives admit that their "emir" (leader) is Abu Musab al Zarqawi, but add that Iraqi Sunni Arabs are supplying a lot of technical assistance, equipment and cash. Recent al Qaeda captives have been unhappy with the direction the "war" is taking, because of the large number of Iraqis who are getting killed, and the growing hostility, by Iraqis, against al Qaeda. While Iraqi Sunni Arabs see the fighting as one of survival for Sunni Arab Iraqis, al Qaeda is on a Mission from God to drive infidels (non-Moslems) from the region. These two goals are colliding in a messy fashion.


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