September 27, 2006: After spending nearly $2 billion in the last two years to control its 900 kilometer border with Iraq, Saudi Arabia is now spending $12 billion more to totally lock down the border with fences, sensors and patrols. Aside from the smuggling, which has been going on forever, Saudi Arabia is most concerned with Islamic terrorists. While the terrorists have been beaten down inside Saudi Arabia, many have fled to Iraq. Saudi Arabia does not want them sneaking back once the Iraqi government regains control of the few Sunni Arab strongholds that serve as terrorist hideouts.
September 24, 2006: The war between Sunni Arab nationalists, and the majority Shia Arabs continues. The Sunni Arab terrorists, who are greatly outnumbered by the Shia controlled security forces, are depending mostly on suicide bombers to make attacks on the Shia Arabs. Meanwhile, the Shia Arabs are coming after the Sunni Arabs from two directions. Officially, the Shia controlled (and staffed) security forces are going into more Sunni Arab areas to "restore order." Manning roadblocks and conducting patrols, the security forces make it difficult for groups of armed Sunni Arabs to move freely about. Thus the growing dependence on suicide bombers to strike back. Unofficially, Shia Arab death squads can move freely, as some of these killers also belong to the security forces. The death squads either go after specific Sunni Arabs (who committed atrocities against Shia when Saddam was in charge, or have been carrying out terrorist attacks since 2003), or Sunni Arabs in general, and kill them. Often the victims are grabbed and tortured first, either for information, or just revenge. There is an enormous demand for revenge against Sunni Arabs, in the Shia Arab community. For the last two decades, Saddam's security forces killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shia Arabs, often in horrible, and public, ways. While Saddam is hated, so are his many henchmen. Worse, Saddam's thugs are often known by name, as these guys never though a day of reckoning would arrive, and did not hide their identities. For many former secret policemen, that has proved to be a fatal oversight.
September 23, 2006: Coalition forces are working with the government on a five month long campaign to remove corrupt, and militia related, police officers and commanders from their jobs. This procedure often requires the use of force, or at least the threat of force. Corruption in Iraq is an ancient and accepted (if not widely liked) practice, and the infiltration of the police by corrupt, or militia controlled, cops, is just another form of corruption. Teams of Iraqi police investigators and Coalition military police are setting up shop in police stations, to document who's naughty and who's not. Many corrupt police have already been identified, but more evidence is needed for many. The investigation teams will talk to locals and collect evidence of corrupt practices. Then the dismissals are made. Thousands of police have already been dismissed for corruption, but the new effort is meant to clean out police units that are basically controlled by corrupt cops. There are now enough police, and police recruits coming in, to replace the loss of thousands of corrupt cops.
All but a few (six out of 31) of the Sunni Arab tribes in western Iraq (Anbar province) have now signed on to assist the government government against Sunni Arab terrorists. In addition to about 30,000 tribesmen who will assist in guarding roads and facilities (both commercial and government), the tribes are expected to provide information on where the terrorists are. That has started to happen, and several senior terrorist leaders have been caught, or killed, in the last week. Many more lower level terrorists have been rounded up. This isn't going to shut down the Sunni Arab terror groups immediately, because several of the Sunni Arab tribes, and many Sunni Arabs who are independent of tribal influence, still support the terrorists. But for this cooperation to continue, the government has to stop at least some of the death squad activity. To this end, the government is making a major effort to eliminate corrupt Kurdish and Shia Arab cops, including those who have been moonlighting as death squad killers of Sunni Arabs. It will be a lot easier to shut down the police based death squads than the freelance ones. There are thousands of Kurds and Shia Arabs willing to go after Sunni Arabs and kill them. And a majority of the Kurds and Shia Arabs back throwing all the Sunni Arabs out of the country. That is something the government does not want to touch, but something the Sunni Arab community is very concerned about.