Iraq: Death Toll Declining


October 17, 2006: The Sunni Arab terrorists are running out of manpower, and the government has managed to restrain many of the death squads. This is being done partly by using American troops more to disband, or purge, police units that have been too active in the Shia revenge attacks. Iraqi deaths (civilians and security forces) are down about 40 percent from the September rate. Last month, there were nearly 4,000 civilian and security force deaths (plus 76 Americans, a steady increase from the July low of 46.) Like lights going out on a Christmas tree, the Sunni Arab suicide bomber cells are being taken down. The anti-terrorist tribal alliance in Anbar province has forced terrorists to concentrate on defending themselves. These defensive operations are carried out by directing attacks against tribal militia, or U.S. troops that are assisting. Rather than drive into Baghdad (which is not as easy as it used to be, what with all the additional roadblocks and security checks), the Islamic terrorists can now set up roadside bombs in their own neighborhoods, which are now patrolled by U.S. troops. This sort of thing is demoralizing for many Sunni Arabs, who had entertained the fantasy, since 2003, that all this violence was "winning the war." The absence of government, or U.S., troops for two years, allowed these Sunni Arabs to believe the fantastic reports, of Sunni Arab terrorist victories, in the Arab media. But those fantasies are now in ruins, especially since Shia death squads are starting to visit, often dressed up as police or paramilitaries. The terror that Sunni Arabs served up for so many decades, has now returned, with the long-time killers, now the victims.

Meanwhile, one group of Sunni Arab Islamic radicals, Mujahedeen Shura Council, has proclaimed the establishment of an Islamic State in Iraq. This fantasy is supported by the enforcement of strict Islamic lifestyle by Islamic gangs in some parts of Iraq. But beyond that, it's nothing by press release bravado, and some dead bodies. Always the dead bodies accompany announcements of religious importance in Iraq. It's quite the culture of death, all in the name of God.

The government is trying to reduce the amount of Shia Arab death squad activity, at least in line with the destruction of Sunni Arab terrorist groups. If the government cannot do that, then the number of refugees (largely Sunni Arab) will increase. Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which have been helpful to Iraq, are complaining about the growing number of Sunni Arab refugees crossing their borders. However, many Shia Arab Iraqi government officials would like to see more Sunni Arabs get out of the country. But, officially, the government is trying to reduce the migration, and the violence that spurs it.


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