American troops have a wanted list of Shia Arab militia leaders, and they are picking these guys up. The "most wanted list" was the result of a compromise between the government and the Shia Arab political leadership. The wanted men are those who lead the most aggressive Shia Arab death squads. These fellows have been killing lots of Sunni Arabs, sometimes working from lists of Saddam era "war criminals," at other times indiscriminately. These deaths have kept many Sunni Arabs motivated to continue supporting the terror attacks against the government, and Shia Arab civilians.
November 5, 2006: Saddam Hussein was found guilty of murder, and other charges, and sentenced to death by hanging. There will be 30 days for a higher court review. If that does not reverse Saddam's conviction, the execution will take place within 30 days of the review court decision. After the announcements, there were celebrations in Shia Arab and Kurd neighborhoods, and in neighboring Iran. Sunni Arab areas saw some protests, and gunfire directed at police and soldiers. Many Sunni Arabs believe that Saddam Hussein was just doing his job, and that a country like Iraq, with all those unruly Kurds and Shia Arabs, needs a dictator. To many Sunni Arabs, democracy won't work in Iraq. Some believe this for religious reasons, because democracy is "un-Islamic." Others believe it because they insist that Kurds and Shia Arabs require coercion to make them do what's best for them (and their Sunni Arab overlords.) This is the sort of thing many in Iraq believe, and are willing to fight and die over.
November 3, 2006: About 100,000 Iraqi Sunni Arabs are fleeing the country each month. In 2003, Sunni Arabs were about 20 percent of the population. But Sunni Arabs have been leaving the country, fearful of retribution from Kurds and Shia Arabs, ever since, and at the current rate of involuntary immigration, Sunni Arabs will be only ten percent of the population in another year. While the terrorists comprise a minority of Sunni Arabs, the same minority that supported the Sunni Arab dictatorship headed by Saddam Hussein, they are numerous enough (nearly a million people) to keep the violence going for years. That's unless the government mounts major military operations on the towns and neighborhoods in central Iraq where these Sunni Arabs live. That's what the Sunni Arabs fear will happen eventually, and much bloodshed will follow.
November 2, 2006: An Iraqi-American soldier, 41 year old Ahmed Qusai al Taai, was kidnapped on October 23rd. The circumstances were unusual. Al Taai, an army reservist who serves as an interpreter, has a wife in Baghdad. He left the Green Zone to visit her, and was kidnapped by a bunch of gunmen who knew where he lived. The kidnapping has political overtones (Sunni/Shia politics are involved), and the president of Iraq got involved in the negotiations. This was more of a political, than military, incident.