The unreported war in Iraq

Strategy Page:

For the last month, the population of Fallujah has been allowed back into their city. The government has a division (eight battalions) of troops and police in Fallujah, along with a regiment of American marines. Nearly 200,000 civilians are back in Fallujah. Anti-government fighters have been almost completely removed from the town. The marines went house to house, looking for hostile fighters, and stockpiles of weapons, three times. Some 500 weapons caches were found and removed. For over two months, there have been no mortar or rocket attacks on American camps around Fallujah, there used to be 3-5 a week. Fallujah is in eastern Iraq's Anbar province, and that area is still violent, with many of the anti-government gangs moving to Samara and Mosul.

There are still, by some counts, 70-80 anti-government attacks a day throughout Iraq. Most are in Anbar province, and most are concentrated in a few areas (Samara, Mosul and parts of Baghdad.) Most of these attacks are minor (a few shots, or an RPG, fired), and result in no casualties. The only ones that make the news are usually car bombs and incidents where American troops are killed. Another area where the reporting is spotty is when terrorist leaders, or key technicians, are captured. Several car bomb builders have been captured in the past month, but the announcement of the capture was often delayed. This indicates that the military and police forces involved are trying to use information of the captures to play some mind games with the terrorists still out there. For the usual reasons, not much information is released about the new Iraqi intelligence forces. But these people have been in action, and have accounted for an improvement in the quality of recent arrests made by American troops and Iraqi police. The anti-government and terrorist gangs are under increasingly more effective attack. This is a war you don't see, as both sides have good reason to keep their operations secret. One not-so-secret part of the war is the role of the Sunni Arab media. The newspapers, radio and television broadcasts are still very pro-terrorist, although these killers are rarely called that. The Sunni Arab media describes them as "insurgents" and "resistance fighters." The European media likes to pick up on this as well, which helps recruiting terrorists among the millions of Sunni Moslems living in Europe.

In the past year, American troops have killed or captured some 15,000 hostile Iraqis (nearly all Sunni Arab) and foreign fighters. A network of recruiters, stretching into nearby Arab countries and Sunni Arab communities in Europe, has been uncovered. This has led to arrests of recruiters and terrorists in those areas. Most Iraqis (the Shia Arab and Kurds) see the violence in Iraq as an attempt by Sunni Arabs to prevent the loss of control of Iraq by Sunni Arabs.

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