November 9, 2007:
The various terrorist groups in
Iraq, especially the Sunni Arabs and al Qaeda, appear to be having supply
problems. In a word, the enemy is running out of ammunition. Their logistical
"tail" is being chopped to bits. Captured documents and prisoner
interrogations mention these shortages. There are other signs as well. Many of
the bomb factories, or bomb storage sites, are full of homemade explosives.
Apparently most of the Saddam era, ready-made stuff, is gone. Most of the
pre-2003 military explosives have been found and destroyed by American combat
engineers over the last four years.
Another sign is the increased number of enemy
weapons and munitions caches being found. In the past month, over 5,000 have
been found, which is twice the number found in the same period a year ago. The
most reassuring sign has been the sharp decrease in attacks on American and
Iraqi troops. There were three times as many roadside bombs encountered last
year, and nearly three times as many mortar and rocket attacks on U.S. bases.
Another factor is reduced smuggling. The Iraqi
border guards are more numerous and better armed than a year ago. Operating out
of many newly built forts along the Syrian and Iranian borders, it's become
much more difficult to smuggle explosives or finished bombs into the country.
While the border guards are often bribed by smugglers, pressure has been
applied to refuse bribes from arms smugglers, or at least inform on them. That
has worked on the Syrian border, while on the Iranian frontier, a recent
campaign by Coalition commandoes against smugglers, encouraged Iran to halt
weapons shipments, or at least most of them, into Iraq.