Murphy's Law: Why Most Iraqis Feel Safe

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December20, 2006: For all the reports of violence in Iraq, most Iraqis feel safe. That's because, 78 percent of the violence (as measured by armed attacks), take place in Baghdad, Anbar province (west of Baghdad), and the smaller Salah ad Din and Diyala provinces. These four areas contain 37 percent of the population. In the rest of Iraq, containing 63 percent of the population, opinion surveys indicate that 90 percent of the people feel safe.

There are currently 120-140 attacks a day. The number of attacks has gone up some 22 percent since last Summer. The areas of the most violence are where Sunni Arabs live. In Baghdad, which has been a Sunni Arab city for centuries, there is also a large Shia Arab minority. The Shia now control the government, and security services. Sunni Arab terrorists are determined to overthrow the government, and put Sunni Arabs back in control. The terrorists have to do this in areas where there is a Sunni Arab population where they can hide and prepare their attacks.

While 68 percent of the attacks are against American and other foreign troops, the most casualties are caused by attacks (19 percent of them) on Iraqi security forces, and Iraqi civilians (18 percent). The attacks on Iraqis result in 96 percent of the deaths. The larger number of attacks on foreign troops is largely driven by the Sunni Arab belief that all their problems are due to the presence of foreign troops. But the Sunni Arabs have long since discovered that attacks on foreign troops, particularly Americans, is suicidal. So most of those attacks are remote control ones, using roadside bombs. This satisfies "honor," so to speak, but is expensive (all those bomb builders and placers have to get paid). It's much easier to launch suicide bomb attacks against Iraqi civilians, and this is what accounts for the largest number of dead. But it also results in a lot of retaliation attacks on Sunni Arab civilians by Shia Arab death squads.

A major source of loss for the Sunni Arabs is migration to foreign countries. About 100,000 are fleeing each month, joining nearly two million already in exile. Many Kurds and Shia Arabs make no secret of their desire to drive all Sunni Arabs from Iraq. They are well on their way to achieving this goal, with over a third of the Sunni Arabs gone already. At the current rate of migration, all Sunni Arabs will be gone from Iraq within four years.

The Sunni Arabs see no other viable alternative to their terror campaign. Negotiations with the Shia dominated government have not resulted in the degree of amnesty desired. Several hundred thousand Sunni Arabs were directly responsible for the killing and terrorizing of Kurds and Shia Arabs during the decades of Saddams rule. These men are at the core of the Sunni Arab terror campaign, and demand amnesty. If they can't get amnesty, and can't, or won't, flee the country, they will fight to the death.

Iraqi security forces are largely Shia Arabs and Kurds. There are about 322,000 currently, but only 70 percent of them are available for duty at any given time. These troops are reluctant to fight in Sunni Arab areas. Centuries of Sunni Arab domination has created a fear of the Sunni Arabs. This fear is sustained by three years of Sunni Arab terror attacks on Shia Arab civilians (the Kurds have managed to keep the Sunni Arab terrorists out of northern Iraq.) The security forces are also more vulnerable because they have to play by Western rules. The traditional way of dealing with terrorists is to arrest family members of suspected terrorists, or simply kill those suspected of terrorism. These traditional methods are the ones Saddam used liberally, and the ones some pundits suggest should be revived in order to "restore order." That's not going to happen, at least not officially. Shia Arab death squads have been increasingly going Old School on the Sunni Arabs. This has not, as yet, slowed down Sunni Arab terrorist activity. Officially, about a hundred actual, or suspected, terrorists are killed or captured each week. A larger number appear to be murdered off the books. Dead Sunni Arabs make most Iraqis feel safer.

 


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