There have some major set backs for terrorist organizations in Iraq
recently. These generally don't get reported. Bad news sells, good news doesn't.
But for those concerned about the progress of the war on terror, these battles
in central Iraq are very important. For example, a battalion of troops from the
U.S. 82nd Airborne division spent nine days last month (January 4-9), in a
Sunni area about 70 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. The U.S. troops worked
their way through several small villages, that turned out to be a base area for
one of the Sunni terrorist organizations. The terrorists thought the area worth
fighting for, and a hundred of them were killed, including six known terrorist
leaders. Another 54 terrorist suspected were arrested. Found in the area were
1,100 107mm rockets, 1,500 RPG rockets, 500 mortar shells and lots of bomb
making materials. Two American soldiers were killed in the fighting, and over a
dozen were wounded.
Sunni terrorist organizations are now attracting some truly fanatical recruits.
It appears that a small percentage of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs are willing to
fight to the death. Of the four million or so Sunni Arabs in Iraq in 2003,
about half have already fled their homes, and either left the country, or moved
to areas where the population is entirely Sunni. But even if only three percent
of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs fight to the death, that's over 100,000 people who would
rather die than live in a democracy with the majority Shia Arabs. These
diehards are getting financial and emotional support other Sunni Arabs in the
region, who see an Iraq run by its Shia Arab majority, as a danger to all Sunni
Moslems. That's because of the ancient feud between Sunni and Shia (who
disagree on who should be the supreme authority in the Islamic world, and on
several other religious issues.)
the United States would like to have the Iraqi government take care of these
diehards, that would be a messy process. Many of the Shia and Kurd troops that
predominate in the security forces are willing to kill all Sunni Arabs they
encounter in a hostile area. The American troops can go in and just pop the bad
guys, leaving most of the innocents unhurt. But to the majority of
Iraqis, there's no such thing as an innocent Sunni Arab, and would prefer to
see them all dead, or gone to some other country.