Counter-Terrorism: No Honor Among Thieves

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January 9, 2008: U.S. and Iraqi military operations against terrorists have been so successful in the last year that the security forces have now been able to turn their attention to the many criminal gangs that have flourished in the midst of the terrorist and sectarian mayhem. The gangs are often part of terrorist organizations, which finance their violence with criminal scams. Smuggling, counterfeiting, kidnapping and extortion are favorites. The less religious gangs also deal in booze and prostitution. Many gangs provide support services for the terrorists. Everything from selling and smuggling weapons and bomb materials, to manufacturing suicide and roadside bombs, and even placing them. Some gangs will also kidnap or murder to order, although they will generally stay away from high profile targets (too much back blast.)

Over the last four years, U.S. intelligence efforts have collected information on thousands of misbehaving Iraqis. This database has been used mainly to identify and locate terrorists, but many common criminals were picked up and identified as well. But now the troops are running out of terrorists, and going after the gangsters. This is very popular with the average Iraqi, who has suffered more from the mobsters, than from the terrorists. But this crackdown on crime has created new opportunities to hurt the remaining terrorists groups. The criminals, when caught, or facing some serious damage to their organization, will try to negotiate. The gangsters do have something quite valuable to trade; information on what terrorists (they have worked with) are up to, or just how they operated (and with who.) No honor among thieves, especially now since most Iraqis see terrorism as a dead end and a lost cause.

 


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