Counter-Terrorism: The Big List

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March 26,2008: For the past year, American forces in Iraq have been on the offensive. The troops are not just going after an anonymous enemy. They have a large list (thousands of names) of key people in the various Iraqi and al Qaeda terrorist organizations. The Israelis had demonstrated, over the last five years, that they key to crippling a terrorist organization is to identify, and go after, the key leadership and technical people in an organization. This included a lot of specialties you never hear much about. There are, for example, the bagmen (who move the money) and the fixers (who arrange for government officials to be bribed.) There was also a group of video editors and web specialists in northern Baghdad responsible for most of the slick "combat videos" that appear on pro-terrorist websites. Since these guys were rounded up last Summer, the number of these recruiting, and morale building, videos showing up in the Internet has dropped by over 75 percent. Quality is down as well.

Nearly a year of such attacks has greatly added to the intelligence databases, and made it even more obvious who-is-who. It's also become clear why some groups are fighting. A lot of it has been Sunni Arabs who refuse to believe that Kurds and Shia Arabs can run the country. Egged on by Arab nationalists and anti-West and anti-American groups outside the country, the Sunni Arab terrorists believed that if they killed enough people, victory, and control of Iraq, would be theirs. All this is kept going by a few hundred leaders and specialists. Some are fleeing the country, but enough are willing to fight to the death, to keep the battle going for another year or more.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is using the same techniques to go after the Shia Arab terror networks. Most of these are sponsored by Iran. This makes the Shia terrorists quite unpopular, because Iran has been seen as a threatening neighbor for thousands of years. Iran is also believed, by most Iraqis, to have supported Sunni Arab terrorist groups as well. This is seen as typically Iranian, and just another example of how ruthless and diabolical they can be. On the plus side, the Shia Arab terrorist groups are not as effective as the Sunni Arab ones, which is why the Iraqi security forces are taking them on without a lot of U.S. backup.

 


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