Iraq: July 22, 2002


Reports of US CIA and Special Forces troops operating inside Iraq indicate attempts to find out what tribes and resistance groups would be willing to rebel against the Iraqi government and under what  conditions. Most of the Iraqi population has been (in the last ten years) or is willing to offer armed resistance to the government. But so far, Saddam's police state has proved very effective in dealing with rebellions. But that has caused considerable wear and tear on Saddam's core support (about 20 percent of the population.) While a successful coup is unlikely in the near future, the growing unrest among Saddam's core supporters means that resistance to an invasion will be weaker.  

In northern Afghanistan, where US and British air power keep the Iraqis out and the Kurds running their own affairs, Kurdish troops continue to fight Islamic radicals of the Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam). The group the controls some villages along the Iranian border and have links with  Al-Qaeda, Iraqi secret police and Islamic conservatives in Iran. There are a few hundred of the Jund al-Islam fighters and they appear to get weapons and other assistance from Iran. The Iraqi connection was discovered from Iraqi defectors and captured Jund al-Islam fighters. No North Korean connection has been found.


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