Iraq: June 16, 2003

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Currently, about 40 percent of American army combat units are deployed in Iraq. This includes the 3rd Infantry Division, the 1st Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. There is also a brigade of the 82nd Airborne, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 173rd Airborne brigade. There is also less than a division of Marines (who are being withdrawn gradually). The British still have a division in Iraq. A Polish-led division will begin arriving in July. Spain and Ukraine have agreed to send troops, and India has been asked. 

American military operations now recognize that the Baath Party, and the Sunni Arab minority (20 percent of the population), while defeated, have not accepted their situation. Most Baath party members have now gone from being at the top of the socio-economic ladder to being at the bottom. Moreover, many Baath Party members are facing retaliation, including assassination, and possible prosecution for crimes committed during the years of Saddam's rule. 

In the north and south, Sunni minorities among the Kurdish and Shia populations are facing increasing retaliation from the majority populations. The Sunnis did Saddam's dirty work for decades and have earned the enmity of  Kurds and Shia Arabs for many murders and acts of corruption in administering the country. This is creating factional fighting in some areas.

American troops continue to raid towns and neighborhoods that their intelligence information indicates contain groups of armed Baath Party activists of Islamic radicals. While many (perhaps 20-30 percent) of Iraqis are opposed to American occupation, and willing to fight, or support a fight, against it, many Iraqis are not, and are willing to provide information. This process is taking place outside the view of journalists, as it is being handled by Special Forces and criminal investigators (who are used to keeping their activities out of the news).

 

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