Iraq: July 3, 2003

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More military police and other support troops are being sent to assist the 185,000 American troops already in Iraq. Since major combat operations were declared over on May 1st, 26 US troops have been killed in action against Baath Party diehards who continue to fight against their loss of power. There are probably as many as 100,000 Baath Party members who are willing to resist to some extent.  Only a few hundred of these are actually doing anything with weapons, aided by foreign Arabs who just want to fight. Most Baath loyalists are more talk than action and are not used to taking on an opponent who can fight back. US military operations against Baath are more like gang busters than war. The Baath Party and Sunni Arab groups that are attacking American troops and Iraqis belonging to the new government, have not tried to do anything beyond disrupt the post-war economy and government. Pacifying Baath and the Sunni Arabs will be easier once the economy begins to recover and the Iraqi army and national police is re-established. The Sunni Arabs will always want to be back in charge, and that may never change.

Another vexing problem in Iraq are the cultural differences. This includes a lax attitude towards corruption and a tendency to believe the most improbable rumors. 

The advance party of a 9,200 man Polish led peacekeeping force arrived in Iraq. 

Iraqs GDP has fallen from $130 billion in 1979, the year before Saddam invaded Iran, and $40 billion last year. The national banking system is being rebuilt, as is the rest of the economy. While the Baath Party attacks on the economy are having some effect in Central Iraq, they have been largely absent in the rest of the country. 

 

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