Iraq: August 11, 2003


 In a typical counter-terrorism operation, 2,000 US troops surrounded and searched two villages north of Baghdad. Based on information developed from informants, captured Baath Party members and electronic surveillance, the troops go after some specific houses, while searching many others. The Iraqis protest the searches, not least because illegal weapons and looted goods are found and confiscated. Basically, the coalition is still at war with segments of the Sunni Arab population. Such unrest does not occur in the Kurdish north or the Shia south. While there are a lot of Sunni Arabs in the north, they are somewhat cowed by the presence of  many armed and short-tempered Kurds. There are some Sunni Arab tribes in the south as well, and they keep their heads down because Saddam allowed the southern Sunni Arab tribes to take advantage of the Shia majority for many decades. In the south, the Sunni Arabs complain a lot, mainly about not getting enough protection (from the Shia majority) by the coalition troops. Overall, the Sunni Arabs comprise about twenty percent of the population, and Saddam found that less than half the Sunni Arab tribes could be depended on to support him. It is these tribes, plus al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups from outside the country, who are supporting the resistance. The guerillas are fighting for their right to dominate and oppress the majority of Iraqis. Not very heroic, but there it is. 


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