Iraq: September 7, 2003

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The coalition gave the Iraqi militias, mainly Shia, a week to disarm, or be forcibly disarmed. Meanwhile, thousands of Iraqis are going through one month training courses (conducted by Iraqi police who had been trained by American police trainers) to become armed security guards. Civil Affairs troops are negotiating disarmament and security training deals, striving to avoid an armed  showdown on the 13th.

The Shia Badr Brigade militia (formerly in Iranian exile), say they captured a man who confessed to trying to assassinate a senior Shia leader; Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi. The captured man said he was a member of Saddam's Fedayeen and had participated in attacks on American soldiers. 

Al Qaeda has openly denied any responsibility for the car bombing that killed Shia leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim. No one, it seems, wants to take responsibility. The suspects arrested so far include Baath Party loyalists and Islamic radicals from Saudi Arabia. These two groups are normally mortal enemies, but are now allies of convenience. Since Shia Moslems are frequently condemned as heretics by Islamic radicals in Saudi Arabia, it's quite possible that  the Baath and Saudi radicals were responsible for al-Hakim's murder.

There were no US casualties in the last 48 hours, and in the last 24 hours, US troops conducted 1,475 patrols and 21 raids (which detained 125 suspects.) But there are still 12-15 attacks a day on coalition troops. These attacks tend to be inept, and often result in attackers being killed or captured. This constant supply of prisoners provides information on what is causing the attacks. There are several different groups (listed in order of prominence); Baath Party loyalists, Islamic radicals (mostly foreign), al Qaeda member and Iraqi nationalists. The coalition isn't releasing much detail on these interrogations, as this information is used to develop leads and arrest more members and leaders of these groups. 

 

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