Iraq: October 3, 2003

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Attacks against American troops have increased, to about 15-20 a day. This is resulting in 3-6 American troops killed and another 40 wounded each week. But at the sane time, more of the attackers have been killed or captured, even though the attackers appear to be better trained. Interrogations of prisoners reveal that most of the attackers are Iraqis hired to make attacks. Iraqi "recruiters" have been going around Sunni Arab neighborhoods openly offering $500-$5,000 for various terrorist services (collecting information, acting as a look out and actually planting bombs or attacking with RPGs and assault rifles). With an unemployment rate of over 40 percent and a good monthly wage being about a hundred dollars, these offers are attractive. The recruiters appear to be Baath Party officials. The Baath Party ran Iraq for over three decades, mostly under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. Baath stole hundreds of billions of dollars from the Iraqi people and government, and a lot of this money is still out there. Coalition troops have already seized over a billion dollars in cash in raids on Baath targets. Dozens of Baath leaders have been arrested, and documents have been captured providing the names of many others. This kind of war can go on for years, until most of the Baath money men are captured or driven out of the country. This will happen more quickly once Iraqi troops and police are doing most of the policing and searching for the Baath Party members. This is why so much effort has gone into selecting and training new soldiers and police as quickly as possible. A major problem is not training, but the endemic corruption. Even with the screening and training, many of the new policemen have been caught shaking down citizens for bribes and this is causing some unrest. The coalition is pursuing and prosecuting the corrupt officers, which is a rather unique event in Iraqi history. 

Captured Baath Party officials indicate that the Baath believes it can regain power if it can keep Iraq unsafe for foreigners and Iraqis who oppose the Baath. So far, this has only worked in Sunni Arab areas. Sunni Arabs are about twenty percent of the population and have always been the main support of the Baath.

 

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