Iraq: November 17, 2003

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Operation "Ivy Cyclone II" began with American mechanized units moving and artillery being fired. In the last 24 hours, 99 Iraqis were arrested for participating in attacks on coalition troops. In the past, such use of force was avoided. Special Forces were used to make a handful of raids on targets that there was a lot of good information on. The new policy turns regular troops lose on a larger number of suspected hideouts. While this angers more Iraqis, it is turning up more illegal weapons, and people who are using them against coalition troops. Nearly all of this activity is against Sunni Arabs, as they are the source of nearly most the attacks, with non-Iraqi Arabs being responsible for most of the remainder. 

The US has set up an employment agency to find jobs for Iraqi scientists and engineers who worked (or could have worked) on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. A similar program was used to remove temptations from Russian weapons scientists after the end of the Cold War. Not everyone will get a job, but enough will be put to work at non-military projects to reduce the chances of Iraq restarting their weapons programs, or any other nation hiring these people for weapons work. 

There is still a group of  people in the north who are making attacks on pipelines in northern Iraq. While the oil facilities in the south have been quiet, in the north there are not only lots of pro-Saddam Sunni  Arabs, but also a mlange of  different groups (Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Turks and Christians, plus Islamic radicals and some Iranians.) All these groups have ancient grievances against each other. But for the last few centuries, the Sunni Arabs were top dog. No longer, and everyone is maneuvering for a larger piece of the power pie.

Islamic radical groups are publicly taking credit for many of the most spectacular attacks on foreign troops and civilians inside Iraq. Coalition troops have increased patrols along the Syrian border and captured five armed, non-Iraqi Arabs, trying to cross the border.  

 

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