Iraq: December 12, 2003

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The pro-Saddam and Islamic radical resistance are being forced to try new tactics because of the rapid American response to each new type of attack. The use of roadside bombs has become much less effective, with some 95 percent of them being discovered and disarmed or destroyed. Sniping attacks continue, but they too often prove fatal to the Iraqi riflemen, as American troops are quick and accurate in returning fire. Mortars and rockets are still popular, but American radar spots the incoming fire and quickly sends out air and ground forces. This forces the Iraqis to fire, quickly and inaccurately, and then run for their lives. Suicide bombings by al Qaeda have run up against the heavy defenses of coalition bases and had little success. Meanwhile, hostility against al Qaeda by many Iraqis has made it possible to locate and arrest or kill many al Qaeda operatives. With all these failures, it is feared that the next tactic to be used will be the assassination of Iraqi officials. This really only works in a few parts of the country, where there are enough Sunni Arabs to provide some kind of a support network. But in places like Baghdad and Mosul, an assassination program could be carried out. The purpose is to discourage Iraqis from working with a new government and give the pro-Saddam a chance to take over. But the chances of Saddam making a comeback are extremely remote. The vast majority of Iraqis want no part of that, and each day more Iraqi soldiers and police enter service. The new police and troops are noticeably different from the Saddam versions. There's a lot of pressure to avoid corruption and brutality against civilians. This has caused many police to get arrested or dismissed. About a third of the recruits in the new army have quit or been dismissed. The American idea of establishing personnel standards and enforcing them is producing more effective police and military units.

 

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