Iraq: February 18, 2004

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The coalition indicated the extent to which their intelligence work had uncovered the organization and leadership of the armed resistance when they announced a new list of rewards for information about people wanted for crimes against Iraqis and coalition forces. At the top of the list were the remaining ten members of the "55 Most Wanted" (the deck of cards.) This group is now called the "strategic blacklist." A top leader of the Sunni Arab resistance, Mohammed Yunis, has a million dollars on his head now. For another eleven former Saddam henchmen, $200,000 each. And for twenty resistance leaders, $50,000 each. This is in addition to the $10 million reward offered last week for key al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Ibrahim Izzat al-Douri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Information is not given about Iraqis who have already collected rewards, in order to protect them from retaliation. It is known that an Iraqi collected a million dollar reward last month for turning in a senior Baath party leader. Every week, thousands of dollars in rewards are paid for tips.

Military intelligence training does include how to develop informant networks, for these are used even during conventional wars. The informant network in Iraq has grown in size and capability month by month. But there is a problem with sharing the coalition informants with the new Iraqi police force. Iraqi civilians don't trust their own police, so the new police force has to develop it's own informant networks. In doing this, they have the advantage of knowing the language and culture. But the police are six months behind the coalition troops and are just now catching up. But this is one reason the resistance (Baath Party, foreign Arabs and al Qaeda) are attacking the cops. The police can find the resistance members more quickly, often by noticing someone who speaks or acts differently in a particular neighborhood (there are many local pronunciations of words in Iraq which identify where you are from). Al Qaeda is also still trying to drive away the smaller coalition forces, as with a failed car bomb attack on a Polish base south of Baghdad today. This attack still left 11 Iraqis dead, and over a hundred Iraqis and soldiers wounded.

U.S. combat casualties so far are 3,206, of which seventeen percent are dead. 

 

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