Iraq: February 27, 2004

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It is believed that the pro-Saddam forces are falling apart, after taking major hits with the capture of Saddam and most of his key henchmen, plus the disruption of the cash flow to Saddam's loyalists. A lot of Iraqis, nearly all Sunni Arabs, still openly praise Saddam and demand that he be restored to power. Given these attitudes, it's no surprise that there are still Iraqis willing to attack coalition forces, especially if there's a fee of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars involved. But most of the attacks are remote control roadside bombs (over 90 percent of them fail), or hit and run ambushes. Iraqis do not want to take on American soldiers, because the U.S. troops tend to be well prepared and full of surprises (like a helicopter gunship popping up out of nowhere, or American snipers suddenly opening fire on Iraqi ambushers.) The suicide attacks are organized by Ansar al Islam (an al Qaeda-like operation run by Islamic radical Kurds) in the north and several al Qaeda groups in the south run (loosely) by Jordanian Abu Mussab Zarqawi. Ansar is given logistical and other support by Islamic conservatives in Iran. The al Qaeda operations are aided by Syria. Saudi Arabia is openly hunting and fighting al Qaeda. Jordan has never tolerated support for terrorists. As a result of this, diplomatic pressure is being directed at Syria and Iran to shut down their support for terrorism in Iraq. At the same time, Iraqis are aware of this foreign support, and are equally ticked off. Note that Syria and Iran have long been seen, by Iraqis, as dangerous enemies of Iraq. Iran and Iraq have been enemies for centuries. Iran has long considered Iraq a part of Iran, and quite over over the past few thousand years, it was. Syria has, for just as long, been a commercial and political rival with Baghdad and the people living in the fertile Tigris-Euphrates river valley. In this part of the world, people tend to like their grudges well aged.

 

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