Iraq: July 5, 2004

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Over the weekend, months of investigations and analysis paid off when a "car bomb" factory was found south of Baghdad. Four cars were in the process of being equipped for suicide bomb attacks. Some $9,000 in cash, assault rifles and much bomb making materials (used for roadside bombs) were seized. Nearly sixty people were arrested, in several locations, and many documents were seized. It's known that a few resistance "cells" are causing most of the damage. The bomb factory raided is thought to have been responsible for some twenty percent of the car bomb attacks in the last few months. Hunt down the cells, seize their bomb making materials and arrest their trained personnel, and the number attacks decline. Such raids have caused the number of daily attacks against coalition forces to drop from a high of about a hundred in May, to about two dozen currently.

The same police and operations research techniques used to catch Saddam are being used to track down the bomb factories and key people involved in the bombings and terrorist attacks against pro-government Iraqis. A lot of these technologies are being turned over to the Iraqi police, as there are Iraqi investigation teams that are capable, and trustworthy enough, to handle it. The Iraqi police are also getting thousands of protective vests, helmets and other combat equipment, which allows them to deal with heavily armed opposition. American, other foreign instructors can be seen putting Iraqi police through combat and other drills throughout the Sunni Arab areas. 

The new government is considering a carrot and stick approach to the armed opposition by considering the  offer of an amnesty. Coalition troops have killed thousands of opposition fighters, and made it clear that, whenever it comes to a fight, the opposition will lose big time. But the government also knows that the fighting will destroy much property and kill many civilians. This is because the opposition fighters deliberately fight from houses with civilians still in them, or use civilians as human shields. This does not make the opposition fighters very popular with the average Iraqi, but many of the opposition fighters are former Saddam enforcers who are used to abusing, and being feared by, Iraqis. By offering an amnesty, many of the fighters could be persuaded to give up the violence, and then there would be fewer hard core gunmen to kill. 

 

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