Iraq: July 12, 2004

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The interim government has gotten Syria and Iran to at least say they will do more to control who crosses their borders into Iraq.  The government is also developing an amnesty offer for Sunni Arabs that would encourage many of the current anti-government fighters to give up, and leave the police and army with a smaller number of hard core types to go after. The government is threatening martial law, large scale roundups of suspects, and executions after the amnesty period. The government believes that it has enough support in Sunni Arab areas to have Sunni Arab police and security personnel making the arrests. There is already something of a civil war going on in many Sunni Arab areas. While Fallujah gets most of the publicity, because the Baath Party and al Qaeda gangs dominate, in many other areas, it's not so clear cut who has the edge. Most Sunni Arabs regret losing their privileged position, but they also realize that Saddam Hussein and his supporters were a disaster for the country. Now it is obvious that the majority of the population (60 percent who are Shia Arab and 20 percent Kurd and other minorities), with their coalition troops in support, cannot be suppressed again. At least not until the foreign troops leave. And the majority of Iraqis won't let the foreign troops leave until the Sunni Arabs are disarmed and have convinced the Shia and Kurds that they will no longer be a disruptive and subversive force. It's really pretty simple. Who do you allow to run things in the country; the gangsters and terrorists, or the majority of the population? To that end, the government is urging foreign nations, like the Philippines, who have their citizens kidnapped, not to make deals with the kidnappers. The reasons are obvious, for making a deal just encourages more kidnappings. There will be problems, for there are hard core Sunni Arabs, Islamic radicals and al Qaeda members who will never give up their support for tyranny and violence. But the Iraqi people are getting tired of it, and the new government feels it has the mandate, and the power, for force the final battle.

 

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