Iraq: August 30, 2004


  Fighting with Shia gunmen in Baghdad, and Sunni gangs in Mosul, left about a dozen dead, and over a hundred wounded in the past 24 hours. American and Iraqi troops are now moving on Sunni warlords in the "Sunni Triangle" northwest of Baghdad. The Sunni minority bitterly resents their loss of power. For centuries, the Sunnis have dominated Iraqi affairs, and now the Shia majority is poised to take control. The interim government, led by a Sunni Arab, has been negotiating with other Sunni Arab leaders to get as many Sunni Arabs as possible to participate in the new government. But many of the Sunni Arab strongmen are hard core (either Saddam diehards or Islamic fundamentalists) and will fight. The government believes that, backed by American troops (who are very efficient at killing the poorly trained and led Iraqi gunmen). Iraqi police and troops can defeat the warlords one by one. The destruction of the Sadr militia in Najaf this month is an example of that. As residents, and journalists, return to Najaf, it becomes clear that the American troops were extremely efficient in killing the Iraqi gunmen, while keeping their casualties down. This, despite the conventional wisdom that urban warfare is bloody and frustrating for the attacker. This is no longer the case. 


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