Iraq: September 19, 2004


Anti-government forces are desperately trying to shatter the morale of police and reconstruction personnel. But suicide bombing attacks on police facilities, and gun battles against police patrols in Sunni Arab areas have not worked. The police continue to recruit, and police patrols grow larger and more aggressive as they move into Sunni Arab neighborhoods in cities like Baghdad, Kirkuk and Mosul, and arrest known, or suspected, terrorists and armed anti-government activists. There is less aversion, among the majority of Iraqis, to playing rough with the Sunni Arabs who comprise nearly all the anti-government forces. A growing network of informers in Sunni controlled areas provide targets for daily bombing attacks on buildings the anti-government forces are using. The government has said that it will hold national elections, as scheduled, even if voting is not possible in some Sunni Arab areas. It's thought that an 80-90 percent vote is better than a delayed vote. This is because a national vote will be concrete proof, to dubious Shia Arab Iraqis, that Saddam is truly gone, even if thousands of Saddam's thugs are still running around killing people. The vote will also make it clear just how much power the Kurds hold, on a national scale, and get started negotiations to sort out how much autonomy the Kurds will have in a predominately Arab country.


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