Iraq: October 15, 2004

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 Terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi took credit for doing the seemingly impossible, getting two suicide bombers into the coalition "Green Zone" area of Baghdad. This is a four square mile area in the center of the city, surrounded by a fifteen foot wall, barbed wire and, until yesterday, impenetrable security. The two suicide bombers were apparently Jordanian, and details of how they got in with their bombs (which they apparently carried with them), were not released. Many of the security measures for the Green Zone are kept secret, lest they provide terrorists with useful information. Actually, it's pretty amazing that no other suicide bombers have penetrated the Green Zone in the 18 months it has existed. Yesterday's attack killed five and wounded twenty. Over 10,000 people enter and leave the Green Zone daily, and anyone going in has to pass multiple security checks. That security system will be revised, after it is discovered what went wrong. There have been hundreds of attempts to penetrate Green Zone security, many of them quite clever and determined, and few of them talked about openly. 

Meanwhile, along the Syrian border, proof that Syria is harboring forces hostile to the Iraqi government becomes more evident as the number of 82mm mortar shells are fired, from inside Syria, against American and Iraqi troops positions inside Iraq. The Syrians have promised to help tighten security on their border with Iraq, and these mortar attacks will increase pressure to do so.

The government has given the various tribal and religious leaders in Fallujah until the end of the month to hand over the foreigners living among them. This apparently includes terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and that won't be easy.  Al Zarqawi apparently has his headquarters in Fallujah, along with several hundred followers. Al Zarqawi has money, guns and determination. Few Iraqis in Fallujah want to confront him. The government has received regular reports from inside Fallujah about where al Zarqawi's men are staying, and this results in daily attacks, usually  with 500 pound JDAM smart bombs, or guided missiles. Al Zarqawi's force has lost over a hundred dead in the last month, and the government wants the Sunni leadership in Fallujah to prove their loyalty by providing men with guns to help the army and police regain control of a town that al Zarqawi considers his own "Green Zone.". As American and Iraqi ground patrols raid closer to the center of the city of 300,000, the government is raising the pressure on the Sunni leadership to prove their loyalty.

 

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