Iraq: October 18, 2004

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 Local leaders in Fallujah insist that  terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi is no longer in town. but many of his supporters are. Government and American troops continue to fight their way towards the center of the city. Pro-al Zarqawi  web sites report that a senior aide of al Zarqawi was killed in the bombing. Car bomb attacks continue to be directed at government officials and police. But there is no shortage of people eager for those jobs. Despite this violence, it's safer being in the police, than with the people attacking the police.

Anti-government forces are taking a pounding, and are believed to have lost over 15,000 dead in the last 17 months. That's more than five times the government and coalition losses.  About 80 percent of the dead are Sunnis, who comprise 20 percent of the population, and ran the country for centuries until Saddam was deposed and democracy now threatens to end the Sunni dominance. The only other threat to that is Shia religious leaders, like Moqtada al Sadr, who wants to establish a Shia religious dictatorship. Al Qaeda, which al Zarqawi now says he supports, wants to establish a Sunni religious dictatorship. Many people, inside and outside the Middle East, believe that Arabs, particularly Iraqis, are not ready for democracy, and would be better off under another dictator. Saddam's followers, al Qaeda and al Sadr all agree.

 

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