Iraq: October 19, 2004

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 Fallujah's leaders refuse to take on the terrorists in their city, although there is no shortage of people willing to provide information on where the terrorists are storing weapons or gathering for meetings or sleeping. This has made the al Qaeda men more paranoid and violent, and more likely to grab someone, accuse them of spying, and kill them. But the terrorists have learned that it's not a good idea to do this to a local, for if the victim belongs to a powerful tribe, the result could be several truckloads of armed men coming after you looking for vengeance. So many of the victims are just foreigners who look suspicious. 

The government is expanding the AK-47s-for-cash program nationwide. Previously, varying amounts were paid for heavy weapons (12.7mm machine-guns, mortars, missiles and rockers). But recently, cash was offered for AK-47s (pistols and other rifles and assault weapons) in the Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad (as the al Sadr militia was disarmed.) One AK-47 per household is still allowed per household, so there were sill be plenty of weapons around. But fewer weapons on the street does reduce the chance of some young hothead using them. 

Raids continue on towns around Baghdad, especially in the heavily Sunni areas west of the city. As the number of Iraqi police and security troops increases, so does the amount of information on where anti-government gangs are hiding out. The raids are bringing in large numbers of arrests, and quantities of weapons and bomb making equipment. The Iraqis feel a great urgency to shut down the suicide bomb operations, especially since the targets are almost always Iraqi police and civilians. 

 

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