Iraq: October 28, 2004

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For the first time, British troops (an infantry battalion) is moving north into the Sunni Arab area, to provide more muscle for a showdown with Sunni Arab and al Qaeda gangs in that area. The British are moving into Babil province, a violent area south of Baghdad, which was swept by American troops in the last few weeks and is now being attended to by civil affairs troops. The American combat troops are being moved to other Sunni Arab areas, while the British will provide security south of Baghdad. The Sunni Arab (mainly Baath Party diehards) and al Qaeda forces are desperate and are becoming increasingly brutal against Iraqis, particularly Sunni Arabs who join the security forces. Baath cannot get back into power as long as Iraqi troops and police are operating. Baath and al Qaeda have a combat advantage, as Sunni Arab monopolized senior military and police jobs for decades, leaving the new Iraqi security forces with a shortage of experienced commanders. Al Qaeda, of course, as plenty of volunteers for suicide bomb attacks. But while the Iraqi security forces are getting killed, and often break and run, they keep coming. The alternative is another dictatorship.

 

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