Iraq: November 19, 2004


While the anti-government forces have been crushed in Fallujah, and in other cities where they have come out to fight, they have continued to be successful fighting the Iraqi police. Because the police are hired locally, many of them are either loyal to the Baath Party or pro-Sunni tribal or religious leaders. Bribes and threats are also used to make police support the anti-government forces. Bringing in men from other parts of the country to be police creates problems with these "foreigners" (even though they are Iraqis) not being accepted by the locals. Attacks continue on police stations, including kidnapping of policemen, as well as killing, policemen who cannot be bribed or otherwise intimidated. Yet Iraqis continue to apply for jobs in the police  and security forces. Despite the continued media (mostly Sunni Arab outfits from outside Iraq) support for anti-government forces, inside Iraq, public opinion is growing increasingly hostile towards the Sunni Arab minority. This is a problem for the government, as it can lead to civil war, because the majority Shia Arabs and Kurds have an ancient hatred for the Sunni Arabs and would not mind a bloody campaign against the entire Sunni Arab community. But the continued Sunni Arab attacks, which mostly kill innocent civilians, increase the risks of large scale retribution by the majority population. 


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