Iraq: November 22, 2004


Sunni Arab gunmen continue to fight for control of towns and neighborhoods throughout central Iraq. While some gunmen remain in Fallujah, the majority of those who are active are in Baghdad and Mosul. Both of these cities have large Sunni Arab populations. But Mosul has a large Kurdish population, and Baghdad a large number of Shiites. These non-Sunni populations provide endless numbers of  recruits for the army and police. Too many Shia Arab and Kurdish families want revenge on the Sunni Arabs for murder, torture and abuse in the past. While the Sunni Arab thugs have the edge in experience, and reputation, their violence is not overwhelming. The army and police are fighting back, killing and arresting thousands of Sunni Arab gunmen. The Sunni Arabs don't like to dwell on the fact that they are only a fifth of the population, or that they get slaughtered whenever they get into a fight with American troops. Trying to disrupt the January elections is now a major goal for the Sunni Arab extremists. They can do some of that in Sunni Arab areas. But in the next ten weeks, the number of Sunni gunmen available for this may be too low to make much of an impression. The Sunni Arabs are fighting a losing battle. Trying to bring back the good old days of Sunni domination will only work if the Shia Arab and Kurd majority is too weak to resist. No wonder the Sunni Arabs hate foreigners so much. 


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