Iraq: November 23, 2004

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Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi was recently spotted near Kirkuk, 260 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. Al Zarqawi had to go somewhere, and with a $25 million price on his head, many Iraqis are more than happy to let the police know where the Jordanian terrorist is. Al Qaeda is very unpopular in Iraq, mainly because most of the victims of al Qaeda attacks have been Iraqi civilians. Coalition troops offer smaller rewards for lesser information, like al Zarqawi being seen traveling in an ambulance south of Kirkuk, and possibly wounded. Money is a powerful weapon in Iraq, and has been used lavishly by the deposed Baath party officials who are directing the anti-government forces. Al Zarqawi is thought to be receiving some of that money. While al Qaeda and the Baath party rely on lots of volunteers, you still need cash to run a war. Some things, and some people, have to be paid for. For the last 18 months, coalition intelligence forces, and Special Forces units, have been developing informer networks. Tips from informants inside Fallujah were responsible for the rapid progress of the coalition attack, and the failure of many of the defenders ambushes and boob-traps. Now the coalition money is being spent all over central Iraq. With nearly 2,500 anti-government gunmen dead or captured in Fallujah, those who fled are shorthanded, out in the open, and a source of quick money for sharp eyed Iraqis. 

 

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