Iraq: November 29, 2004


Military and police operations south of Baghdad and up north in Mosul continue. The government is convinced that many Sunni Arab religious leaders have joined with anti-government forces and allowed their mosques to be used as bases for gunmen and terrorists, and is raiding mosques suspected of supporting violence. In Fallujah, 60 of 100 mosques in the city were found to be used for supporting anti-government forces. Since many mosques are large, walled, complexes, they lend themselves to being military bases. Technically, this sort of use is forbidden under Islam, but in times of unrest in Iraq, mosques frequently become centers of military activity. So the government has dropped any pretense of mosques being off-limits. As a result, mosques are now regularly being raided. In southern Baghdad, a mosque was found to house a suicide car bomb workshop, which had seven cars rigged and ready to go. That's a weeks worth of car bomb attacks in Baghdad.

In Mosul, the battle is between the Iraqi security forces and the Sunni Arab terrorists. In the last ten days, about fifty Iraqi soldiers and policemen have been killed, often executed, by Sunni Arab terrorists. Unlike Fallujah, the Sunni Arab gunmen are not doing a "stand and fight," but rather a "hit and run." But they need places to sleep and store their weapons. American and Iraqi intelligence efforts are closing down on these. More and more Kurds, and other non-Arab minorities, are being recruited into the police and army in Mosul. While this angers the Sunni Arabs up there, the non-Arab troops are more persistent, and speak Arabic. As more gunmen are arrested, interrogations provide more information on the anti-government groups. There was also a lot of information, on Mosul rebel groups, obtained from gunmen and documents captured in Fallujah. 


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