Iraq: June 5, 2005

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A government research center has compiled statistics on the effects of terrorist violence in the past two years. The most telling statistic is that 83 percent of the Iraqis killed in the last 18 months have been Shia Arabs (who make up 60 percent of the population.) Most of the remaining dead were Sunni Arabs (20 percent of the population). The Kurds (most of the remaining 20 percent of the population), have protected themselves via a large militia and enthusiastic participation in the police and security forces. Many of the police commandoes you see all over Iraq are Kurds. 

Releasing these statistics sends a message to the Sunni Arabs; we're not going to put up with Sunni Arab support of terrorism much longer. Up until now, the government has played down the number of Sunni Arab terrorist attacks on Shia Arabs. No longer, and  Sunni Arab leaders are complaining of death squads assassinating Sunni Arab religious leaders who have been outspoken in their hatred for Shias. Preaching against Shia "heretics" is a coded way of supporting al Qaeda and the restoration of Sunni Arab rule in Iraq. Most Sunni Arab leaders have already gotten the message; participate in a democratic Iraq, or face the wrath of the Kurds and Shia Arab majority population you have tormented for so long. Iraq doesn't want to lose its Sunni Arabs, for they comprise the majority of college trained professionals, experienced government officials and military and police officers. But if the Sunni Arab support for terror continues, the Shia Arab and Kurdish politicians won't be able to stop the retribution. Sort of the dark side of democracy

Out in western Iraqi, 55 kilometers west of Fallujah, Iraqi soldiers and U.S. Marines found a huge underground bunker system. Over 130,000 square feet in size, parts were air conditioned, and, the presence of fresh food in the kitchen area, indicates it was recently abandoned. Much equipment was left behind, including working, and charged, cell phones. Entrance was via a trap door, hidden beneath a freezer in a building standing in the middle of the desert. The bunker system was one of many built by Saddam, and not revealed, or found, when Saddam fell. This one was built into a rock quarry, which made it easy to hide the construction effort.  The operation, west of Baghdad, that found this bunker system, also found fifty other weapons caches and hideouts. 

The week long Iraqi operation in and around Baghdad was a big success. Over 700 arrests were made, and there was a dramatic drop in terror attacks inside the city. There was also a noticeable change  in attitude by Sunni Arab leaders in Baghdad, who now have to deal with a non-Sunni Arab government that has obviously put together an effective police force, and growing professional army. This is the kind of armed force that Sunni Arabs used for decades to rule Iraq. Now the Shia Arabs have it, and are using it. Time to make a deal.

 

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