Over 6,000 Killed in July-August;
75% Sunnis Support Insurgency;
50 Killed on Weds. including 2 GIs
Two US soldiers were announced killed on Wednesday, as the US military admitted that attacks against US personnel have risen during the past month. Typically about 70 percent of the roadside bombings in Iraq are aimed at US troops.
Altogether, Reuters reports about 50 dead in civil war violence. 35 bodies were found in Baghdad on Wednesday. Two significant bombings were:
‘ BAGHDAD – A suicide truck bomber blew up his explosives near a police checkpoint in the southern Doura district of Baghdad, killing seven police commandos and wounding 11 people, including three civilians, an Interior Ministry source said.
SAMARRA – A suicide car bomber rammed his car into the house of Khalid al-Fulalli, a Sunni leader of the Bazi tribe, in Samarra, 100 km (62 miles) north of Baghdad, police and a Reuters cameraman at the scene said. Police major Saadoun Mohammed said that one child was killed and 26 people, mostly women and children, were wounded in the attack. ‘
(The Samarra attack killed 6-year-old child and may have wounded 60 members of the sheikh’s family, mostly women and children. This sort of thing is why I couldn’t understand the US announcing on Tuesday that it was turning Salahuddin Province, where Samarra is located, over to the Iraqi 4th Division. I presume that the sheikh was viewed by the guerrillas as being too friendly to the Americans.)
This account in the LA Times of everyday life in Baghdad explains how dangerous it would be just to help a wounded person lying in the street.
The United Nations, which has access to statistics from Iraqi morgues and the Ministery of Health, reported that 6,599 persons were killed in political violence in Iraq in July and August–a 13% increase over the previous two months. Reuters says:
‘ The July total of 3,590 deaths was unprecedented, it said, while the August figure of 3,009, though lower, was also among the worst yet.
In its previous report two months ago, it gave a combined figure of 5,818 for the two months of May and June. The latest two-month figure shows an increase of more than 13 percent over that number, which it described as a sharp surge at the time . . .
“Bodies found at the Medico-legal Institute often bear signs of severe torture including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin, broken bones, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails.” ‘
The US Department of Defense has done some opinion polling that indicates that 3/4s of Iraqi Sunnis now support what the Pentagon calls the “insurgency”. When the DoD started doing polling on the subject in 2003, they found that 14 percent of Sunni Arabs supported the insurgency. If there are 5 million Sunni Arabs, let us say that 1.5 million are less than 15 years of age. Of the 3.5 million left, half are women and less likely to actually engage in violence, though they might offer support for it. So that is 1.75 million men. At 75%, that is 1.3 million male supporters of the guerrilla movement.
Of the 147,000 US troops in Iraq, a very large number of which now seem to be in and around Baghdad itself, I don’t know exactly how many are fighters. The traditional rule of thumb is 10%, but I read somewhere that the percentage is much higher in this war. A reader who served over there challenged the latter assertion and said that no, it is just 10%.
If we really just have 14,700 fighters facing 1.3 million Sunni guerrilla supporters, it isn’t any mystery why things in Iraq are as they are and why Gen. Casey openly admits that we are not there to win, just to keep a lid on. I can’t imagine how they could hope even to keep a lid on. Given the figures released today, I’d say it isn’t much of a lid (though remember that the death figures could easily be twice or ten times as bad.)
The other thing to remember is that the Sunni Arab areas have been under US military occupation for the past over 3 years, and that this vast increase in support for the guerrilla movement is therefore in some large part the fault of bad counter-insurgency tactics by the US military. They were all reading that stupid, racist tract, Raphael Patai’s The Arab Mind, which says you can control Arabs by humiliating them. What Patai didn’t tell them is that yes, you can for a short while, but then in order to recover his self-respect, the humiliated Arab has to spend the rest of his life trying to kill you, and so do his 5 brothers and 25 cousins.
There are probably also at least a couple million Shiite mem who support guerrilla action to get the multinational forces out of their country.
A UAE newspaper reports that the vast majority of guerrilla fighters in Iraq are not international terrorists but rather Iraq Sunni Arabs worried about their position in the new Iraq.
Iranian shelling of PEJAK terrorist bases in Iraqi Kurdistan has driven 900 Iraqi families from their homes along the border, leaving them in dire straits.