Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from behind the lines

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, the only correspondent reporting regularly from behind the country's sectarian battle lines, reveals how the Sunni insurgency has changed

Summary from Informed Comment

The Insurgency has turned into a battle not so much against US troops as against Shiite militias, which seem increasingly to be winning the battle for Baghdad.

*The disciplined anti-American insurgency among Sunni Arabs of 2004-2005 has deteriorated into youth street gangs mainly killing and robbing Shiites.

*Sunni guerrillas now need more weaponry than they can loot from old Baath munitions depots and are smuggling it from the weapons given by the US to the Iraqi goverment through graft.

*Sunni Arab guerrillas are blaming the strategy of attacking Shiites solely on "al-Qaeda." [This is not entirely honest. Baathists have attacked Shiites, too.]

*Militant Sunni Arabs of a fundamentalist cast still want to fight a two-pronged war against the Americans and the Shiites. Some dissent and think they should make up with the Americans so as to protect themselves from the Shiites.

*The guerrilla groups are increasingly based in neighborhoods rather than in city-wide cells.

* Contributions from businessmen, neighborhood levies by guerrilla groups, and looting and theft (especially from Shiites) are major sources of income for them.

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