August 21, 2004


It’s more of a civil war than a rebellion, and one the government wants to resolve with as little bloodshed as possible. With enough well trained troops, the government could round up a lot of the looted weapons, arrest known Sunni Arab troublemakers and shut the rebellion down. That’s because, unlike the two previous rebellions, the current one involves only a small fraction of the population. Most Shias are not interested in any more fighting, none of the Kurds are, and a majority of the Sunnis are not disposed towards violence either. There are also over a thousand hostile Sunni Arabs coming in from other Arab countries, and some hostile Shia from Iran.

After over a year of fighting this “rebellion,”, U.S. combat deaths are less than 600, Iraqi and other coalition forces have suffered about as many. The rebels have lost over 10,000 dead. The rebellion isn’t over yet because, unlike the earlier ones, the rebels are so outnumbered, they cannot fight battles. In 1920 and 1941, large groups of armed Iraqis would confront British troops, in addition to guerilla attacks by small groups. The current hostilities are a very lopsided civil war, with over 90 percent of the population on one side. The Sunni Arabs fight on partly because they fear war crimes trials for atrocities committed when they served Saddam, and partly because they really believe that Iraq can’t do without them. The foreign terrorists fight because of the non-Moslem foreigners, and later will fight because Iraq will be seen as not Islamic enough because of cooperation with infidels (non-Moslems).

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