Sunday, February 13, 2005

Two steps forward for each step back

There is no doubt that the terrorists are going to continue to achieve "victories" if they are defined as, for example, blowing up Iraqis at a hospital. But there is growing evidence that 2005 is going to continue to be a bad year generally for the "insurgency" because the overwhelming majority of Iraqis are fed up.
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 12 - A suicide car bomber killed at least 17 Iraqis at the entrance of a hospital south of Baghdad, and a judge who had investigated crimes in Saddam Hussein's government was gunned down outside his home in Basra by masked men riding a motorcycle, as Iraq's insurgency continued to intensify since elections two weeks ago.

From Monday to Saturday, bombers and gunmen have left at least 108 people dead. The attacks have been at or near a Shiite mosque, a hospital, police facilities, a bakery in a Shiite neighborhood and in front of Iraqis' houses.

The motives and strategies of the shadowy and probably fragmented insurgency are never certain, but Iraqi security officials said Saturday that its leaders might have been surprised by the recent willingness of Sunni political and religious figures to join discussions over the formation of a new Iraqi government. . .

"What is happening is that, having failed to stop people from going to the polls, they are trying to create the impression of a civil war," said Sabah Kadhim Jumah, a senior official at the Interior Ministry.

American military commanders express cautious optimism that the underlying trends indicate trouble for the insurgents. . .

With more tip-offs about insurgent hide-outs and weapons caches reaching American and Iraqi forces, the commanders say, and with more than 2,500 suspected insurgents or collaborators captured in a month of intensified raids across the country that preceded the Jan. 30 elections, the insurgents are finding it harder to sustain their campaign. . .

General Chiarelli said his commanders, with 35,000 troops across the city, are reporting that many more Iraqis are now willing to give them information about insurgents in their neighborhoods, and that they were seeing a widespread feeling that control of the country's affairs was passing into Iraqi hands.