[Marxism] Guerrilla war spreading

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Nov 29 09:35:18 MST 2003

Boston Globe, Nov. 29, 2003
Guerrilla war in Iraq spreading
US says attacks on rise outside Sunni Triangle
By Bryan Bender, Globe Correspondent, 11/29/2003

WASHINGTON -- The guerrilla war in Iraq has moved steadily beyond the 
so-called Sunni Triangle and into areas of the country once considered 
peaceful, a potentially ominous development for security forces trying to 
restore order in the country.

Since the end of major combat operations on May 1, nearly 40 percent of 
attacks on US and coalition targets have been outside the Sunni Triangle, 
home to many remnants of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime, 
according to internal Defense Department reports obtained by the Globe.

The monthly breakdown is classified, but Defense Department officials 
confirmed that the number of attacks occurring in the far north, south, and 
far western Iraq -- areas outside the Sunni Triangle, which is immediately 
north and west of the capital of Baghdad -- has increased in recent months.

This week alone, two US soldiers were shot, dragged, and hit with rocks in 
the northern city of Mosul and another was killed there yesterday in a 
rocket attack, adding to growing violence in what had been considered a 
relatively stable city.

"We have seen an increase," General Richard B. Myers, the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff chairman, said on Tuesday, referring to the attacks outside the 
triangle, though he described the increase as modest and insisted that 
those attacks were probably due to remnants of Saddam Hussein's government.

US forces have stepped up patrols inside the triangle in recent days, 
hoping to knock out leaders of the insurgency. Myers said military leaders 
are still examining the rate and location of the attacks outside the 
triangle to determine how best to contain them.

"We're still looking at what this means in terms of the strategy of the 
former regime elements that we're up against. How they're tied regionally 
within Iraq and how they're tied nationwide is to be determined," Myers 
said. "We don't have as much insight there as we need, and we're working on 
that insight."

But US intelligence officials said the widening range of attacks could have 
serious implications for US efforts to quell the guerrilla war, turning 
citizens from peaceful areas against the coalition forces if it is unable 
to provide security.

"What I worry about is broader support [among Iraqis] for the insurgent 
guerrilla activity," said a senior US intelligence official who asked not 
to be identified. The official added that most of Iraq so far appears to be 
supportive, or at least tolerant, of the US operation. But "only time will 

The Sunni Triangle is home to most of the country's Sunni Muslims, members 
of Hussein's ethnic group. Southern Iraq, home to the country's majority 
Shi'ite Muslims, and the Kurdish-dominated north have been more receptive 
to the US occupation, but guerrilla attacks in those areas have been 

Since May, when major combat operations were declared over, a total of 
2,227 guerrilla attacks took place in the Sunni Triangle, according to 
figures as of the end of last week. The rest of the country has had 1,416 
attacks, most of them against occupation forces.

The attacks outside the triangle have included the use of small-arms fire, 
rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices, military 
officials said. They have targeted US and coalition troops, but also Iraqi 
security forces and civilians, as well as public infrastructure, such as 
electrical grids and pipelines.

Military analysts said the widening of the location of attacks is 
characteristic of a classic guerrilla campaign, in which insurgents seek to 
destabilize areas of the country that are considered peaceful, slowly 
expanding the war zone until most of the country fears for its security.

The number of attacks in the southeast sector of the country, where the 
Shi'ite Muslim and relatively pro-US city of Basra is located, has doubled 
since August, according to the military's statistics. The exact number of 
those attacks per month is classified, according to a military official.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, speaking with reporters on Tuesday, 
downplayed the significance of the recent spike in attacks in Shi'ite areas.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

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