Fewer Iraqis, More Foreigners Fighting U.S. in Iraq
General John Abizaid speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN yesterday said that the number of Iraqis fighting the U.S. has decreased in the past months. This decrease, says Abizaid, means that a larger percentage of the insurgency is now composed of foreign fighters.The American Forces Press Service quotes Abizaid as saying, "The terrorist groups such as that led by Abu Musab al Zarqawi continue to be very dangerous." However, “Many of the former Baathist criminals, who know they won’t have an opportunity to participate in the political future of the country, are continuing to fight,” the general said. (AFPS) The elections of Jan. 30, though, has encouraged Iraqis and the performance of the Iraqi security forces in those elections also is a cause for hope. “Certainly it’s better since the election,” Abizaid said. “I think continued military operations and continuing strengthening of the Iraqi security forces will make it better still.” (AFPS) Abizaid then pointed the finger of blame squarely at Syria and Iran. “Their security services can find those facilitation cells; they can dismantle them,” Abizaid said. “And they can certainly go after the people we have identified by name that are former members of the regime that are coordinating actions inside Syria. I won’t go so far as to say that these groups have the active support of the Syrian government, but the Syrians certainly aren’t doing enough to shut off their support for the insurgency.” (AFPS) "We know that Iranian intelligence services people were involved with Muqtada al-Sadr during the uprisings back in April,” he said, “and then again in November (Iranian operatives) showed themselves in the Najaf area.” (AFPS) Unsurprisingly, Arabic news sources have spun the General's words to mean that the absolute number of foreign fighters have increased. A clear sign that the strength of the insurgency is growing. However, the General clearly indicated that the overall strength of the insurgency has fallen since the election.
Posted by: Collin Baber at March 29, 2005 04:29 PM
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