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Iraq News (The Not Good Kind) Flies Below The Radar Too...

The previous post highlighted good news in Iraq. There's plenty of bad news too...

It appears that the suicide bomber in the attack on an American military installation in Mosul last month was Saudi medical student.

CAIRO (AP) - The suicide bomber who killed 22 people when he blew himself up in a US mess hall in Mosul, Iraq, was a Saudi medical student, an Arab newspaper reported Monday.

Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat identified him as 20-year-old Ahmed Said Ahmed al-Ghamdi, citing unnamed friends of the man's father. The friends said members of an Iraqi resistance group contacted al-Ghamdi's father to tell him his son was the suicide bomber who carried out the Dec. 21 attack, the deadliest on an American installation in Iraq.

The head of Iraq's national intelligence agency estimates that the insurgency is anywhere from 2 to 10 times larger than US estimates.
BAGHDAD, Jan 3 (AFP) - Iraq's insurgency counts more than 200,000 active fighters and sympathisers, the country's national intelligence chief told AFP, in the bleakest assessment to date of the armed revolt waged by Sunni Muslims.

"I think the resistance is bigger than the US military in Iraq. I think the resistance is more than 200,000 people," Iraqi intelligence service director General Mohamed Abdullah Shahwani said in an interview ahead of the January 30 elections.

Shahwani said the number includes at least 40,000 hardcore fighters but rises to more than 200,000 members counting part-time fighters and volunteers who provide rebels everything from intelligence and logistics to shelter.

While the attacks on US forces and Iraqis generate the headlines, attacks on the Iraqi oil infrastructure are where the money is.
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Insurgent attacks on Iraq's vital oil industry have cost the country nearly eight billion dollars in lost export revenue since March 2003, Oil Minister Thamer Abbas Ghadban said yesterday.

"We want to tell the Iraqi people that there is an all-out war against the country's oil infrastructure," Ghadban told reporters as he toured the capital's Dura refinery, which came under mortar fire last week.

Ghadban estimated lost export revenue from sabotage at about eight billion dollars since the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which sits on the world's second largest reserves of crude oil.

"Exports are now limited only to the south, there are no exports in the north," he added. Oil exports from southern terminals in Basra are averaging 1.8 million barrels per day.

This isn't actually bad new, just interesting news...

BEIRUT: -A videotape found in a pile of documents in Baghdad following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime shows a former manager of the Al-Jazeera satellite channel thanking one of Saddam's sons for his support and telling him that "Al-Jazeera is your channel," the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.

According to Asharq al-Awsat's report, the tape of the March 13, 2000, meeting shows former Al-Jazeera manager Mohammed Jassem al-Ali telling Uday Saddam Hussein, "Al-Jazeera is your channel," and Uday recalls that he proposed "some ideas" in previous meetings that led to "some changes" in political coverage, including the introduction of new hosts on Al-Jazeera programs.

Al-Jazeera dismissed al-Ali from his post shortly after the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. No reason was given for the dismissal, but many in the Arab press speculated that al-Ali was receiving support from Saddam's government.


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Comments (11)

In line with the Al-Jazeera... (Below threshold)
julie:

In line with the Al-Jazeera story: It always surprised me that when it was revealed that CNN was soft pedaling the torture and abuses in Iraq to protect their own people, there wasn't more of an outcry.

So, we are to strictly coun... (Below threshold)

So, we are to strictly count U.S. military boots on the ground, but the opposing figure is allowed to include anyone providing intelligence, logistics or shelter? Apples to apples, please. I'll take the 40,000 figure when being compared to the actual U.S. military presence.

It would also be interesting to see how Mr. Shahwani breaks down those 40,000 hardcore fighters: Sunnis located in the triangle; Saudis; Iranians; former Baathists. He says that Baathists make up 20,00 of them, but does that refer to active fighters or the less-brave logistics and intelligence people? Is his big number counting people who live in Sunni areas who would otherwise support Iraqi democracy but who inform out of mortal fear?

This article smells like AFP. I like how they refer to the "might" of the insurgency, which seems to have been spectacularly ineffective so far at accomplishing its goals.

I was wondering why when I ... (Below threshold)
Cheryl:

I was wondering why when I heard that the suicide bomber was a Saudi Arab, Fox didn't make more of it. They just breezed right over that bit of info.

Had me upset -- and they wonder why we (want to) profile - geez

2nd item today had me upset -- the Swedish comparing their horrible loss to 9/11 --
Tsunami -- horrendous NATURAL disaster
9/11 -- Arab caused, horrendous attack

Announce that you are terri... (Below threshold)

Announce that you are terribly outnumbered, outgunned and losing the war, how Goddam stupid can you get? With an Iraqi "intelligence chief" like that how can the bad guys lose? The Iraqis have been a terrible disappointment in their fight against the radicals, and with morons like this at the helm I can see why.

Good post Kevin. I agree th... (Below threshold)
Mark Buehner:

Good post Kevin. I agree there is tons of good news unreported, but if we dont get an accurate glimpse of the whole picture we are stumbling blindly.

We have never sealed the borders and in fact never really made a realistic attempt to. Too few troops, and a lack of political will. That was our decision, we live with the consequences.

Sorry, my friends in countr... (Below threshold)
leaddog2:

Sorry, my friends in country tell me that these "Sunni" numbers are VERY MUCH "hype". The True Sunni numbers are much, much less. Iran and Syrian military and intelligence people, on the other hand.....h-m-m-m, well, we will see!

Cheryl:I think the... (Below threshold)
Simon:

Cheryl:

I think the correlation that Sweden is trying to make to 11 Sept is the massive loss of life (the largest tragedy in the history of the country) - and how the society has to deal with its grief and loss of people. Though no terrorists are involved, the shock is just as dumbfounding as 11 Sept. With a nearly 3000 people missing, the loss of life is nearly the same as the two twin towers. Coming from a national population of about 9 million it's even more impactful.

11 Sept has been turned into a metaphorical tool on three accounts: the grieving scale, the immensity scale, and the asinine scale. Sweden is batting 67%, which is better than some examples over the last 3 years where 11 Sept was cited.

That 200,000 may sound like... (Below threshold)

That 200,000 may sound like a lot, but that's in a population of over 25 million. That comes out to about 0.985% "fighters and sympathisers." Less than 1% of a population does not constitute a substantial opposition. 80%+ of the country was opposed to Saddam for 20 years, and nothing ever came of it. 0.985% doesn't worry me. The only thing that could possibly defeat the U.S. military in Iraq is the pinko commie opposition to freedom back home.

Outnumbered? Give me a break. The U.S. hasn't fought a war in which we were NOT outnumbered since...well...Spanish-American War, 1898? Get a grip, people. Our military is accustomed to being outnumbered. That's what they train for.

Actually, the fact that the... (Below threshold)

Actually, the fact that the bomber was no an Iraqi but a Saudi fits in with my own understanding of the situation. We are not fighting an insurgency, we are fighting foreign terrorists. Ahmed Said Ahmed al-Ghamdi would much rather had a glorious death like Mohamed Atta, flying another plane into another building in another American city.
The War on Terror has a great deal to go, but judging by the quality of the operations, al Qaeda is losing badly in everything except cheap publicity.

As a balance to the numbers... (Below threshold)
Krusty Krab:

As a balance to the numbers of insurgents, there is this story on the Iraq National Guard starting mass arrests of suspected insurgents:

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7218119

Note this is from Reuters, rather than the eternally depressed Allied Press.

I suspect, in the command & control part of the terrorist organization, that there are no more than a few thousand individuals. I would not be surprised to learn than many or most of these are "former" Ba'athiswith a majority being former generals, intelligence officers or Ba'athist party officials.

While I have little doubt that many terrorists (aka the people doing the shooting) are foreigners, it seems logical that the insurgency would not have the traction it does without aid from Iraqi sympathizers. I regard these as mostly people who have lost power who are still clinging to the belief that a return to power is possible.

"... the country's national... (Below threshold)
BR:

"... the country's national intelligence chief told AFP, in the bleakest assessment to date..."

I agree with commenters above questioning the sources:

AFP = Agence FRANCE Presse
Iraq's national intelligence chief... Baghdad Bob?

If (big IF) AFP is reporting him verbatim, then what kind of an Intelligence Chief is this? If such numbers were true, it belongs in his secret report to his boss, not advertised to the world. What other purpose can such a report have other than to attempt to demoralize his own side? Whose side is he on?

Reminds me of the aborted October surprise planned by the lefties in the CIA - to issue and leak a doom-and-gloom NIE Report, as reported by Jack Wheeler & Worldnetdaily.com.




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