RealNews

Iraq Insurgency Far Larger Than Thought

The Iraq insurgency is far larger than the 5,000 guerrillas previously thought to be at its core, U.S. military officials say, and it’s being led by well-armed Iraqi Sunnis angry at being pushed from power alongside Saddam Hussein. Although U.S. military analysts disagree over the exact size, dozens of regional cells, often led by tribal sheiks and inspired by Sunni Muslim imams, can call upon part-time fighters to boost forces to as high as 20,000 — an estimate reflected in the insurgency’s continued strength after U.S. forces killed as many as 4,000 in April alone. And some insurgents are highly specialized — one Baghdad cell, for instance, has two leaders, one assassin, and two groups of bomb-makers. The developing intelligence picture of the insurgency contrasts with the commonly stated view in the Bush administration that the fighting is fueled by foreign warriors intent on creating an Islamic state.Full Story

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