96% of Suicide Attacks in Iraq by Foreign Terrorists

Major General Mark Lynch reports that suicide bombings are down in Iraq this month, although he expects escalation leading up to the December 15 elections. Most interestingly, though, he claimed that 96 percent of the bombings are done by non-Iraqis.

U.S. general: Suicide attacks down in Iraq (AP)

U.S. and Iraqi operations along the Syrian border have resulted in a significant drop in suicide bombings to only 23 attacks in November, the lowest level in seven months, a U.S. general said. But Maj. Gen. Mark Lynch warned that al-Qaida in Iraq will likely step up attacks in the next two weeks to try to disrupt parliamentary elections on Dec. 15.

U.S. forces have launched a series of major operations in Baghdad and along the Syrian border since late September. Lynch said U.S. force believe al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi funnels most of his recruits through Syria into Iraq along the Euphrates River. Instead of fighting through an insurgent stronghold along the border and then leaving as it has in the past, U.S. troops now leave behind an Iraqi military post to maintain security after a town has been cleared.

Lynch, who is an operations officer as well as a spokesman, said as a result the main entry point for foreign fighters has now been shut down and al-Zarqawi is having a difficult time carrying out attacks. At least 96 percent of suicide bombers are from outside of Iraq, he added. “His weapon of choice is suicide bombers,” Lynch said. “In the month of November: only 23 suicide attacks; the lowest we’ve seen in the last seven months.

If indeed our operations along the Syrian border is the cause of this decline, it’s good news indeed–although it may beg some questions vis-a-vis our relations with that country. The 96 percent figure is astounding, especially given that President Bush acknowledged yesterday that foreign terrorists were the smallest major element of the enemy force. It does lend more credence to Secretary Don Rumsfeld’s contention that they are not properly “insurgents.”

via Evan Kohlmann

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    The 96 percent figure is astounding, especially given that President Bush acknowledged yesterday that foreign terrorists were the smallest major element of the enemy force.

    How are you using the word “acknowledged” in that sentence?

    Sounds more like “asserted” is called for?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Anderson: Until rather recently, the impression that we were mostly fighting either Saddam loyalists or external terrorists was the party line.

  3. Mike says:

    Makes you think that GEN Shinseki was right; if we had gone in w/ the proper number of soldiers and secured the border as well as the rest of Iraq, things would not be as bad as they are. He was the head of the Army and all. Maybe we will start listening to the experts and not the hacks. Oh well, this is George’s legacy… it is just a shame that so many of our warriors have to die in the process.