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. 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. Ã¢€œHis weapon of choice is suicide bombers,Ã¢€ Lynch said. Ã¢€œIn the month of November: only 23 suicide attacks; the lowest weÃ¢€™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