Iraqi intelligence chief: insurgents outnumber troops
January 04, 2005
Iraqi insurgents now outnumber coalition forces
By James Hider
The head of intelligence services in Baghdad says that
there are more than 200,000 fighters
IRAQ�S rapidly swelling insurgency numbers 200,000
fighters and active supporters and outnumbers the
United States-led coalition forces, the head of the
country�s intelligence service said yesterday.
The number is far higher than the US military has so
far admitted and paints a much grimmer picture of the
challenge facing the Iraqi authorities and their
British and American backers as elections loom in four
�I think the resistance is bigger than the US military
in Iraq. I think the resistance is more than 200,000
people,� General Muhammad Abdullah Shahwani, director
of Iraq�s new intelligence services, said.
Bomb attacks killed another 18 people yesterday,
almost all of them members of the security services,
and the head of the Baghdad division of the Iraqi
National Guard admitted that his paramilitary police
force had been infiltrated by people who are leaking
information to the guerrillas.
General Shahwani said that there were at least 40,000
hardcore fighters attacking US and Iraqi troops, with
the bulk made up of part-time guerrillas and
volunteers providing logistical support, information,
shelter and money.
�People are fed up after two years without
improvement,� he said. �People are fed up with no
security, no electricity, people feel they have to do
something. The army (dissolved by the American
occupation authority) was hundreds of thousands. You�d
expect some veterans would join with their relatives,
each one has sons and brothers.�
With elections less than a month away, the guerrillas
have launched a massive campaign of attacks against
anyone linked with the coalition or the Iraqi
Yesterday, at least ten National Guardsmen were killed
in the northern Sunni towns of Tikrit and Balad, and
another six policemen and a civilian died in two car
bombings in Baghdad, one of them close to the offices
of Iyad Allawi, the interim Prime Minister.
The commander of the Iraqi National Guard in Baghdad
said that his forces were trying to root out
guerrillas who had infiltrated his organisation, and
who were passing on intelligence to the insurgents to
enable the attacks. Major- General Mudhir Abood said
that the problem had arisen because the force had been
set up hastily in the face of a rapidly deteriorating
security situation and that the new recruits had not
been sufficiently vetted.
More than 1,000 police and National Guardsmen have
been killed since the security forces were established
after the war in relentless attacks aimed at plunging
the country into chaos.
In the northern city of Mosul, insurgents displayed a
gruesome talent for inventive murder by blowing up a
policeman as he approached a beheaded corpse that had
been packed with explosives.
# Hazim Shalan, the Iraqi Defence Minister, said
yesterday that the elections scheduled for January 30
could be delayed to a later date if the Sunni Muslim
community agreed to take part.
�We have asked our Arab brothers, particularly in
Egypt and Gulf countries, to get Iraqi Sunnis to
participate in the elections and if such a
participation requires a delay to the election date,
they could be delayed,� Mr Shalan said.