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Iraqi intelligence chief: insurgents outnumber troops

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7374-1425022,00.html January 04, 2005 Iraqi insurgents now outnumber coalition forces By James Hider The head of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2005
      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7374-1425022,00.html

      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
      weeks.

      �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
      authorities.

      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.
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