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Comments by YACCS
Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Eight months and still guessing

Eight months and still guessing

U.S. and Iraqi officials say they now doubt that Saddam had a significant role in directing guerrilla attacks. They say that while his interrogation has led to some arrests, basic information is still lacking about the guerrilla cells that are attacking U.S. and allied troops with sophisticated tactics.

``We don't think, as some have speculated, that he was the central figure managing the entire anti-coalition operation,'' said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director for operations in Baghdad. Still, officials believe that the former leader played some role. ``Do we fully understand where Saddam fits in? We're putting that puzzle together.''

U.S intelligence officials in Washington said Saddam has begun cooperating with U.S. interrogators, but they said he claims he was not involved in directing the resistance and denies he had links to Al-Qaida or other international terrorist groups who now appear to be joining the guerrillas.

The pace of attacks on U.S. troops weeks after Saddam's capture has shaken U.S. officials' confidence that they know who the insurgents are and has made targeting the insurgents difficult at best. Some people working with U.S. forces say many detained in the crackdown against anti-U.S. forces know little about the organization or seem to be uninvolved in the insurgency.

Even something as basic as the number of anti-U.S. fighters in Iraq is a mystery. ``We've seen varied assessments that range from 500 to 5,000 or even higher,'' Kimmitt said. ``I don't think we really have a good fix on that number.''

As for how the various cells might relate to one another, officials admit they are working on hunches as much as anything.

They still have no idea of the shape, size or organization of the enemy that they're facing. This is going to lead to some kind of disaster because only one side is fighting in the dark. And none of this has to do with the growing political split with the Kurds and the Shia, who have very different ideas on who and how Iraq should be run.

posted by Steve @ 10:06:00 PM

10:06:00 PM

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