web counter Media Lies: Will Sunday be a bad day?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

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Will Sunday be a bad day?

Sunday is election day in Iraq. Many pundits say it will be a really bad day with lots of attacks and murders. Will it? If this post on the Powerline blog is any indication, Sunday just might surprise everyone with the lack of violence. I'm not saying nothing will happen — just that the violence might not reach the levels everyone seems to fear.
You wouldn't know it from reading your morning newspaper, but there is growing evidence that the Zarqawi terrorist ring, the number one threat to security in Iraq, is steadily being rolled up. Haider Ajina sent us this translation of an article that appeared in today's Arabic-language newspaper alsharq Alausat:
Iraqi police forces in Alkoot [southern Iraq near Basrah announced they arrested yesterday a member of Al Zarqawi's group in the city of AlKoot.

The chief of police said that the suspect is 29 years old and has confessed to murdering a number of police and national security men, and confessed to participating in a number of car bombings in Baghdad and other provinces. The police chief added that the suspect, who will remain anonymous due to ongoing interrogations, carried forged Iraqi documents and speaks in an Arabian Gulf Dialect [i.e. a dialect of the Arab countries on the Persian gulf] and had met with a number of armed terrorist cells that used to be in Felujah.
What we are seeing here seems to be the classic pattern of rolling up a criminal network. It may take a long time to get the first break, but as members begin to be caught and questioned, their information allows the apprehension of more members of the gang. The process tends to accelerate as more members are caught. In the Iraqi context, a foreseeable consequence is that the remaining gang members will panic; will need to communicate with electronically and perhaps in person to figure out who has been apprehended and who is still on the loose, and what the gang should do now; and that when they do so, they become more vulnerable to capture. On the eve of Iraq's election, this is very good news indeed.
Don't be surprised if a lot of people are surprised on Monday morning. We already know that the good news is grossly underreported. Furthermore, LA Times reported that 15,000 "insurgents" have been killed or detained in the past year. Now we're starting to see leaders arrested almost routinely, and they are singing like canaries.

I read somewhere today (if I can remember, I'll link it) that many of the recent bombings have been surprisingly ineffectual. It may just be that the terrorists have exhausted their capability to do serious damage on election day and their blustering rhetoric is much more bark than bite.

We can certainly hope so.