Who Are the Iraqi Insurgents - and Can They be Defeated?

(Economist-UK) What is clear is that many more jihadis did pour into Iraq after the conventional phase of the war. One early decree of American proconsul Paul Bremer abolished Iraq's border guard. Even today, only three of 36 former checkpoints on the border with Saudi Arabia are manned. Adnan Karim, a former admiral whose think-tank now analyzes the rebel groups for Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi, counts 36 different Sunni insurgent groups, inspired by the beliefs of puritanical Salafis, Sufi mystics, and Muslim Brothers. The Salafis are the most dedicated, a shade more so than the Sufis. Originally a Saudi movement, their Iraqi branch dates back to the 1960s. Only in the 1990s, when the UN's economic sanctions made many Iraqis poor, bitter, and prey to outside influence and cash, especially from Saudi Arabia, did the movement spread.

2004-07-12 00:00:00

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