The Sunni insurgency in Iraq cannot be sustained for
long becaues they garner little popular support and Iraqi and U.S. troops are becoming
more effective in security measures, U.S. analysts say.
"The relatively small number of extremists conducting murder and
sabotage in the Sunni Triangle have no chance of winning militarily," Karl
Zinmeister, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, said. "My
reading of Iraqi events and Iraqi temperament is that the insurgents also
have little chance of winning by non-military means. There is no evidence
that they represent a popular movement, or that they enjoy any widespread
support. They have no platform, no winning message, no identifiable
Zinmeister was one a panel of experts who assessed the viability of the
Sunni insurgency in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee on Oct.
29. He said U.S. military operations have hurt Sunni insurgents, who have
had to increase by five-fold the price bounties on U.S. soldiers and has not succeeded in destabilizing the country.
On Saturday at least 18 Iraqis were killed and more than 30 people
injured in two separate suicide bombings in Baghdad, Middle East Newsline reported. Five Iraqi police
officers are still reported missing.
Later a civilian cargo plane en route to Bahrain was downed by a
missile. The aircraft landed safely at Baghdad Airport but shortly
afterwards Jordan's Royal Wings suspended the only commercial flights to
Al Qaida has little future in Iraq, Zinmeister said.
The researcher also ruled out an Iranian-style theocracy in the Shi'ite
"The one factor that could derail Iraq’s gradual rise would be American
panic," Zinmeister said. "The Baghdad bombers are not so much trying to
influence Iraqis, as to cow the U.S. public and stampede our leaders. If we
will be long-sighted and steely, we will realize that there is no reason for
Michael O'Hanlon, a researcher at the Brookings Institution, agreed.
O'Hanlon said October was a difficult month for U.S. troops, but overall
trends in American casualties have not worsened.
"Jihadists, including members of Ansar Al Islam and possibly Al Qaida,
are a serious problem, and perhaps the greatest reason for long-term worry,"
O'Hanlon said. "But there are means to deal with them. First, we can
improve border security to force the jihadists to enter Iraq in smaller
numbers, a policy already being put into effect. Second, we can train Iraqi
border guards to help."
In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George
Bush said that coalition troops would remain in Iraq even after the June
2004 deadline although Pentagon officials said the U.S. force will be
reduced from its present level of 130,000 to 105,000 by May 2004.