BAGHDAD ø Iraq claims its intelligence services and
security forces have achieved significant gains against Abu Mussib Al
Iraqi officials said the nation's intelligence services have succeeded
in tracking the leadership of Al Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group. They
said Iraqi intelligence has managed to obtain information to understand
the structure of Al Zarqawi's network, its location and recruitment methods.
Western intelligence analysts played down the claims of Iraqi officials
regarding the success of Al Zarqawi. The analysts agreed that Al Zarqawi
appeared to be seeking to move much of his network out of Iraq, but did not
see any immediate let-up in its activities.
Al Zarqawi and other Sunni insurgents have killed about 100 Iraqi
security officers and civilians over
the last 25 days, Middle East Newsline reported. On Thursday, the U.S. military announced that marines
killed 25 Sunni insurgents in Ramada.
"There's no question that Al Zarqawi feels the pressure on him," an
Iraqi security source said. "They're still able to carry out attacks. But
they can't stand in one place for more than a few days and this will
eventually present serious problems."
Officials said Iraqi intelligence has established agents and liasions in
every major city and formed a network to quickly receive information on
suspicious foreigners and other insurgents. They said that often
intelligence can often lead to arrests of insurgents within a 24-hour
The pressure has been greatest on Al Zarqawi's leadership, the officials
said. They said the leadership has been on the move to avoid capture and
can't stay in any one location for more than three days.
As a result, officials said, some of Al Zarqawi's aides have been
leaving Iraq for surrounding countries, including Iran and Syria. They said
this could lead to either the splintering of the network into regional cells
or an exodus of the entire organization.
"We know that Al Zarqawi's people have been leaving Iraq over the last
few weeks," the source said. "There could be a dramatic decline if the
pressure on the network continues."
"A lot of what we hear from the new Iraqi government is bravado," a
Western analyst who deals with Iraq said. "They know that within a year they
will be largely on their own and so they are trying to show that the
situation is under control."
Earlier, Iraqi and U.S. officials determined that the Tawhid and Jihad
organization doubled its size since January 2004. They estimated that the
group, flushed with funding and operation success, has about 1,000
insurgents in Iraq.