2004Edition>News Center>World

Saddam loyalists killing intellectuals
Updated: 2004-02-08 10:42

Insurgents are killing at least one and as many as five Iraqi intellectuals every month, hoping to stop people from working with the U.S.-led coalition, coalition spokesmen said Saturday.

Still, they said more and more intellectuals and professionals are coming forward to help thwart the insurgents' aims.

"Yes, the focus by the insurgents ... is to break our will by isolating us with attacks against all these institutions," said coalition spokesman Dan Senor. But at the same time, "we recognize the will of all the coalition partners who continue to stand fast," he told a news conference.

Speaking alongside Senor, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations chief, said the number of attacks against Iraq's intelligentsia such as professors, doctors, lawyers, judges and managers has stayed in the range of 10 to 15 per month, resulting in roughly one to five deaths.

However, the number "goes up dramatically" if the attacks against Iraqi police are taken into account, he said.

About 300 Iraqi security personnel have been killed in action since the force was reconstituted last year and "the trend line is going up," he said, ascribing it to an increased number of policemen on the streets.

Some 150,000 new Iraqi security forces including army soldiers, civil defense personnel and police have been recruited since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime last April.

The number is more than the 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, but the Iraqi forces are equipped with far less firepower and defenses, making them more vulnerable to attacks.

In addition, insurgents have also targeted Iraqi civilians for cooperating with the Americans. Last month, unidentified assailants shot and killed four women traveling in a bus to work at a U.S. military base near Baghdad.

Senor said "there is a concerted effort" to isolate the leaders of the coalition ... by attacking Iraqi institutions, Iraqi individuals and Iraqi political leaders that have cooperated with the coalition."

However, "there are individuals, there are institutions, there are leaders who are not being affected by the efforts to break the will," said Senor.

He said there has been "a real spike" in the activities of intellectuals and midlevel professionals since the capture of Saddam on Dec. 13.

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