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Iraq insurgency shows no signs of abating
(AP)
Updated: 2005-10-24 09:00

With the grim milestone of the 2,000th U.S. military death looming in Iraq, many wonder about the direction of the insurgency that killed most of them.

Experts think the country's increasingly regional-oriented politics will fuel the insurgency and even spread it further inside Iraq. Others put forward a simple, disquieting scenario: So long as U.S. and other foreign troops remain in Iraq, the insurgency will continue.

"It will become more chaotic," predicted Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm, Sweden. "It is obvious that the United States is in Iraq to stay. If this is the case, the Shiites will likely join the Sunnis in the fight."

The 2,000 mark in U.S. military deaths is approaching at a time when Iraqi and U.S. officials are congratulating themselves that the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum and the start of Saddam Hussein's trial four days later passed without major bloodshed and destruction.

They also are upbeat about the growing efficiency and number 200,000 at present of Iraq's security forces, although some U.S. commanders say the Iraqis need 18 months to two years before they can fight the insurgency unaided.

Iraqi firefighters try to extinguish burning vehicles at the site of a suicide attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday Oct. 23 2005. A suicide car bomb in central Baghdad hit two police vehicles in Al-Tahrir Square, killing two officers and two civilians, said police Maj. Mohammed Younis.(AP
Iraqi firefighters try to extinguish burning vehicles at the site of a suicide attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday Oct. 23 2005. A suicide car bomb in central Baghdad hit two police vehicles in Al-Tahrir Square, killing two officers and two civilians, said police Maj. Mohammed Younis.[AP]
Recent operations in western Iraq, especially in towns along the Euphrates River close to the Syrian border, are said to have been effective in disrupting the insurgents' supply lines and reducing the number of car bombs.

Stepped-up security has forced insurgents in recent weeks to largely abandon using car bombs and resort to indirect fire, such as lobbing mortar shells from afar, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said troops captured more than 300 foreign fighters and killed 100 members of al-Qaida in Iraq the past six months. Other successes include the detention of 600 insurgents in the two weeks before the referendum, said Maj. Gen. William G. Webster, commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad.

But no official predicts a quick victory.
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