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Insurgents. S. forces. Countering this insurgency is fundamental, because success would allow the Iraqi government to concentrate on other urgent problems. To succeed, the Iraqi government must be perceived as impartial and able to protect all of its citizens. Creating such a perception is extremely difficult amid escalating sectarian violence, especially when government ministries are involved with sectarian militias. • Violent extremists. Extremists gravitate to the conflict for various reasons.

Forces, typically through large roadside bombs. Extremists, many of them foreign fighters, usually conduct attacks on easier targets, such as government officials and Shi’ite Arab civilians. Most, if not all, of the suicide bombers appear to be foreign extremists who either come to Iraq prepared to die or are persuaded to conduct suicide attacks after their arrival. Suicide bombing in Iraq is unprecedented in its scale and the devastation inflicted, especially on Shi’ite Arab civilians. 6 The Sunni insurgents have survived because they could replace their losses and are genuinely popular among Sunni Arabs.

On all sides are militias and irregular forces, ranging from the well-established Pesh Merga, which is in effect a national army, to Sunni Arab resistance organizations, which seldom rise much above the level of small armed groups. S. forces were initially an occupation force and subsequently became an ally of the Iraqi government, but they are now sometimes a neutral force between warring sects. Kurdish Separatists Kurds stay in Iraq as a matter of convenience, although they desire independence.

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