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Composition of the Insurgency

Tactics of the Insurgency

Counter-Insurgency in Iraq

Blackwater Incident in Fallujah

The Battle for Fallujah

Biography of al-Zarqawi

Insurgency Tactics in Iraq

Iraqi insurgency tactics follow the lines of classic guerilla warfare. The various elements use hit and run tactics that maximize destruction while minimizing the losses to its own side. The insurgents can easily melt into the population which in some cases provides a source of supply for individuals and units. Part of the object of the insurgency is to affect U.S. public opinion. Logic dictates that the insurgent forces cannot win a strictly military victory. The objective of its leaders then must be to wear down coalition public opinion by increasing the body count of Coalition forces, while at the same time committing acts of terror that will wear down the resolve of committed nations.

Car bombs are one of the weapons commonly used by terrorists. It is normally a vehicle loaded with explosive and combustible materials that is exploded from a distance. By their very nature these weapons are inaccurate and consciously create a tremendous amount of collateral damage. Far more civilians are killed by these types of devices than are military targets, illustrating the callous view of terrorists that civilian targets are not merely acceptable, but even desirable.

Sniper and small weapons are also employed using hit and run tactics.

Kidnappings and hostage-taking is used to terrorize a large group of people for considerable periods of time. Video taping the hostages allows terrorists to get their message out expeditiously. However, there are dangers involved for the terrorists, especially if the whereabouts of the hostages can be determined by counter-terrorist forces. Most of these incidents end up badly with the hostage dispatched by beheading or some other horrific means.

Suicide Bombings get the biggest response from the press and so are thought to be highly effective by terrorist and insurgent organizations. It is felt that they demonstrate the resolve of the extreme Muslim movement, while at the same time horrifying the public in coalition countries. This is a weapon that can also be pin pointed with more accuracy than car bombs. Even so, it has been highly destructive of civilian lives.

Insurgents have not been as well-supplied with anti-air or anti-armor weapons. However, mortars, shoulder launched missiles, and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) have been used.

As it is the object of the insurgency movement to destabilize the government, choosing to target holy place and mosques is an occasional method of stirring up trouble among religious sects. Targeting markets and shops as well as utilities is also a way to make people afraid and less likely to trust the government.

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Iraqi Insurgency