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Guerrilla war fears rise in Iraq
08 jul 2003
Guerrilla war fears rise in Iraq
Guerrilla war fears rise in Iraq

Recent Iraqi attacks on American troops have demonstrated a new tactical sophistication and coordination that raises the spectre of the US occupation force becoming enmeshed in a full-blown guerrilla war, military experts said on Sunday.
The new approaches employed last week are provoking concern among some that what once was seen as a mopping-up operation against the dying remnants of a deposed government is instead becoming a widening battle against a growing and organised force that could keep tens of thousands of US troops busy for months.

Pentagon officials insist that the US military is not caught in an anti-guerrilla campaign in Iraq, that the fighting is limited mainly to the Sunni heartland northwest of Baghdad, and that progress is being made elsewhere in the country.

‘‘There’s been an awful lot of work done,’’ Air Force Gen Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Fox News Sunday in an interview taped last week. ‘‘A lot of the country is relatively stable.’’

But a growing number of military specialists, and some lawmakers, are voicing concern about trends in Iraq. There is even some quiet worry at the Pentagon, where some officers contend privately that the size of the US deployment in Iraq — now about 150,000 troops — is inadequate for force protection, much less for peacekeeping.

‘‘In Iraq,’’ Sen Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said on CNN’s Late Edition Sunday, ‘‘We’re now fighting an anti-guerrilla ... effort.’’

Sen Carl M. Levin (Michigan), senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said: ‘‘Our troops are stretched very, very thin. We should ask other countries’’ to send troops, including Germany, France, India, and Egypt.’’ ‘‘It is an absolute mystery to me’’ that NATO has not been asked to authorise deployment in Iraq, said Levin, who just returned from a visit to Iraq, to NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday
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