Iraq Battling More Than 200,000 Insurgents: Intelligence Chief
Monday 03 January 2005
Baghdad - Iraq's insurgency counts more than 200,000 active fighters and sympathisers, the country's national intelligence chief told AFP, in the bleakest assessment to date of the armed revolt waged by Sunni Muslims.
"I think the resistance is bigger than the US military in Iraq. I think the resistance is more than 200,000 people," Iraqi intelligence service director General Mohamed Abdullah Shahwani said in an interview ahead of the January 30 elections.
Shahwani said the number includes at least 40,000 hardcore fighters but rises to more than 200,000 members counting part-time fighters and volunteers who provide rebels everything from intelligence and logistics to shelter.
Defense experts said it was impossible to divine the insurgency's total number, but called Shahwani's estimate a valid guess, with as much credence, if not more, than any US numbers.
"I believe General Shahwani's estimation, given that he is referring predominantly to active sympathizers and supporters and to part-time as well as full-time active insurgents, may not be completely out of the ballpark," said defense analyst Bruce Hoffman who served as an advisor to the US occupation in Iraq and now works for US-based think-tank RAND Corporation.
Includes link to original source and since this is originally from Agence France Presse it's not just some conspiracy theory.