New data (4.3 Mb PowerPoint) from the US military on global guerrilla operations in Fallujah provides fresh detail on how the bazaar of violence in Iraq operates. Here's what the US forces found:
- 11 improvised explosive device (IED) "factories."
- 653 unexploded IEDs.
- 203 weapons caches (graphic of the amounts of large munitions found).
- 3 hostage holding areas.
The data (and the map) indicates a very dispersed operation in Fallujah. One explanation for this is that US airstrikes on guerrilla facilities in the city forced decentralization. However, a more likely explanation given the available data on how the city was run indicates that the insurgency in Fallujah TAZ was a highly decentralized organization at the outset -- the dispersion of the facilities merely reflects this organizational style. For example: each group likely had their own caches of weapons and/or a factory.
One final note on the centrality (or more precisely, the lack of centrality) of Fallujah. The data shows that very few IEDs and IED materials were found (less than a month at the current run rate). Obviously, many of the devices were removed prior to the assault for use in the multi-city counter-assaults that occurred. However, even if we assume that each IED "factory start-up" produced a device every day (a generous assumption), the total production rate would be less than 1/4 of the current usage rate of 772 IEDs a month (half of the production ended up in inventory or were rejects/duds).