As coalition forces move closer to victory in Iraq, vicious death squads are trying to prevent the Iraqi military from surrendering and keeping Iraqi civilians from welcoming liberation.
The most ruthless of these gangs is known as the Fedayeen Saddam, the Iraqi dictator's own personal enforcers. Founded in 1995, the Fedayeen Saddam have assassinated Saddam Hussein's enemies, put down protests, and brutally cracked down on dissidents. They dress in black uniforms and cover their faces with black scarves to instill fear.
Thousands of Fedayeen Saddam thugs have been forcing regular Iraqi troops and civilians to fight the U.S.-led coalition or face death. Sometimes, these killers put Iraqi civilians in front of their own fighting positions.
As U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, the Iraqi death squads are concentrated in Iraq's cities:
"To keep people from welcoming coalition forces, and to prevent the regular army from surrendering or defecting, the regime is depending on execution death squads to maintain a climate of fear. They are vicious, to be sure, but they are now taking heavy losses. And the regime's tactics have been unable to slow or stop the coalition."
It is increasingly clear, as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said, that the grip of the Fedayeen Saddam and other regime death squads is slipping away as coalition forces advance:
"While more tough fighting very likely will lie ahead, the outcome is assured. Saddam Hussein will be removed from power. The Iraqi people will be liberated. Coalition forces will go home as soon as the military mission is complete, and return Iraq to the long-repressed Iraqi people."
When the coalition liberates the Iraqi people, the remaining members of the Fedayeen Saddam and other regime death squads will be found and punished for their brutal crimes.