Marine Intelligence Report: Al-Qaeda Controls Anbar Province. Huh…?
The Washington Post carried a story yesterday detailing a leaked Marine Corps intelligence report that had concluded that “the U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda’s rising popularity there.”
But even al-Qaeda doesn’t think it is doing that well: the terrorists had to justify their declaration of an ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ by citing the historical precedent of the tiny size of the city-state of Medina where the Prophet Muhammad declared his first de facto state:
The “Official Spokesman” declared that the territory that the jihadists currently control in Iraq is roughly equal to the territory of the state of Medina founded by the Prophet Muhammad during the early days of the Islamic call, and that it finds itself under similar internal as well as external threats
And as part of Abu Hamza al-Muhajir’s latest message, Al-Qaeda felt compelled to answer accusations that it was trying to break-up Iraq by declaring this Islamic state by arguing that the Prophet did not seek to break-up Arabian Peninsula when he unfurled the banner of Islam. Al-Muhajir goes on to urge his fighters to be “nicer” to the Sunni townspeople of Anbar and elsewhere in a clear indication that there were tensions between Al-Qaeda and the lay non-jihadi Sunnis of the area.
Furthermore, these new anti-Al-Qaeda tribal levies under Sheikh Abdel-Sattar Bizai’ of the Albu Risha branch of the Dulaim tribal confederacy seem to be having a far more significant effect in battling the jihadists than the previous attempt under ‘Usama al-Jada’an (of the Karabila tribe in the Qa’im area on the Syrian border, who was assassinated a few months ago in Baghdad).
I think this Marines intelligence report is a harbinger of a new trend: skewing intelligence in the totally opposite direction of saying that things are fine. If one paints the picture as dire and unworkable, then one abdicates responsibility for suggesting an alternative strategy. Plus, no one would be held accountable should things go worse; It is a smarter career move to hop onto the bandwagon of the “Iraq is Failing” line that is currently the craze in DC. Predict defeat and be pleasantly surprised by victory—and no one gets hurt. Problem is, by predicting defeat when there is room for victory, one is liable to keep making the mistakes that lead to defeat.
By validating the biases of the editors at papers like the Washington Post, such leaked intelligence reports are treated as Gospel. But we must keep in mind that someone consciously leaked this assessment to the press, which means that someone is pursuing an agenda. But has US intelligence been fixed, already? Weren’t people complaining that the system is broken, and that is why we needed Goss/Hayden and Negroponte to overhaul it?
ABC News reported yesterday that the Marines will pull back their 30,000 troops to Baghdad after writing-off Anbar. What, and allow Fallouja to happen all over again? I think this ABC leak is total BS and there is no intention among the officers of doing that.
[Full text of the Washington Post story was posted in the comments section]