Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Monday, February 18, 2008

‘In Aid of Our Brothers in Gaza’

On January 18, 2008, the Jihad and Reform Front, which includes the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Army of the Mujaheddin, and the ‘Judicial Commission’ splinter group of the Ansar al-Sunna, issued a statement under the title of ‘The Formation of the Iraqi Resistance Campaign to Aid Gaza’ along with two other insurgent groups, Hamas-Iraq and the Islamic Front of the Iraqi Resistance.

Each grouping launched its own mini-campaign; the Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI) calls its own ‘In Aid of Our Brothers in Gaza’. Since then, the IAI claims to have blown-up at least a dozen Humvees and other assorted American armored vehicles, fired dozens of mortars and missiles at US bases in Iraq, and killed several top ranking American officers including—they allege—two CIA officers, in addition to several local enemies such as Iraqi Army generals and Mahdi Army cadres, as part of this campaign.

All this for Gaza?

The IAI also issued a video on February 10 to mark the occasion—they called it ‘From Baghdad to Gaza, Jihad Until Victory’—with a speech delivered by ‘Dr. Ali al-Noaimi’, its official spokesman. Al-Noaimi rails against the “Crusaders, the troops of Bush the Zionist” and the “Safavids” and vows to liberate “every inch of the land of the Muslims” from “invaders”.

Oddly enough, an argument could be made that this whole campaign for Gaza is being bankrolled by General David Petraeus. See, many of those prescribing remedies to Iraq’s problems have sold Washington on the idea that groups such as the Islamic Army of Iraq could be turned into America’s best friends. In fact, many of the current leaders of the Concerned Local Citizens groups (…recently renamed, along with the tribal ‘Awakening’ and ‘Salvation’ franchises as the ‘Sons of Iraq’ corps) were second-tier leaders in the insurgent groups that launched this campaign: Saad al-Obeidi (a.k.a. Abul ‘Abid, in Amiriya), Thamir al-Tamimi (a.k.a. Abu Azzam, in Abu Ghraib), Uday al-Nadawi (deceased, in Diyala), Emad Ahmed (deceased, in Diyala), …etc.

These ex-insurgents now live on the largesse of the American taxpayer, and some are getting rich enough to bail out of Iraq carrying generous reserves of cash and living it up in Damascus or Amman. Other enterprising young men are also heading out of the country because of an erroneous rumor that has it that one’s service in the CLC is a golden ticket to asylum in the United States, Europe or Australia.

Once the Sunni insurgency collapsed, and insurgent groups began turning on one another, namely against Al-Qaeda, there was very little to sustain those mid-level commanders in terms of money, legitimacy or new recruits other than turning to the Americans to provide all these things. For $300-$400 a month per head, a guy like Abul ‘Abid could turn his band of 13 fighters into a force of 600 men, many of whom were idle laborers beforehand and had never fought in the insurgency. Eager US commanders would take reporters around and sell them on the idea that these brave fighters had turned the battle against Al-Qaeda. The narrative was simple enough for the press corps and for the self-styled experts in Washington, and a self-sustaining myth was born. Everyone smiled for the cameras. Even thugs who were doing Al-Qaeda’s bidding just a few months ago and had only turned because Al-Qaeda had appointed someone else to replace them were polished up and made presentable and available for media comment: Adil al-Mashhadani was reborn as a respectable local notable. “Let’s get him in a photo-op with David Ignatius!”

“Things have quieted down, Nibras, why do you want to go around mucking everything up?”

Well, to start with, one myth has been constructed atop another, and nothing anyone is saying about Iraq these days makes any sense, and that offends me. And the longer these myths go unchallenged, the longer it is going to take America to awake from its stupor the next time the Middle East ruptures. If you thought Iraq was bad, just wait until Act II unfolds in either the Levant or the Gulf, or both. America’s allies will have to fight these battles anyway, but it would be easier if America thinks coherently about why these battles are supposed to be fought, and why they are supposed to be won.

For now, the American left does not want to concede that the battle in Iraq has been won, so they have devised a talking-point to forestall any White House claims of a victory to hold them over until the November presidential elections. It goes something like this: “The CLCs could turn at any moment and launch an all-out war against the Shia-dominated central government, thus unraveling all the security gains of the surge.”

Let me get this straight: insurgents who were loftily claiming that they were in the fight to rid Iraq of American occupation have been getting their livelihood in dollars from the same soldiers they were firing at a few months ago, and these guys are still expected to have any fight in them? C’mon, I mean how low could you have fallen to receive your daily bread from the enemy? These guys are broken, their will to fight has evaporated and it’s been replaced with a motive for mere survival; they are not fighting for anything but a paycheck, and all the clamor and noise they are making nowadays is a supplication to the Shia-dominated central government to feed them.

Once upon a time, these Sunni insurgents were fighting to control all of Iraq, nowadays their biggest prize is who gets to control the provincial council of resource-poor Anbar. Whatever fight is left in them is going to be leveraged in a five-way intra-Sunni brawl pitting Al-Qaeda, the tribes, ex-insurgents, ex-Ba’athists and the Islamic Party against each other for such meager spoils as Adhamiya and Ramadi. Their only hope to stave off Kurdish designs on crown jewels such as Kirkuk and Mosul is to ally themselves to the hated Shia-dominated central government. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

“But what about all the Iran-bashing rhetoric?” That’s just hot-air: the Sunnis believe that this is what the Americans want to hear. It’s the cynical equivalent of liberating Jerusalem through Kuwait. If the only way to find common ground with the Americans is to sell oneself as an adversary to Iran, then they can easily don this costume, as long as it gets the Americans to support one group against the other within this intra-Sunni competition. They’ve tried rebelling against the central government for the last five years; they threw all that they had at it and still failed. Who among the Sunni leadership can sell young men to give up their lives—that had turned a little better with $300 to spend every month—in order to recapture Baghdad?

Will Adnan al-Duleimi do it? I don’t think so, especially not with that footage of his son (who is under arrest on terrorism charges) dry-humping a prostitute while swigging whiskey is floating around YouTube.

“But if the CLCs are not such a threat, then why is the central government reluctant to absorb them into the military and security services?” That’s simple: it is called revenge and humiliation. Most of these mid-level commanders served in Saddam’s bureaucracies of murder and had resumed their blood-soaked careers under the insurgency. They have killed the family members and colleagues of those who are now being asked to help them out; revenge is the natural human instinct that kicks in under such conditions. The Americans put the Islamic Army on life support even though the Islamic Army claims to have killed and maimed thousands of American soldiers, but that’s America’s shame and lack of judgment, why should the Iraqis do the same, especially now that the Islamic Army had been defeated and broken?

But let’s get back to this whole Gaza issue. Wouldn’t it be a pertinent question to ask: why is the Islamic Army et al even talking about Gaza? And this is not the first time that they coupled what’s going on in Iraq with what’s happening in Palestine: remember their revenge for Israel’s incursion in Jineen? Or are they just keeping up with Al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq, whose leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi dedicated his ninth speech (released last week) to the issue of Palestine?

The US government has been negotiating with the Islamic Army for two years now. The diplomats, officer brass and spooks had even established a specialized bureaucratic arm in conjunction with the British to do this: it is called the Force Strategic Engagement Cell and is currently headed by Donald Blome and Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes.

Yet for all its importance, no reporter has managed to get an answer to this question: when negotiating with the Islamic Army, who does the United States government believe it is talking to?

Every little aspect of the Iraq has been covered in minute detail; even what seem to be regular non-political crimes in Baghdad get played up as “Today’s Violence”. Yet no reporter has managed to get the US government on the record as to the identity of the Islamic Army’s leadership. Are they salafists? Are they Ba’athists? Are they ex-officers? Who are they and why are they killing American soldiers in reprisal for the blockade of Gaza?

A Saudi reporter put out a curious column a couple of weeks ago in a Saudi newspaper where he claimed that the leader of the Islamic Army is someone who goes by the nom-de-guerre ‘Abu Khadija’, who he further identifies as ‘Amin al-Janabi’. According to the column, Abu Khadija got his start when a relative of his, Mahmoud al-Janabi, also known as ‘Abu Atyaf’, gathered up a motley group of ex-mujaheddin who had seen action in Afghanistan. The column also alleges that Abu Khadija had left Iraq and now resides in Damascus, while the day-to-day operations of the Islamic Army are conducted by Farhan al-Khalifawi, known as ‘Abu Hanan’.

About a year ago, a high-ranking officer of a US-friendly Middle Eastern intelligence service (not Saudi) told me that they think that the Islamic Army is led by a mysterious ‘Abu Khadija’, further identified as being a salafist in his late thirties. So I’ve had a head start in looking for who this Abu Khadija is supposed to be. If we go by the storyline published in al-Riyadh newspaper, then Mahmoud al-Janabi could be Mahmoud Sweidan al-Janabi (brother of Qasim Sweidan). There are two persons who fit the description of ‘Farhan al-Khalifawi’: Farhan Munachid ‘Aifan al-Khalifawi (brother of Fawzi Munachid) and Farhan Turki al-Khalifawi (brother of Ismail Turki). I couldn’t find anyone to fit the profile of ‘Amin al-Janabi’. One source dismissed this account as disinformation. Another attributed it to MP Khalaf Alayan, who belongs to the Albu Khalifa clan, and who would have played up a role for his kinsman; it is also alleged that Alayan’s two sons, Muhammed and Muhanned, are active within the Islamic Army.

A third source says that at best this group is a local cluster of cells that operate under the name of the Islamic Army, but are not representative of the overall structure.

So who is right in all of this? Why is the enemy—at least if defined by who is killing American soldiers—still a shadowy mystery to the American public after five years of warfare?

Sure, Al-Qaeda is the primary enemy in Iraq to both Americans and Iraqis, but the Islamic Army is definitely at second place, and not by a wide margin—so why haven’t reporters asked these questions?

Why is General Petraeus giving salaries to the Islamic Army, the 1920 Revolution Brigades and other insurgent groups when their propaganda arms are still cheering the murder of Petraeus’ troops?

The Islamic Army captured, tortured and then burnt the corpse of someone I knew and liked, Nezar. He was a nice, simple guy—a salt of the earth sort of guy—always ready with a joke. They made a video of him and claimed that he died from his wounds, something contradicted by others who were held with him. I can’t understand how Nezar's torturers and killers are entitled to get salaries while Nizar’s family has yet to be compensated for his loss?

Was Nizar killed for Gaza?

How many others were killed for Gaza?

These insurgents—the scum of the earth—have been defeated, yet irrationally no one wants to admit it, not even the victors. In fact, the policy is counterintuitive: these defeated insurgents must be rewarded, at all cost! But who are they? No one seems to care about the specifics. The case of the Islamic Army goes to the heart of how Iraq has been mismanaged, and how the Iraq story has been misreported. Why are groups that are ostensibly on America’s payroll exacting vengeance for Gaza by taking American lives? Isn’t that what terrorists do? (The IAI has, in fact, killed US civilians…) Seems like a relevant question, but it is one that is not asked, which beckons another question: Why?

There is a lack of intellectual inquisitiveness—a disregard for details, whereby every hired hack can claim instant expertise—coupled with an absence of moral clarity; the lens through which America peers onto Iraq is blemished with ignorance and smudged with agenda, distorting the good and the bad together.

The Iraq story is rustled-up during pillow talk embraces of reporters who have yet to outgrow memories of high school torment; it is structured on reality as perceived by Michael and Lara and whatever neuroses have trailed them from Brisbane and Durban (…I’m not being that cryptic). Throw in John Cusack (…okay, now I’m being cryptic) and a power-to-the-people academic for good measure and it is becomes a veritable three-way spiritual mess: they seek to find themselves in an imagined, nightmarish Iraq. It is this confluence of no more than 300 elite 'interpreters'—a ‘commentariat’, as some call it, of Middle Eastern watchers—that misinforms the opinions of hundreds of millions.

It is how so many people came to think of Ahmed Chalabi as more evil than Saddam, and the neocons as more dangerous than Al-Qaeda. Just think about this for a moment: How did it happen?

It is also the reason why the American public will not get an unvarnished account of what’s really going on in Iraq until November’s come and gone, in the very least.

Sure, Iraq used to be a place of massive horrors, but today it a land of little miracles. It is the crocus breaking through the caked ashes, but most reporters and experts are too messed-up or distracted to see it.

This blog has given its readers ample notice of the good news to come. I believe that these gains in Iraq are irreversible. There has always been a rhetorical conflict between an imagined Iraq and the real Iraq. Those who genuinely wish the best for Iraq should rest assured that the real Iraq is looking pretty good. And reality will eventually catch up with those who wield an imagined Iraq to settle some unrelated political score or to stroke down intemperate egos—how stupidly they have set themselves up to be disappointed by the triumph of decency over terror.

Why are American liberals barely muffling their cheers whenever a suicide bomber strikes in Baghdad?

Why has it come to this?

Forget about the Florida recount for a second. Leave Iraq out of the pro-choice debate. Don’t mix up Maliki’s performance with Justice Alito’s rulings. Same-sex marriage has nothing to do with the Oil Law.

Focus on Iraq, and know that it is going well. Irreversibly well.

UPDATE (February 22, 2008):

Al-Hayat Newspaper published an interview today (...under a London byline) with a man claiming to be the Emir of the Islamic Army of Iraq. Al-Hayat doesn't tell us how they went about establishing and authenticating this man's identity. He remains anonymous and wouldn't give any new biographical details in the interview, not even commenting on whether he was an ex-officer or not. No new insights, but some of what he said conflicts with the previous public messages that had been released by the IAI such as their anti-Shia stance. In my judgement, this could be yet another instance where the Saudis are being taken for a ride.

UPDATE (February 26, 2008):

I was mistaken: Al-Boraq (the IAI's media arm) is confirming that the Al-Hayat interview actually took place with the Emir of the IAI. The more compelling for journalists to try to find out who he is!


Blogger Maury said...

Nibras,I doubt anyone walks up and proclaims himself an insurgent looking for a job. They do fingerprints and retinal scans and arrest anyone wanted by the law. Sure,we know there are former insurgents on the payroll. Still,you've got to admit the Awakening was a stroke of genius. Sunni's get to save face,and violence drops 90%. If anyone had a better way to end the insurgency,I've yet to hear it.

9:06 PM, February 18, 2008

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Dear perry1961,

It was my mistake: I assumed that long-time readers of Talisman Gate would already know my stance on this for I've argued, over the course of a year and a half, that Awakenings/Salvations/CLCs had little to do with the collapse of the insurgency.

You'll find my case in the archives of this site. But I doubt it will be as convincing to you as the dominant narrative, which I believe is a false narrative and ultimately dangerous. Iraq cannot be relegated to the historians just yet; strategists need to learn what happened there to apply these lessons very soon to other eruptions across the region. But I fear that alerting people to the prevailing folly is futile at this juncture. Too many distractions, and attention is only keen when survival is at stake.

Errors will be repeated, time will be wasted.

9:34 PM, February 18, 2008

Blogger ahmed said...

It is this confluence of no more than 300 elite 'interpreters'—a ‘commentariat’, as some call it, of Middle Eastern watchers—that misinforms the opinions of hundreds of millions.

That was hilarious! I wonder how much more Joseph Gobbels can you get? Everyone's misinformed (and on top of that, they all do it cuz they've been bullied in high school, :) ) except the magnificent you, somewhere far removed from where the action is taking place.
I dare you to go and live in the real Iraq for a few months, not in the Green Zone with your ex-chum, in the little miracle happy neighborhoods you so lovingly describe here.

Great Sahaf material, keep it up.

10:05 AM, February 19, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the beginning Nibras' argument was that the awakening was the result of the insurgency having been defeated not the other way around. His argument was persuasive since he advanced it long before the new myth took over.

But Nibras I'm not sure why you are so critical about the way the US has handled the collapse of the insurgency? What alternative policy should they have pursued, in your opinion, given that the ISF is still a work-in-progress? Isn't there some value in putting these Sunni insurgent schmucks on a payroll in order to get biometric data on them for perpetuity? If they use the money to emigrate, more the better, surely?

Even given the insurgency had been defeated way back in October 06, Al Qaeda maintained its operational capacity to mount suicide attacks on the Baghdad shiites right up Sept/Oct of last year. How could AlQ been driven out without co-opting the Sunni ex insurgents unless the US was prepared to empower the Mahdi death squads?

10:40 AM, February 19, 2008

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Dear gj,

Very good questions, as usual.

Let's begin with this premise: stringing together a series of bombings does not make an insurgency. When it’s personal, it is a heart-wrenching tragedy, but when thought of within sterile political considerations, terrorist bombing waves are a nuisance, not a threat.

An insurgency is driven by politics and demands, and its intensity or demise is predicated on how close these demands are to being realized. The Sunni insurgency in Iraq began with grandiose schemes that ranged from Sunni political restoration to rehabilitating Saddam to the Caliphate. But after their heyday right before Fallouja II, things started turning sour. Two further shocks jolted most Sunnis back into reality: their disappointing demographic numbers as approximated by the second parliamentary elections, especially in places like Baghdad, and their loss of Baghdad to the Sadrist/death squad onslaught following the Samarra bombing. Saddam was hanged and that was that, and no one cared much for the Islamic State of Iraq. This was the moment, the winter of 2006/2007, when the insurgency was defeated—when the majority of Sunnis realized that this whole insurgency thing ain’t going far.

The thrust of my argument in this post is that the threat of a “Sunni Army” (CLCs/Awakenings/Salvations) that will turn at any moment and do battle with the government is a false narrative since these folks don’t have much of fight left in them. I sort of meandered into questioning the whole premise of why they were founded in the first place, but I concede that that was beside the point.

I can’t turn back time, not with + 60,000 of these guys already on the payroll. But if I had done things differently then I would have kept the ‘tribals’, such the Awakening and Salvation fronts, and put them on payroll since it’s a lot harder to patrol the parched landscapes of Anbar. I can’t help but see the ‘tribals’ as anything other than theatrical actors in an absurdist comedy, and hence they are not a concern, either strategically or morally. I find it very funny that ‘experts’ are hanging on Hamid al-Hayis’s every threat; they seem to have forgotten (as if they knew such details in the first place) that Hamid was the INC’s office chief in Ramadi. He’s a brave man, but a bit of a nut. Oh, he was a nurse before all this started.

I would have given a leg-up to the Shia, Kurdish and Turkuman ‘tribals’ in Diyala instead of pursuing an anti-Shia policy like the one followed by Col. Sutherland, whose ego was wounded when the ‘towel-heads’ wouldn’t treat him as a demigod. I certainly would not have hired Adel al-Mashhadani! I would have watched him battle it out with his replacement, Ala’a al-Alawi, and then sent in the Iraqi Army to shoot and arrest the remnants of both gangs. There’s no shortage of troops for Baghdad, a place much easier for the Iraqi military to patrol. And many of these troops are actually pretty darn good. I would cite the example of an officer such as Brig. Gen. Nassir al-Hiti of the Muthana Brigade in Abu Ghraib. I would put him up against the best Brig. Gen. in any NATO army, including America’s. But there are certain pockets of Abu Ghraib that he is not allowed to patrol because the US military has struck deals with local CLC commanders who were active in the Islamic Army or the 1920 Revolution Brigades. Problem is, these CLCs are not, in fact, keeping a tight lid on soft-insurgent actions (…such as lobbing mortars) or organized crime networks as well as Gen. al-Hiti is doing. Why continue subsidizing what’s failing (the ex-insurgents, who can barely stay ahead of Al-Qaeda’s assassins) and not using what’s succeeding (the Iraqi Army)?

To sum up, all these newly minted groupings have been over-hyped. If they all decide to quit tomorrow then Al-Qaeda will surely creep back into some areas, but only to kill them off! They can’t afford to sulk and leave their posts because Al-Qaeda will make an example out of them, and their families. That said, I don’t see any situation whereby Al-Qaeda can rally any strength inside Iraq and return to being anything more than a nuisance to the Iraqi state, and that’s because the complex factors that undermined Al-Qaeda in the very beginning—even before Abu Risha & Co. showed up—are still there, and expanding.

Dear Abbas Hawazin (a.k.a. Konfuzed Kid),

I’m glad that you’ve started writing under your own name (…we’ll take your word for it). I hope you’ll outgrow your negativity at one point and start putting your creative talents to good use—Sunni shrillness is so passé.

12:30 PM, February 19, 2008

Blogger ahmed said...

I can't overgrow my negativity, I was too bullied in high school..harharhar... *also add: bulled by evil Shia, to appeal to your model of a 'Shrilling Sunni'*

Good luck with your miracle-sprouting.

4:12 PM, February 19, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must be hard to have lost all the privileges you enjoyed under the Baath, Abbas. Sorry about that big guy, maybe Amman is a much better place for you afterall. =)

7:36 PM, February 19, 2008

Blogger Maury said...

Nibras,could you look into the situation in Diyala? I read where the chief of police was being interrogated by the U.S. over a possible connection to mass graves. This was the same day the LA Times did a story of a police officer who was tortured in a Baquba police station for raiding a mosque he said was an Al Quds hideout. I found the whole thing fascinating,as everything seemed to hit the fan a few days after the Diyala Awakening started protesting the police chief. But I haven't seen any follow up on the darn thing.

10:21 PM, February 19, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nibraska. i tried to look for the video on you tube that you mentioned in your post but could not locate... would you illuminate us with a link???

2:11 AM, February 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here it is:

It says this is Munqith Adnan Al-Dulaimi, the son of Iraqi Member of Parliament Adnan Al-Dulaimi. This is how they enjoy the stolen money from Iraq. After the kidnapping and the crimes they committed in Iraq, it is time for them to enjoy this money with the bitches.

It is filmed in Dubai or somewhere in the UAE. I am sure there are more of such videos, but there will be time all this rubbish to come out, including Mr. Abbas Hawazin one.

Nibras, thank you for all your writings and God bless you.


5:07 AM, February 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Nibras,

thanks for that, the point you were making is much clearer now.

Re the Dec 05 elections - it was also the constitutional vote in the Oct where the Sunnis could only muster a 22% No vote in Baghdad - astonishing at the time to realise that Baghdad was in fact a shia city and obviously had been for years before the war?

11:37 AM, February 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry clicked the wrong button! The last post was me.

11:44 AM, February 20, 2008

Blogger CMAR II said...

when negotiating with the Islamic Army, who does the United States government believe it is talking to?

Isn't this likely to be just good psyops? If the haunchos of your organization is "negotiating" with the US military (and their gang-leaders are not likely to deny it), then it will only sap your enthusiasm to fight them. Who knows how the supposed negotiations will turn out? You don't want to get killed and miss out on your $300 do you?

Also, passing out money gives the US military the right and ability to find out who claims to be part of these groups. This makes it easier to make lists of suspects. The Forces of Light get all this and the $300 is still cheaper than the ammo and resources required to kill them outright.

I can understand your desire to see people who killed your friend punished rather than appeased. But face it, these guys aren't worth it. Most of them probably wouldn't know an ideology if it fell on them. They did it for the money (money made through kidnapping and theft), and now that they can be identified, they will all but certainly end up eventually arrested for some less "glorious" crime.

9:53 AM, February 21, 2008

Blogger Don Cox said...

"$300 is still cheaper than the ammo and resources required to kill them outright."_____Probably cheaper than keeping them in jail, too.

12:20 PM, February 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey cmarii and don cox why not take the boys and girls of illegal immigrants and hand them over to pedophiles and rapists and that way the pedophiles and rapists will be too busy to fondle and rape americans and we won't have to raise taxes for law enforcement or courts or prisons.

a nation without morals or a sense of fairness can cut all sort of corners. that's the best lesson we can teach the iraqis. YAAA!!! WE'RE NO. 1!!!

12:37 PM, February 21, 2008

Blogger CMAR II said...

Don Cox,

I'm not so sure about that. Did you read the last Michael Totten's Dungeon of Fallujah post?

[Malcom continues staggering to the sidewalk (*hic*). He drops his keys, starts to try to pick them up, decides to forget about it and heads on toward the corner, but ends up collapsing in a pile of Hefty bags. Mumbles about "right wing christian neo-fasss...fasss...fasho(*snore)]

2:27 PM, February 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

cmar ii, I was thinking the same thing. I also keep wondering why everyone expects us to be perfect. We had to be right about the WMD. We had to know exactly how the Iraqis would respond to our invasion and plan accordingly. We had to know that disbanding a ragtag group of conscripts would spark an insurgency. We had to reconstruct a country that had been living under a dictator for thirty years in two or less. We had to somehow know that Saddam had allowed Iraq's infrastructure to deteriorate nearly to the point of no return and be able to get the oil flowing in six months. We had to generate electricity where there was none before and meet double the demand. Now that our former enemy has flipped, we need to be absolutely sure we're not paying or arming people who don't have Iraq's best interests at heart. Giving money to even one such person makes the efforts of the other 60,000+ Sons of Iraq worthless.

When will America learn? You just don't go invading a country you know nothing about and expect to succeed. It's a darn good thing that every farm boy drafted in 1942 spoke fluent German, Italian, and Japanese. They had studied the culture and history of each of those countries and could recite them forwards and backwards. They had memorized the maps and knew each of the individual nations' regions including their racial and religious makeup, dialects, historical conflicts, etc.

10:34 PM, February 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even those on the "Payroll" so to speak are subject to arrest and prosecution for crimes commited under Saddam and/or the insurgency aren't they? So, as you get proof of a crime, arrest and prosecute. Where am I wrong? I do know that very few Japanese were convicted for atrocities commited during WWII

2:34 PM, February 23, 2008

Blogger Brian H said...

You might have to give up the "resource-poor Anbar" thing. The largest gas field in Iraq has been opened, running from Mosul to the KSA border. SH-suppressed seismic records have been analysed, and show oil fields "like a string of pearls" running through Anbar, never even test-drilled. Estimates are they contain about 100 bn bbl, almost as much as all the rest of Iraq put together.

So much for the "poor Sunni" meme! Per capita, each Sunni is about 3X as oil-rich as other Iraqis.

Can you get your brain around that data? Very few pundits can.

6:39 AM, February 26, 2008

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10:01 PM, October 01, 2008

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