Sunday Herald: 'Battle for Iraq may never be won'

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hackle, Jan 16, 2005.

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  1. Quote below taken from a piece in today's Sunday Herald.

    It's a truism I suppose that counter-insurgency campaigns are often not 'won' in the conventional sense. Historically, success sometimes lay in containing the threat until it died back. It's useless to wonder what difference it would have made if 'we' had somehow known it was going to be like this, at least for a while.

    full story at
  2. I disagree with the article. The elections will send a message to the insurgency. I expect that turnout in the Kurdish and Shia areas will be large.
    The Sunni's who make up 20% of the population have opted out of the process. It is up to the newly elected government to deal with this problem.
    The goal of the coalition is to facilitate the formation of the new security forces who will be responsible for internal security. The ferocity of the attacks by the enemy upon the police and military is evidence that they fear this force and seek to scare away recruits and to intimidate. Ultimately it will be the Iraqi's that will have to fight to keep their freedom.
  3. We missed the boat at the end of the so called "war fighting phase" in 03. The void has now been filled by the insurgents and they have infiltrated EVERY organisation set up by the Coalition including the Iraqi army and police. There is only one direction that country is going and that is to Civil War. There is nothing we can do about that and should back off and let them get on with it. We won the war but we cannot win the peace, that opportunity has passed and we are now on a hiding to nothing.
  4. I think our yankee friends messed up big time.
    I still go with the theory that the US wanted a secure ocean of oil in case Saudi goes tits up.
    No conventional army can stand in the field against the US army, they have done the theory, put it into practice and developed the equipment and paid for it.
    Their Army is not suited to fighting terrorists. Hearts and minds is not part of US thinking, seek and destroy is the US mind set.
    Their political thinking is on level with that of the Great Khan, surrender or be wiped off the face of the earth.
    The Brit army has an easier area, but did not take over a peaceful area and it is useing all it's hard gained knowledge from withdraw from Empire to the N.I. learning which must be part of all senior officers and Snco's basic tradecraft, learned the hard way with troops lives.
    Iraqi's are Sunni, Shia or Kurd. The Kurds want and now all but seem to have their own self administerd area, The US does not want to deal with Sadams supporters the minority Sunni, which leaves the Iraq leaning Shai.
    Outstanding piece of forward thinking by the advisors to King George II, at least we had to wait for the Madness of the Third King George.
  5. Lets give these people the chance to vote in their leadership be it for better or worse, then get the hell out of there and leave them to it. The re-building contracts seem to have all gone to the yanks, if they want to remain to police and protect there citizens who are assisting in the rebuild then fine. But in the long term I see this to be a people who will return to there tribal and religious divisions and spend the next 50 years fighting over who should be in charge. I fear the all we have accomplished is the removal of an oppresive tirent and the destabilization of a country that was being ruled with a rod of Iron. Maybe that was the only way these people could or can be ruled!!!!!!!!!

  6. Correct!
  7. Slightly off the subject, but still relevant. There is no doubt in my mind that the House of Saud cannot maintain the status quo in KSA - that country is ripe for change, whether violently or peacefully. It is only a matter of time.

    Let's hope that it becomes a more liberalised middle eastern country, rather than descending into a morass of fundamentalism and the chaos that is asssociated with that.

    I do not blame the US for wanting to break the hold that the saudis have over them vis-a-vis the price of a barrel of oil. I'm not certain that their methods were plaudible, but that, now, is history!
  8. I think we're still fundamentally failing to recognise that there is no single insurgency in Iraq. The insurgency is not a unified organisation with a command and control structure that mirrors our own. If it was we could fight it far more effectively. What we have is a hodge-podge of tribal groups who all want to control their own destinies.

    Look at Sadr City for instance, it's run by the locals for the locals. They co-operate with the local police force to lock up thieves and the like, yet ruthlessly exterminate them if they try and encroach on their autonomy. US troops can drive around unmolested as long as they don't do anything - yet try a snatch raid and they take a lot of incoming - but only after the insurgents have warned the locals and got them out of the way.

    Compare this to other groups that don't care how many civilians get killed as long as a few US soldiers do. The imported jihadis and those whose personal losses drive them to revenge at any cost mean a constant flow of suicide bombers.

    And the Kurds just run their own part of the world as a separate state.

    The US needs to shed its ideological baggage and admit that Iraq is unlikely to stay in one piece, that fundamentalist religious rule is broadly popular in many areas, and that the forthcoming elections will make no differnce whatsoever to the current mess. The remit of the elected administration will not extend beyond their bodyguards and everyone else will carry on as before.
  9. wheres maureen -x- when we need him?
  10. As it stands, there is no prospect at all for the rose-tinted future of a peaceful democratic Iraq that the idiots passing for our political leaders think is inevitable.

    There is the possibility that, if the elections cause Sunni/Shia/Kurd tensions to explode into factional violence, that the coalition forces may change their role from an occupying force to a peacekeeping force, as the efforts of the rebels shifts towards each other rather than the coalition.

    It appears to be a case of out of the fire, into the frying pan. We are happily building up our numbers of troops and will contine to do so when other nations pull out later this year.

    Conscript Euan Bliar and send him out with no chest plates etc...... :evil:
  11. but then again, 99% of Septics on believed that as soon as Saddam was caught the insurgency and resistance would stop, of course it didnt though, just as these elections wont change a thing.
    The resistance is there as they are opposed to the occupation of an Arab land by a Christian Army, all the election will do is put a US puppet govt in power which the resistance will not want there either.
    The whole thing has been a badly planned cluster based on lies and one upmanship from the start and I fear that itll never end.
    Would it have happened if Maggie had been on the 'throne' instead of the poodle bLiar?
  12. Filbert the opposition is against change - they want to bring back the Baath Party and others want some type of Sunni theocracy. The foreign insurgents are just tools. If the population was against occupation there would be fighting all over Iraq instead of just a couple of provinces. As an aside if there wasnt a war to fight the UK government would have cut alot more than just a few regiments. Maybe in time the British Army may resemble the Canadian Land Forces [9 battalions].
  13. No no no no no. And no again. That simplistic and incorrect world view has got US troops killed than any other. There is no single opposition. Until the US drops the ideological blinkers and assesses the objective realities at play you will continue to be surprised by events.

    There are many groups who have often wildly divergent views who wish to mould their part of the world into their desired end state. The current presence of the US gives them something to aim at but the fact that they are all shooting at you should not be taken as meaning they agree on anything else. Maybe the only other thing they agree on is that they decisively reject the US backed solution of a unified Iraq ruled by those currently acceptable to the US.

    The Ba'ath party - in terms of a coherent ideological entity - is dead and gone. It was Saddam's tool to rule the country and in his absence is no more. However, you do have a bunch of ruthless men who used to run the country via the party who'd rather like to do it again - but that is a very different thing to assuming they'd all like Mr big mustache back in power. It's not the CPSU - however treating it like it is merely serves to confirm to the locals that the US doesn't understand them at all.

    The latest news I saw was that elections were currently untenable in 4 out of 18 provinces - which is one decent metric for where the shooting is. However that is about half of the population.

    In the rest of the country the South and the North are quiet as the Shia and Kurds prepare for their part in the forthcoming civil war. They don't want to pick a fight as that would bleed off combat power they might need later. Indeed, parts of the Sunni areas are doing exactly the same - only fighting when their power base is threatened.

    Ironically such local efforts are about the only security ordinary Iraqis see - the US backed administration exists purely because the US backs it.

    The popular US myth that these deeply entrenched and often genuinely locally supported groups will suddenly back the US puppet regime post elections is unbelievably stupid. They will ignore the elections and carry on as normal. Any attempts by the new regime will be met by force - assuming they can recruit anyone that is - and the US will need to intervene or admit the regimes inability to govern.

    Of course you can always use tribal divisions to obtain troops but then all you've done is start the civil war early.
  14. BS !!!
    The 4 Sunni provinces account for 20% of the population. By the way these are the same people that did Saddam's dirty work. They provided the troops for the Republican Guard. They provided the officer corps and the agents for the internal terror network. After the fall of the government these people were in place. We didnt make any attempt to root them out until the insurgency began. The Shiite's form 60% of the population and the Kurds 20%. The Iranian's are at work to see an Iran style theocracy to hold. The majority of Shiites dont want to see this happen but we will see how the election shakes out. The hard part of this equation is how to bring the Sunni's into the fold while avoiding a civil war, one that the Sunni's will lose. While the Sunni's are a minority in Iraq they form majorities in Saudia Arabia and Syria and may not want to see another Iran in the making so fostering an insurgency is in their best interests.
  15. No offence but by relying on labels you've missed the point again. Sunni does not equate to insurgency, Shia does not equate to peaceful. And the Shia are by no means a homogenous group with a single world view. But none of them want a US backed administration. The Shia are keeping their heads down as they expect to win the elections and then do what they want, not what the US wants. At the first sign that the US is influencing things in any way then it all kicks off. And what they do want by and large is a religious state similar to Iran - not part of, there's a lot of bad feeling still about the war.

    But you're right in that the Iranians are hard at work - after GWB's last set of remarks they have everything to gain and nothing to lose by pouring petrol on the fire to bog the US down in Iraq. As long as the US commits so many troops to fight the insurgency they're relatively safe (barring the odd air raid, but just ask the Serbs how little effect that can have if you've prepared).

    Bluntly - and I would like to be proved wrong - I see a civil war on the horizon. The only way round this is to let all the various groups go their own way and even this may not work. The only real choice is whether or not the US cares to sit in the middle.