Will Iraq ever stabilise?

Zoid

Old-Salt
#1
Following the events in Iraq over the last years, months and weeks, it increasingly seems to me that there is just no bloody way that the security situation can ever be stable. I'm not talking about our bit down south, where things are reasonably ok (in some respects its almost like a seperate principality, different population, better hearts and minds campaign etc), but the rest of the country as a whole.

The US has recently lauched a big offensive in the Western provinces, and has killed a-plenty, by the sounds of it. Seems like they've lost more troops too. I'm sure there have also been plenty of civilian casualties caught in the crossfire.

But what good has it done - how did the insurgents respond? By blowing the crap out of loads of people all over the country today, equalling the death toll the US troops have inflicted.

For the last couple of weeks, bombings have been multiple daily occurences. The coalition members are leaving the sinking ship - I'll be very surprised if we don't get off the bandwagon very soon, leaving only a token presence. Once we go, the US will be quagmired in all on their own, pretty much, and world opinion will get even worse than it is now.

Now, I know the media campaign is relentless in slagging the whole Iraq thing and overdoes only the bad. But, lets be honest, the security situation is just getting worse. There seems to be no shortage of suicide buffoons and no shortage of bombs. It is very much the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, and look how that ended. Same thing is occuring in Iraq against the US - in my opinion, they are now getting their comeuppance for all the CIA meddling they have done in the past in other peoples affairs. In this case, other third party countries are fuelling the insurgency instead.

The whole appointment of the new government is farcical, it's completely puppet and ineffective, which is just winding up every neighbour in the Middle East.

The only thing I can see happening in Iraq is that the US will eventually withdraw under some bullshit excuse saying that the Iraqi government is now in control. The insurgency will continue, and the whole place will remain lawless for the next few decades as the natural power vacuum struggles to be filled.

What do you all reckon? Agree or disagree?
 
#2
I've been wondering about the claims of civilian casualities since the war. The figure of 100,000 deaths in Iraq comes from a Lancet study:

We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period.
The meaning of the figures in bold means that the researchers are 95% sure that the death toll lies between 8,000 and 194,000, and they then just picked the mid-point to suit... This is patently rediculous and epidemiologically bollox. If they can't get their 95% confidence interval to a reasonably narrow range (like 20-30% or something, not 2325%), it's p1ssing into the wind. In any case, 100,000 is 3-4 Dresdens, and we haven't carpet bombed anywhere, let alone civilian population centres.

Statistically worthless, but it grabs a headline, eh? Unlike the British estimates which say between 14,160 and 16,289 (i.e. within 15% of each other)...

sourceother source
 
#3
Zoid said:
The coalition members are leaving the sinking ship - I'll be very surprised if we don't get off the bandwagon very soon, leaving only a token presence.
Can't see Bliar doing that - everyone else hates us because we went there with the Spams. Also, the Brits don't give into terrorism - we stick it out - a la NI.
 
#4
No, not until we pull out.

Quick civil war and Arab type bloodletting, then the ruling survivors come back to us with their hands out.

They won't stop, it's a holy war against the infidel crusader, and frankly this latest attempt at a Government is bollox. Chalabi is in it FFS , what message does that send out?

The Government is perceived to be in America's pocket, and is rammed full of Park Lane and Mayfair resistance heroes.

Let's give them the free and fair elections, and haul.
 

Zoid

Old-Salt
#5
goatbagthedruid said:
Zoid said:
The coalition members are leaving the sinking ship - I'll be very surprised if we don't get off the bandwagon very soon, leaving only a token presence.
Can't see Bliar doing that - everyone else hates us because we went there with the Spams. Also, the Brits don't give into terrorism - we stick it out - a la NI.
Ah yes, but NI is a domestic affair. Iraq is not so much about terrorism, more an invasion of a foreign sovereign nation to further our own (or US) interests and dealing with the resistance - like the Russians in Afghanistan. The US went there because it had been laying the groundwork (read - excuse to go in) for years. To that end, I feel that to leave is not so much about giving in to terrorism, but getting out of the way and concentrating the efforts against the real terrorists who are planning attacks against the western world on our turf, a fact that largely seems to have been forgotten since we went to Iraq. It'll only take another "spectacular" to refocus everyones efforts.

The whole affair has hurt Blair badly and the UK people are opposed to it all. Even though we are well in with the Spams, I think we'll have a gradual drawdown to the point where we are only providing SF, office based and air support - a token presence to show willing.
 

Zoid

Old-Salt
#6
stoatman said:
I've been wondering about the claims of civilian casualities since the war. The figure of 100,000 deaths in Iraq comes from a Lancet study:

We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period.
The meaning of the figures in bold means that the researchers are 95% sure that the death toll lies between 8,000 and 194,000, and they then just picked the mid-point to suit... This is patently rediculous and epidemiologically bollox. If they can't get their 95% confidence interval to a reasonably narrow range (like 20-30% or something, not 2325%), it's p1ssing into the wind. In any case, 100,000 is 3-4 Dresdens, and we haven't carpet bombed anywhere, let alone civilian population centres.

Statistically worthless, but it grabs a headline, eh? Unlike the British estimates which say between 14,160 and 16,289 (i.e. within 15% of each other)...

sourceother source
Not sure on the amount, but one thing is certain - it'll continue to rise. What I wonder is how many have been caused by the insurgents, and how many by the US troops........
 
#7
Seems like the insurgents are quite keen on increasing the local body counts.

What remains to be seen is that as the Iraqi security forces gain more confidence and skill, they will be at the fore of counter insurgency ops, not US/UK. Good news is that they are not bound by EU human rights legislation, ambulance chasing lawyers and a hostile media.

The key thing is that there has to be an Iraqi solution to an Iraqi problem - not one imposed by us. (Sorry, altered a TE Lawrence phrase there). Only they will dictate whether or not their country stabilises.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#8
Zoid -

If you are trying to bait people here, you've come to the wrong place.

Almost all casualties in recent days have been caused by the insurgents, and they are simply intent on killing Iraqis - the Coalition Forces are too likely to shoot back. The IIG insist that not one of the homicide bombers has yet been shown to be an Iraqi - they are ALL people pulled in for the chance to die in a Jihad against the west, but who end up killing fellow Arabs. This is why the US is keen, for example, to close the border to Syria if at all possible.

Sad, but not surprising. I wish the Iraqi people the best of luck - they need it, along with plenty of support from us.
 
#9
Its only been two years since the invasion, even less since an iraqi govt. has been formed. A very short time, historically and politically. Although it might seem, due to constant news coverage, like some never-ending bloodbath.

Despite its problems the new iraqi govt is reasonably popular, and the insurgancy is lossing popularity , esp. as it is Iraqis, rather than Americans, who take most of the casulties.

As the coalition leaves and iraqi's take over their own security support for the insurgents should decrease further.

It make take 5 years or so, but 5 years isn't a long time when your making a new country, and dealing sectarian/ethnic devides going back hundreds of years.
 
#10
OldSnowy said:
Zoid -

If you are trying to bait people here, you've come to the wrong place.

Almost all casualties in recent days have been caused by the insurgents, and they are simply intent on killing Iraqis - the Coalition Forces are too likely to shoot back. The IIG insist that not one of the homicide bombers has yet been shown to be an Iraqi - they are ALL people pulled in for the chance to die in a Jihad against the west, but who end up killing fellow Arabs. This is why the US is keen, for example, to close the border to Syria if at all possible.

Sad, but not surprising. I wish the Iraqi people the best of luck - they need it, along with plenty of support from us.
Not trying to bait anyone, just expressing an opinion thats all. Fact - if we had not gone in in the first place, many, many less people would've been killed no matter which side they are on. Fact - if we'd spent all the money used in the campaign thus far in improving intelligence and going after the real target (AQ and support), the world would be a safer place all round.

I too wish the Iraqi people the best of luck. But it is our fault they are in this situation - try to console someone whose family have all been blown up. Might have been a crappy life under Saddam, but chances are it would have been a life at least - and really, why did we need to go there? Saddam was never a credible threat in the big picture. Just meddling in other peoples affairs and being profit driven was the reason.

The bombers have not been shown to be Iraqis. I'm not surprised, given that there is nothing left of them once they've gone up - aside from that point, that pretty much proves that we've just opened the floodgates and allowed foreign fighters to carry on their jihad and kill people they otherwise wouldn't have.

Sure, it's early days - but again, looking at the bigger picture, there is more potential to destabilise the region long term than anything else.
 
#11
What on earth is a "homicide bomber" ? I've never heard that before.

I don't know of many bombs which aren't intended to kill, aside from those percussion bombs those ETA nutjobs plant from time to time.

Almost all casualties in recent days have been caused by the insurgents, and they are simply intent on killing Iraqis - the Coalition Forces are too likely to shoot back. The IIG insist that not one of the homicide bombers has yet been shown to be an Iraqi - they are ALL people pulled in for the chance to die in a Jihad against the west, but who end up killing fellow Arabs. This is why the US is keen, for example, to close the border to Syria if at all possible.
Where did you get this from? I'm not denying it's true, but around 6 months ago a member of the interim Iraqi government admitted on the quiet that they estimate the percentage of the insurgents being non-Iraqi at about 10-15%.
 
#12
Living in Germany, it is seen a bit different, and we are fortunate that the Bundeswehr was kept out of it. A large amount of Germans I talk to are pro-arab and want the Americans out because they see it as an illegal war ( and before you flame me, read the next line!)

Although as a former Brit, I try to see it from the other angle too, I am so glad that the British Forces seem to have their area under control in the south. It pains me every time I hear about a Brit KIA.

The Brits seem to have that "something" that the Americans don´t have?
Difficult for me to put into words, but perhaps someone else can?

In Germany it is often mentioned that Iraq is America´s second Vietnam, I can see the Americans pulling out one day and the civil-war carrying on.
Perhaps the Basra province will brake-away and stay friendly to Britain?

Cheers, Bill.
 
#13
The US administration's statements on what Iraq's neighbours should do are seen by them as threats. They fear that they will be attacked by the US once the US has enough troops to do so. Hence tying US troops down in Iraq by covert ops, funding the locals and funding jihadis is seen as in their national interest.

Once again the Americans demonstrate their complete lack of empathy for any worldview that differs from their own. And their soldiers are dying because of it. It doesn't matter how much military power you control if you can't get inside people's minds and stop them wanting to come over and blow themselves up just to make you bleed. Unless you kill them all and raise a pile of skulls.
 
#14
A page and a half of arguments, too much for me.
Is this recent Surge of the insurgents a final fling?
It may be a big push before their own people start 'Running' the security side of matters and they will not be so tolerant of 'western' methods with Western media presant.
Locals know who many of the killers are and with Arabs vengence is a way of life. Blood fueds are still common in this part of the world and Revenge is demanded, usually by the old 'past' it men who wind up the young lads.
Much more blood will be spent and eventually the Iraqis will get back to their own system, of Justice. Abu's Grave will be nothing compared with what they will do to each other and the democracy of King George II will go the way of democratic states that the US supports, er Egypt Turkey.
john
 
#15
Zoid said:
...The only thing I can see happening in Iraq is that the US will eventually withdraw under some bullshit excuse saying that the Iraqi government is now in control. The insurgency will continue, and the whole place will remain lawless for the next few decades as the natural power vacuum struggles to be filled.

What do you all reckon? Agree or disagree?
Well, I disagree.

Why don't you just come out and say the United States of America once again is completely screwed up and should be destroyed in toto? We inherited this problem, not make it. We applied our solution and our methodology. Don't like it? Rally all the good folk, destroy us, and devise a better way.

My family and I literally bet our lives every single day on the US strategy in OIF and OEF; so I'm not sitting on the sidelines rendering an opinion. One bad decision or a bit of bad luck, and myself, my spouse or one of our children will die. We're a military family which means our profession is war; every one of us.

We're very much aware of the danger and situation in Iraq, and it does not jibe with your assessment. I don't agree with all of my government's policies or decisions, nor am I a jack-booted automaton; but Iraq was "a long time coming". WMD notwithstanding, I can think two or three very good reasons to hammer that regime into air pollution.

And it should've be done years ago.
 
#16
Tracey-Paul,

I think that is a rather narrow view. While I agree kicking out Hussein was a good move the mess there now could and should have been avoided. I do believe the US created the problem in one fowl swoop by disbanding the Iraqi Army. I think that was THE major mistake that led to the current unrest. It created a situation where lots of trained young men with weapons became unemployed – the recipe for civil unrest. Just look at any insurgency in the world and you will see exactly those causes.
 
#18
Worked with Iraqi Security Forces on a TELIC. They are a good bunch and relatively motivated.

However, as Ord_Sgt said, the worst thing that they did after the invasion... err sorry, liberation.... was disband the army. It allowed weapons under control of a disciplined organisation to be dispersed amongst the population, some of which ended up in the hands of the WHABBI (non-Iraqis), some of which will be being used against the US/UK.

Well done Spams
 
#19
Ord_Sgt said:
Tracey-Paul,

I think that is a rather narrow view. While I agree kicking out Hussein was a good move the mess there now could and should have been avoided. I do believe the US created the problem in one fowl swoop by disbanding the Iraqi Army. I think that was THE major mistake that led to the current unrest. It created a situation where lots of trained young men with weapons became unemployed – the recipe for civil unrest. Just look at any insurgency in the world and you will see exactly those causes.
I'll be the first to tell you that you're right, we should have kept the military intact. Patton wanted to do the same thing with the Wermacht and SS after WW2. SACEUR said 'no', and Germany suffered from insurgents for about two years before things started to settle down.

We're seeing the same thing here. The 'conventional' wisdom in Iraq was the only part of the Iraqi Army left intact was the deserters. Keep in mind, the Iraqi Army all but ceased to exist during the campaign.

I am compelled to ask: As ineffective as the Iraqi Army was during the conventional phase of the operation, what indication did we have they'd be any more effective in counter-insurgency? IMHO, we should've kept them around and retrained from the get-go. For whatever political logic, the IA was disbanded and then rebuilt from the ground up. A large part of the IA are from Regular and Rep Guard Units, so the infrastructure is still there. The new cadre has much greater responsibilities and authority than under the old regime.

From a larger geo-political viewpoint, the US inherited the colonial partitioning imposed by European powers; and all of its attendant problems. It didn't work 80 years ago, and still doesn't to this day.
 
#20
belt_fed_wombat said:
...It allowed weapons under control of a disciplined organisation to be dispersed amongst the population, some of which ended up in the hands of the WHABBI (non-Iraqis), some of which will be being used against the US/UK.

Well done Spams
Of course, you voiced your concerns to Coalition HQ, told them what they were doing wrong, and had an alternate solution?

In anyone wants the job as the Alpha Country in Iraq, send a letter to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with your resume attached...
 

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