An inside look at the war in Iraq

Strategy Page:

... most people believe al Qaeda in Iraq is finished. After boasting last Fall that they would establish a safe zone in western Iraq, and failing to do anything close to that, the Islamic terrorists lost whatever credibility they had left. Most of the terrorist bombings these days are the work of Iraqi Sunni Arab organizations, who still believe that if you make the Iraqi Shia Arabs mad enough, they will get so nasty that neighboring Sunni Arab nations will feel compelled to invade. This plan has split the Sunni Arab nationalists, mainly because the invasion shows no sign of happening, and the brighter terrorists point out that the Saudi army is unlikely to win against the Americans. In a trend that began two years ago, Sunni Arab factions are continuing to battle each other. U.S. troops stand aside when they encounter "Red-on-Red" fighting, then deal with the winner.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Shia Arab militias, especially the Sadr forces (the Mahdi Army), have lost whatever unity and discipline they once had. Factionalism has taken over as several of Sadr's lieutenants compete for popularity and territory by driving Sunni Arabs out of Baghdad neighborhoods. Most of Iraq's Sunni Arabs have been chased from their homes since 2003, and that process has accelerated in the last year. The Iraqi Sunni Arabs are quite wealthy compared to Iraqi Shia, and the Shia gangs have been fighting each other over the loot, and the power. Gang war, literally, because many of the militiamen moonlight as gangsters (or vice versa).

While the number of terror bombings has been declining in the past year, the crime rate has not, and most people in central Iraq are looking forward to the "Battle for Baghdad." Brigades of troops are arriving from the Kurdish north and Shia south, and more American troops can be seen on the streets. There are more raids in Baghdad. But all the average Iraqi wants is safer streets, fewer kidnappings and a little peace and quiet....

Many exiles carry a sense of shame with them. What they flee is not the violence of "foreign occupiers," but of lawless Iraqis and foreign terrorists. Iraqis are running away from Arab criminals and fanatics....
The Arab culture continues to be dysfunctional, but the enemy is not winning this war in Iraq. His best hope is still to win it in Congress where Democrats are desperate for a US defeat.


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