Trends in Iraq

Strategy Page:

Some interesting trends in the battle for Iraq. The government offensive throughout central (Sunni Arab) Iraq is largely being fought by Iraqi troops. American forces are almost always nearby, and American advisors go in with the Iraqis, to advise, not supervise. But it's mainly an Iraqi show.

This offensive has had three effects on the battle with Sunni Arab diehards.

First, it has killed hundreds of Sunni Arab gunmen, including dozens of al Qaeda foreigners. This included the capture of tons of weapons, bomb making material, other equipment and documents (paper or electronic on laptop hard drives). Prisoners and documents are quickly squeezed for additional information by an intelligence organization that has evolved into a highly effective "lead (to the next raid targets) generating machine." This American intel effort doesn't get the credit it deserves, but that's the nature of intel work, and the way the intel people prefer it.

Second, it has forced the terrorists to largely withdraw operations from Baghdad, and concentrate their remaining suicide bombers against targets in the suburbs, or in other areas of central Iraq where this new campaign is being fought. The terrorists have redoubled their efforts to trigger a civil war between Sunni Arabs and Shia Arabs, even as their supply of suicide bombers declines....

Third, the ongoing violence has caused a shift in Sunni Arab attitudes. Not a big one, they still believe they should be running Iraq. But there is a kind of resignation. While the Americans have not turned out to be invincible, they have been unbeatable. And the Shia Arab government gets stronger and stronger. Neighboring Sunni Arab states have not made any overt moves to aid the Sunni Arab Iraqis. Indeed, the neighboring countries openly condemn the Sunni Arab terrorism....

...

The Sunni's are a fractured lot who fight among themselves as much as they fight the majority in Iraq and the US. They are incapable of winning and have become like a dog chasing a car with no idea what they would do if they caught it.

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