Across the Bay

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Caveman Analysis!

Rich Anderson of the Beirut-based "Bliss Street Journal" shares his thoughts on a recent post by Wretchard and an analytical piece in Newsweek on the Iraqi insurgency.

Richard, a former Marine, has some interesting things to say, especially when it comes to the US military. But here's a slice on Saddam, the Baathist insurgency, and the Jihadis:

    [Saddam] probably also understood that once he had to go underground and the trappings of his authoritarian rule had to disperse in unpredictable ways, the Baath would begin to lose control of the conduct of any insurgency that developed, and hence the chances for a Baath resurgence would be unlikely the longer American forces remained. Hence, the focus was on creating as much chaos as possible - and consequently enough "Blackhawk Down"-style casualty reports courtesy of CNN - and maybe the American public would lose their stomach for the war and demand that the troops come home. This is why the Baath didn't seem to mind - and probably encouraged - the involvement of this mujahedin cocktail that's to blame for making things so dangerous there.

And here's another:

    I still maintain that the main turning points in this counterinsurgency effort will not be military victories, though. However, this does not eliminate or somehow diminish the role of the U.S. army in winning against the insurgency. On the contrary- the insurgency will be defeated because of the U.S. Army, but probably not by the direct actions of the army. From Bosnia, the army learned that if it developed a partnership with local authorities and made them feel that they were the most important part of the task of managing their own affairs, they were more than happy to facilitate stabilization of their areas and rarely obstructed the process. Hence, Bosnia pacified rather quickly, in spite of dealing with difficulties similar to what exists in Iraq - a lack of a government with any kind of a mandate, for instance, as well as the inclusion of a minority population that sought (and still seeks to some extent) to carve out its own private Fatah-land (the Serbs).

Recommended reading, especially if you're interested in the US military and military stuff in general.

For more on the Baathi-Islamist marriage of convenience in Iraq, see this piece by Scheherezade Faramarzi.