Wednesday, June 08, 2005

State of the Insurgency Part VI:

Splitting It Open

Today's news is an interesting paradox of good and bad. Monday had seen very little activity in the way of explosions and killings. One car bomb, some sectarian assassinations, one "revenge" killing of an ex-Ba'athi and some criminal activity.

Tuesday was different. Defying my original estimate, the insurgents were able to coordinate quicker than I had originally anticipated and organize multiple attacks, four days earlier than I predicted. Interestingly, the military bloggers stationed in Iraq had noted that Monday was much too quiet, like the quiet before the storm. They were correct.

Opposite of these planned attacks, news came that two groups were willing to open talks:

Former electricity minister Ayham al-Samarie told The Associated Press the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of Mujahedeen — or holy warriors — were ready to open talks with the Shiite-led government aimed at eventually joining the political process.

The claim appears consistent with comments from a senior Shiite legislator, Hummam Hammoudi, who told the AP last week the government had opened indirect channels of communication with some insurgent groups.

Interestingly, while the Sunni Association of Muslim scholars continue to decry the recent actions of rounding up insurgents and insist it is causing hard feelings within the populace, it cannot be noted strongly enough that this action may have precipitated these organizations desire to join the political process and avoid being thrown into prison as their organization is depleted. Coupled with the question of Zarqawi's continuing ability to lead in light of recent news and it may have caused many to reconsider their prospects.

Either way, if it is possible to bring in parts of these organizations or the organizations as a whole, it will have an effect on the insurgency. How much is a speculation on anyone's part.

As reminded by commenter mavenette, these groups are not one large organization, but many smaller ones that cooperate and make up the whole. When one falls, another may be there to take its place. Also, each group, like the Army of Islam, is made up of even smaller groups, some of which may break off and continue their efforts.

What's important is "whittling away" at the groups, splitting them open and, hopefully, leaving the active ones weaker with less support financially, logistically and within the population.

I expect that these talks may go on for two to four weeks before any real progress is made. The groups coming in from the cold will want guarantees that may be difficult for the government to give considering the amount of damage and the anger among their constituents over the attacks that these groups have perpetuated.

It will be interesting to see what occurs in the next month.

One thing I wonder about, considering that the Association of Muslim Scholars always seem to have their fingers on the pulse of the insurgency, able to negotiate releases of hostages, etc, I must wonder if we have this group sufficiently under surveillance?

How would one go about doing that in Iraq?.

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