Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Back to Iraq: All Quiet On the Eastern Front

The past few days have been strangely quiet, discounting the one IED killing one and wounding two others and the attempted kidnapping and successful kidnapping of some Arab foreign ambassadors, it's been eerily quiet on the eastern front.

Massive suicide bombings are down.

Anyone that has been paying attention to the insurgency knows that this does not mean they are done, down or out. As a matter of fact, ever since some jack ass analyst on television asked that foolish question about whether the insurgents could pull off a "tet offensive" that is exactly what I've been worried about. Certainly, I don't think these insurgents can pull off anything of that scale, but they can attempt to do massive attacks, large scale across Iraq. I worry about it more whenever the news organization "analysts" make such comments because it inevitably winds up as a tactic.

On the other hand, I've been hoping that the large scale operations across Iraq and the insistent collecting of top operations officers might be stemming the tide and ability to let off the "big ones". At the same time, Sunni factions are attempting to negotiating with the government.

Looking at the Afghan model, particularly Tora Bora, my guess is that we've been getting too close to the leadership elements left in Iraq. Odds are, certain elements have been seeking egress out of Iraq or to safe areas in order to regroup and re-organize for attack.

One thing can be gleaned from the pick up of so many high value targets, our intelligence is getting better. Not perfect, but better. I expect that part of the "re-organization" and "regrouping" includes a shake up of certain relationships, security details and re-evaluating safe houses. That goes from the top down. Even the IED and VBIED cells must be worried about anyone they come in contact with.

Also, as with in the days of Zarqawi's reported injury and possible death, with leadership elements being picked off, there will be struggles for leadership, the need to re-establish logistics and supply lines as well as questioning orders and expectations will give the Iraqis another day or two of respite. Not that I expect any rest from either the IP, Iraqi military or Coalition forces.

I expect to see at least one or two more large operations against known areas of insurgent activity to keep the insurgents off balance and get the Iraqi forces in place and able to take advantage of relationships they build in these communities, as tentative as they may be.

Some good analysis at Winds of Change on the attacks on foreign dignataries as well as a four part analysis of the insurgency that looks like mine but with better detail.

Cordesman's Analysis: part IV
Profile terrorists
Qaim Brain Drain

Review Winds of Change for parts 1, 2 and 3 of Cordesman's Analysis

Other things that you didn't hear on the MSM Iraqi's in Mosul demonstrate against terrorism estimated 1000 - 1500 attend in the heart of Sunni Mosul.

Further, there are discussions about the constitution containing too much reference to the role of Islam for some folks and another Iraqi blogger weighs in here. And, 15 Sunni join Constitution process.

And, despite attacks by insurgents, another power station is on line.

Don't expect that this is the "last throes" of the insurgency, but I expect they are getting somewhat tired.

PS...If you want to know what's going on in Iraq, watch the news and read yahoo or ap or any other news source. No, this isn't a plug for these guys, I mean that you should see what they aren't saying. The insurgency wants to grab headlines. That's their schtick. They aren't militarily capable of pulling off battles that result in mass casualties of other armed forces. We know that because they've been targeting infrastructure and civilians almost exclusively for months now.

What you see in the news is once a day, usually around 3 pm CST American because that is midnight Iraqi time and the news agencies have received their daily dispatches and organize them into information as they come in. In the last two years, the insurgents were timing their attacks for early to mid morning Iraq time, middle of the night for us, so that we could see the casualty reports and carnage with our coffee and breakfast.

It is now 7 AM CST and the news is reporting Olympic city selection, repeated minute detail of the Groene case from Idaho, reprisals of Natalie Holloway's mother's plea that no one accept the suspects released into their country if they try to leave and some protesters are in Aruba protesting Mrs Holloway-Twitty's remarks against their judicial system. Reprisal of attacks on diplomats in Iraq.

What does that tell you? If the insurgents were capable, they'd make sure we had much more to dine on with our toast and coffee.

Before that it was Michael Jackson ad naseum.

You will not see the "good news" out of Iraq ever so the only gauge a sane person can use is the lack of news.

The other tell-tale is the press release by Zarqawi that he was creating an "Iraqi" only suicide contingent. As usual, this news is not for us. This is for two groups of people:

1) Sunni's supporting the insurgency in Iraq; he is hoping to tell them that their brothers have not given up and are even more committed to the insurgency; he is also telling them that it is not "foreigners" that are fighting this war, but Iraqis, hoping to regain some legitimacy lost in the continual attacks on civilians and local hosting tribes/towns that his henchmen have put under the boot.

2) The "Arab Street". In countries across the ME, the question of whether this is really a fight for their youngmen to go off and do jihad on behalf of their Muslim brothers when said Muslim brothers appear to be happy to embrace democracy, their new elected government, committ to negotiations and be turning in the jihadists more and more (they don't like any foreigners, not just Americans, coming in to mess with their country). Some young men will be committed to jihad one way or the other because of their romantacized idea of jihad/war as opposed to some ideological adherence to the great Pan Islamist Caliphate Zarqawi and others want to create.

One cannot discount that good propaganda actually tries to turn a bad situation, spin it, as it were, to their advantage. So, what does a call for Iraqi suicide brigade mean? Occam's razor. With continuing operations up and down the Euphrates, the Syrian border and in known hotbeds for the insurgency, the ability to transport would be jihadists into Iraq must be getting difficult. Plus, Syria just announced the pick up of a known Ba'athist organizing the "resistance". Psychologically, this must be tough on recruiting outside forces. There was also a recent 6 page interview with an Iraqi would be suicider in the Times magazine. What else is that but an attempt by the insurgents to put an Iraqi face on the insurgency and an obvious attempt by Zarqawi's group to get free publicity for the joys of suicide martyrdom.

Recruitment must be in as shitty shape for the insurgents as some in America are claiming for our own military.

Last, Zarqawi's recent statement also contended that the Americans were cowards. Again, not a message to us, but to his men in the field. My guess would be that some are questioning the types of attacks and the purpose considering it has not resulted in any change in troops, operations or perserverence on the part of the President in prosecuting this war.

Even insurgent commanders must be getting tired of doing the same things and seeing no change in the course of politics, military activity or civil society. They are probably questioning the attacks on civilians as well and not enough activity against the coalition. So, Zarqawi says the coalition is cowardly to re-enforce that their continuing tactics of going out "in force", using armored vehicles and knocking on insurgent doors in the middle of the night keeps them from being attacked effectively.

Propaganda, propaganda, propaganda.

Almost Baghdad Bob like.

Of course, there will be some fools in the US and abroad who will see this as "the truth".

I guess one will see what one wants to, heh?

Speaking of fools, I caught Ellis whatever on O'Reilly last night talking about the Move America Forward planned trip to take Reporters to Iraq to find out "what's really going on". Of course, he was complaining that any such trip negated the viability of the reporting and it would be propaganda. He went on to say that the best reporting is always free of government or ideologically based influence or support.

I almost laughed my ass off. Seriously, that had to be the best hypocrasy I've heard in a long time. He also said something about the reporting from Iraq should be "free press" for the best and most "truthful" representation. All I wanted to do was jump through the screen and ask Mr. Ellis Whatever if this was true, where the hell are the reporters?

We know. They're in the green zone getting military press releases.

They are so idoelogically pure they won't even embed with the military for safety and still try to get some perspective other than the sentence blurbs released by the military. Now, who is relying on propaganda?

So, Mr. Ellis Whatever, nice idea. Your folks should try it once in awhile. Get out there and report. Might do wonders for the ratings of these other cable news organizations. I am wondering mostly, from the hysterical comments from the left leaning press about "propaganda" and "lack of journalistic credentials" (gee...where have we heard that before), what are these folks afraid of? That they didn't think of it first and continue to be cut out of the dialogue about Iraq? Again, why aren't they going? Afraid of being kidnapped and beheaded by the vaunted "minutemen"?

I hate to bring up this name, but I recall during the Kosovo and Bosnia affair watching Christian Amanpour ducking bullets and telling us about the atrocities there.

I don't like Christian Amanpour ideologically, but for guts, she used to have some. Can't really be said for her successors.

Until then, I think we're smart enough to know if somebody is pulling the wool over our eyes. I mean, we did stop watching CNN and MSN, didn't we?


Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I get too frustrated to even vocalize my opinion sometimes when I take any sort of a deep look at how this counterinsurgency effort has been carried out and commanded out in the field. Suffice it to say that a good solid reliable informant network is the absolute premium which should trump all other considerations in the area, and if there are not sophisticated clandestine means for citizens to inform on who and where the terrorists are, the U.S. commanders are WRONG. Firepower and "boots on the ground" get us nothing if we don't know where to POINT them. We also have to keep our eye on the ball when it comes to the cleanliness and non-corruption of the local police and security forces.

What I see too often are patrols that passively invite ambush by their regularity; overt demands for citizens to publicly inform on their fellow citizens at the risk of their own life; and looking the other way when local Iraqi forces give in to the temptation to play little Hitlers with the newfound power they've stepped into.

We've gotta win this, but we're not getting there using the tactics we're using right now. Bush is better than Kerry as an option for the top slot, but he needs to feel some pressure from us to give pressure to Rummy to give "support and guidance" to the field commanders for those tactics which will WORK. If not, it will hand victory over to America's enemies, both abroad in a physical sense, and at home in a political sense.

DaKruser said...

Well spoken, both of you. You both know I'm not a supporter of the present Administration, and I'm not even sure that Bush was the "lesser of two evils" although they both were certainly evils....
THANK you to someone else who suggests that someone tell Rummie this isn't HIS war, and that WE THE PEOPLE *shameless reference to your last post Kat* are the ones in charge here. WE deserve to be told what is going on THE PEOPLE need to go beyond this past election in establishing concensus for this action. Yet no one should ever think that we have any doubt about establishing a Democraticly Elected Gov't in Iraq...(even if it isn't the one we really wanted)...