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Another Iraqi Province "awakens"
Posted by: McQ on Friday, June 01, 2007

This is the fourth of the provinces located around Baghdad, in this case Babil province. Reported by Bill Roggio. Read it.
 
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Quagmire?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
McQ - Professor Erb must have slept in today. I’m surprised he has not pulled another "McQ, unwilling to consider that he might be wrong, finds a blog that supports his position."

Could it be he has learned a lesson?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
This seems more like an America Awakening as we learn about their culture the hard way, by experience. The jihadists continue to try to impose a universal Islamic ethos and establish a foothold for the Caliphate — only to alienate the population. Let’s hope the trend continues and we work within the character-nature of the people of the region while the jihadists blow it big time.
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
SShiell, I’ve learned long ago that McQ selectively tries to find any good news he can and posts it, as if that trumps all of the negative news. Moreover, this has been the way pro-war people have been approaching it for years now. Even when there was constant deterioration there would be a happy story now and then as evidence of an alleged "slow progress" that now clearly wasn’t evident. So I didn’t comment until you brought my name up because I sort of chuckled and said to myself "the guy is really trying hard to find something to help him keep the faith."

Given the preponderance of evidence that things in Iraq are not improving overall, I simply don’t find that kind of effort to seek out any possible bright spot as convincing — especially things this small. It’s not like it’s anything new that tribes are going against al qaeda, there have been reports of that for years. Also, this doesn’t reflect a shift to our side or support for America. There are some good things happening in Iraq in terms of tactical successes and efforts to reach out to insurgents to create truce conditions in certain locations. But that doesn’t change the fundamental problems which doom this strategy.

(And, of course, if I wanted to I could go over to antiwar.com, Raw Story, and a variety of blogs that have news against the war and bombard you with the negative stories and news). Wait and see. Some lessons I guess just have to be learned the hard way. Unfortunately every day it goes on, more lives are lost, families destroyed, and the country weakened.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This seems more like an America Awakening as we learn about their culture the hard way, by experience. The jihadists continue to try to impose a universal Islamic ethos and establish a foothold for the Caliphate — only to alienate the population. Let’s hope the trend continues and we work within the character-nature of the people of the region while the jihadists blow it big time.
It’s virtually inevitable. The idea of al qaeda creating a caliphate is absurd, they do not have the support or capacity to do so. If it wasn’t for the Iraq war, they’d already be the target of the secret police in every country, on the run. They aren’t strong, they’re weak. They can use terror to try to get attention and score propaganda points, but even if we left Iraq tomorrow al qaeda would find itself under attack by every state and just about every tribe in the region.

The real way to eliminate the threat completely is to find a way to deal with their base of operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be enough military capacity to do so, and our leverage with the Pakistanis has decreased dramatically. Why do you think that is?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Could it be he has learned a lesson?
Nope!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SShiell — I have to apologize. In reading McQ’s post he made no claims that this was bringing about success, he was just reporting some positive news about tribes fighting al qaeda. In responding to you I read things into his post that weren’t there. The information was useful, my first reply (to you) wasn’t well thought out. Sorry.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’ve learned long ago that McQ selectively tries to find any good news he can and posts it, as if that trumps all of the negative news. Moreover, this has been the way pro-war people have been approaching it for years now.
No, I think you misunderstand what McQ, myself, and other pro-military bloggers are doing.

It’s not that good news trumps all of the negative news, it provides balance and context with what one would find in the mainstream media.

There’s no need for McQ, or others to post about all the negative occurrences in Iraq, they’re on the front page of every newspaper and at the top of the hour in every newscast. "If it bleeds it leads," otherwise if it’s good news, it’s buried if it appears at all.

Now, that may or may not be done to serve an ideological agenda, it is certainly done for motives of profit. The more eyeballs the gain on their paper/broadcast, the more money they make. If they were actually presenting an objective view of Iraq, they would print the good, bad and ugly, as some few reporters have done from Iraq.

Michael Yon has an excellent post about some bad things which occurred recently, but does so in context. And BTW I didn’t see any results when I searched for "Ibrahim Hamid Jaza" the subject of the piece, on Yahoo News, or Reuters.
It’s not like it’s anything new that tribes are going against al qaeda, there have been reports of that for years. Also, this doesn’t reflect a shift to our side or support for America.
I think the significance of this report is that the Iraqi government and American military are working to provide the locals the support and official sanction they need to provide their own security. I don’t care if they don’t ’support’ the Americans, as long as they don’t work against us.

The other significance is that this completes the ring around Baghdad. One of the initial complaints about the "surge" was that it was pushing al Qaeda and some insurgents out into the countryside. Well, now security forces are being put in place (primarily through co-operation with local tribes) to deal with that. Now, some will argue that it might have been better to put the ring in place before working on the center, but such is the plan.

Progress is being made. Now, to counter your argument about posting good news, it would be easy to dismiss all progress because al Qaeda can still send out suicide bombers. While eliminating al Qaeda in Iraq is important, that isn’t the main thrust of the violence in Iraq. So, a real measure of success will be whether sectarian violence goes down, which will lead to greater day-to-day security.
The real way to eliminate the threat completely is to find a way to deal with their base of operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I do not believe al Qaeda has much of a base of operations in Afghanistan. The Taliban may be slightly resurgent, but that is more of a political/reconciliation problem.

As far as Pakistan goes, the partnership has always been tenuous at best. Musharraf and the government aren’t in control of their whole country, and there are divided loyalties. Besides which, Musharraf isn’t the sort of person I’d want to deal with long term. We ought to be doing more to push him towards reform.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
No, I think you misunderstand what McQ, myself, and other pro-military bloggers are doing.
Fair enough. I apologized above because I realized I had read into his post something that wasn’t there in my reaction to SShiell.

I still think the fundamental problem with the surge is that it doesn’t address the deep political and social-cultural problems which underlie Iraq’s nation wide problems and to which there is no military solution (except for authoritarianism, but that would be going in the wrong direction), and that our presence has negative effects both for national security/interests and in helping extremists recruit and maintain a kind of emotional appeal. I’ve gone into detail in that in responses to other posts so I won’t repeat myself here.

But any good news is welcome, and I think it is important to see that al qaeda has not become a movement with mass appeal, and instead generates local opposition. Pakistan is a difficult problem, and they’re really to blame for a lot of this since the Taliban was their creation, and they funneled aid to anti-Soviet Afghan fighters to the most extreme groups.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The jihadists continue to try to impose a universal Islamic ethos and establish a foothold for the Caliphate
The idea of al qaeda creating a caliphate is absurd, they do not have the support or capacity to do so.
And yet they continue to try...

Hitler had the dream of creating the Third Reich, to last 1000 years. The absurdity of the dream didn’t stop Hitler from trying.

And this is part of the "war of ideas" which McQ talked about earlier. This is what al Qaeda offers:

http://www.alsabaah.com/paper.php?source=akbar&mlf=interpage&sid=39289
Citizens of Diala province called the Govt. to intervene to prevent increasing domination of Qaeda organization on their areas and turning Diala cities to Taliban emirate. Citizens said that situation in cities of Baquba, uqdadyia, Khalis and Baldrooz alerts of major humanity disaster especially after issuing list of all forbidden by Qaeda as prevent working at governmental offices, prevent satellite and internet sets, estroying towers of mobile phones. While MP Saleem Abdullah said that PM Noori Maliki ordered to form panel of Diala MPs to provide solutions about returning security.
While we offer, rebuilding, autonomy, and hope for the future.

Further evidence of progress:

Now, granted Kurdistan was already semi-autonomous before we invaded, but still a positive step...
In a blaze of pomp showcasing Kurdish military muscle, US forces handed over responsibility for security in Iraq’s three northern provinces to the Kurdish regional government on Wednesday.

Iraq’s Kurds have long cherished separatist ambitions and, while officials said the region will work closely with the national government in Baghdad, the symbolism of the moment was not lost on the former guerrilla fighters.
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/bulletin_070601.htm
Meanwhile, the AP reports the US military is "working more aggressively to forge cease-fires with Iraqi militants and quell the violence around Baghdad, judging that 80 percent of enemy combatants are ’reconcilable,’" Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno said Thursday. The Financial Times notes Gen. Odierno "cautioned that he did not want to be ’too optimistic’ about the prospects for success," a point noted in USA Today. ABC World News reported, "So far, the talks have not included anyone tied to al Qaeda but General Odierno says he doesn’t rule that out." As a "price for peace the insurgents are demanding jobs, pension and amnesty for their fighters, including those who have killed Americans. That’s hugely controversy."
Well, as to the last point, at the end of a war, POW’s are generally released, unless they’ve committed war crimes, are they not?
I still think the fundamental problem with the surge is that it doesn’t address the deep political and social-cultural problems which underlie Iraq’s nation wide problems and to which there is no military solution
Well, I think if you read the article by Michael Yon, you will see that we are addressing some of the non-military problems.

For instance, by trying to ensure that some tribes aren’t over-represented in police forces. I find that many barriers are broken when people are forced to work together. So I think making sure the police force is mixed will have a positive long-term impact. Common goals also create a bond that can last past the achievement of the goal. Getting rid of al Qaeda in Iraq and the other extremists, should go a long way to fostering more understanding, and reconciliation between the various ethnic/tribal groups.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
This seems more like an America Awakening as we learn about their culture the hard way, by experience.
I absolutely agree Jason. In fact Michael Yon made that very point in the interview I participated in with him.

The bad news is it took so long to figure it out. The good news is, we seem to have done so and are now seeing progress.

The unknown is how much progress we’ll make in what amount of time and whether that will be enough to convince our political leaders to continue the mission or to instead abandon it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"If it wasn’t for the Iraq war, they’d already be the target of the secret police in every country, on the run."

Funny, when I read the newspapers, the stories seem to suggest that despite the Iraq war, they are the target of the secret police of every country, Syria and iran excepted.

Al Qaeda has been an enemy of the established regimes since wayyyyy before 9/11.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Keith, I respect that you see hopeful signs, but looking at the entire situation, well, Gen. McCaffrey, who still sees hope for success, I think gave a good list of problems:
"Iraq is ripped by a low-grade civil war, which has worsened to catastrophic levels. . . .

"Three million Iraqis are internally displaced or have fled the country . . . a huge brain drain that imperils the ability to to govern . . .

"There is no function of government that operates effectively across the nation . . .

"The police force is feared as a Shia militia in uniform . . .

"U.S. domestic support for the war in Iraq has evaporated and will not return."
I would add corruption, which I think is the biggest barrier to success, is evident at every level in Iraq, and thus makes any grand deals between the parties in power more symbolic than real. McCaffrey thinks that despite these there is hope, though he’s not exactly optimistic. He also doesn’t think September is soon enough.

If the optimists are right and this policy can work, I have strong doubts that it can work before domestic pressure at home will force a US withdrawl. If those of us who see the problems as so deep and political/social are right, then continued US presence does little to really help, and in fact weakens us and aids extremists by giving them an easy to hate foreign invader. In both cases, wouldn’t be best to start the process of trying to build regional support to assure that Iraq doesn’t collapse when we leave, and to avoid a regional Sunni-Shi’ite war. That kind of regional conflict could only benefit groups like al qaeda who need chaos and violence/war to be around to have a chance to grow. One lesson in this is that we can’t really defeat al qaeda in Iraq. But the tribes there can, and both the insurgents and Shi’ite military/militias hate al qaeda as well. Al qaeda’s tactic to avoid this will be to try to inspire wider sectarian warfare.

That’s why, whether we start leaving or keep the surge growing, I think we need some Realpolitik and detente/containment (for Iran and Syria) in the short term just to stabilize the situation.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I would add corruption, which I think is the biggest barrier to success, is evident at every level in Iraq, and thus makes any grand deals between the parties in power more symbolic than real.
Which is why I think local deals and involvement mean more.

Corruption exists in nearly every human institution, to some extent or another. It’s whether the "culture of corruption", or the rule of law is institutionalized, which will make the difference. That’s why the story by Michael Yon, holds significant weight. We have to show the Iraqis that, if they don’t follow the rule of law, they will be subject to punishment, despite the good they may be doing.
In both cases, wouldn’t be best to start the process of trying to build regional support to assure that Iraq doesn’t collapse when we leave, and to avoid a regional Sunni-Shi’ite war.
Which we are slowly starting to do. I think the slowness is part stubbornness, and part waiting for the right conditions. For instance, without proof of Iran’s complicity in helping the terrorists and insurgents, we can’t deal with their current role, let alone their future role.
Al qaeda’s tactic to avoid this will be to try to inspire wider sectarian warfare.
Which has always been their tactic. And which can be successful if there isn’t a strong non-sectarian security force to restrain the more sectarian forces.

Gen. McCaffrey’s report is 2 months old right now, not that the concerns aren’t relevant. But I would be interested to hear what he says in another month.

None of the problems mentioned in his report are insurmountable. But it will take time, and that, as everyone agrees, is something that is running out. If the situation in Iraq improves (resulting in less US casualties,) and the improvement is reported widely in the US media, then I think you’ll see support swing the other way.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Keith, corruption is considered the biggest obstacle to stability and development in any country. That’s one thing I agreed with Wolfowitz when he took over the World Bank — his focus on corruption. Corruption destroys efforts to democratize, especially when linked to sectarian differences (Nigeria’s problems are a good example.) This real and devastating problem can’t be just poo-poo’d by saying there’s some corruption everywhere. I read I think in the Economist that Iraq is the most corrupt state, followed by Nigeria and then Russia. This is a real problem and if not solved it really makes a stable Iraq unlikely.

I really don’t see how you can be so optimistic to think that in a month there will be major changes, the reports given here are very localized and haven’t really made a change in the overall problem of militias, insurgents, and ineffective government. This policy is going to continue (and I hope you’re right that the steps towards dealing with the neighbors are real), so I guess we have to wait and see.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Your home page its great
 
Written By: Neil
URL: http://www.google.com/
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