Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Strategy Page on Iraq Strategy Page on Iraq

I find that Strategy Page is one of the best resouces on figuring out what is really happening in Iraq. It is full of a lot of little, relevant factoids that are important to what is going on there. For example, I was surprised to learn that the Kurdish portion of Iraq was traditionally part of Turkey itself, and was appended to the new Iraq by the British when oil was found there - presumably in order to deprive the just defeated Turks of that revenue. This is very similar to those disuputed valleys that France obtained from Germany after the First World War. In both cases, part of the intent was to hobble the recovery of former enemies of that war, presumably to try to keep them from further agression (it apparently worked a lot better with Turkey than it did with Germany, which used their stolen land as part of their justification for their agression up to and in WWII).

Another interesting point made there is that a true civil war in Iraq is unlikely because the Sunni Arabs just don't have the power. Rather, it seems more like ethnic cleansing. Some 25% of the Sunni Arabs have fled since we went into Iraq, leaving them with somewhere around 15% of the population. That may have been enough if they still controlled the military and police, like they did for some 300 years, but they don't. The military and police are now almost exclusively composed of Shite Arabs and Sunni Kurds. So, you have 85% of the population with most of the guns against 15% of the population without as many guns. And, thus, my suggestion that it is closer to ethnic cleansing than a civil war. But also missed by the MSM is that most of the fighting is between Sunni Arab gangs and radical Shiite militias, being backed by Iran. The Shiite militias go into Sunni areas, grab and ultimately kill former Baathists, etc., and the Sunni Arab gangs retaliate through car bombing innocent civilians.

Finally, the MSM has missed the story that al Qaeda in Iran has been virtually destroyed since Abu Musab al Zarqawi was killed. As of June 16, nine days after the house he was hiding in was destroyed by two American bombs, a thousand al Qaeda suspects had been killed or captured. It wasn't the death of Zarkawi that did it, but rather the capture of his address book, combined with al Qaeda planning documents. Our military is trained to rapidly feed this sort of information to special units that take it, select prime targets, and immediately go and start rolling up networks. The pace of the al Qadea was so fast and furious that we had to rely on the Iraqi military for 1/3 of the raids. (BTW, this is also apparently one of the sources for the NSA targets in their foreign/international electronics surveilance program that has our civil libertarians so much up in arms).

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