June 26, 2005


Iraqi insurgency lacks ingredients for success (Max Boot, 6/27/05, CS Monitor)

The rebels lack a unifying organization, ideology, and leader. There is no Iraqi Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, or Mao Zedong. The top militant is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who has alienated most of the Iraqi population, even many Sunnis, with his indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

Support for the insurgency is confined to a minority within a minority - a small portion of Sunni Arabs, who make up less than 20 percent of the population. The only prominent non-Sunni rebel, Moqtada al-Sadr, has quietly joined the political process. The 80 percent of the population that is Shiite and Kurdish is implacably opposed to the rebellion, which is why most of the terrorism has been confined to four of 18 provinces.

Unlike in successful guerrilla wars, the rebels in Iraq have not been able to control large chunks of "liberated" territory. The best they could do was to hold Fallujah for six months last year. Nor have they been able to stage successful large-scale attacks as the Viet Cong did. A major offensive against Abu Ghraib prison on April 2 ended without a single US soldier killed or a single Iraqi prisoner freed, while an estimated 60 insurgents were slain.

The biggest weakness of the insurgency is that it is morphing from a war of national liberation into a revolutionary struggle against an elected government. That's a crucial difference.

Of course, so long as we leave 130,000 troops on the ground they never have to morph.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 26, 2005 11:46 PM

They're already spending most of their time killing Iraqi civilians rather than our soldiers, though.

Posted by: John Thacker at June 26, 2005 11:52 PM

Softer targets, same pretext.

Posted by: oj at June 26, 2005 11:56 PM

To some, any freely-elected Iraqi government will be seen as an American facsimile. Those folks will nurse that grievance for many years. Reducing our force levels to zero will not immediately reduce the "resistance" to zero. (But it will reduce it, I agree.)

Posted by: ghostcat at June 27, 2005 12:53 AM

John's right but the media aren't making the distinction. Every day the paper, yahoo headline, etc trumpets 25 dead in Iraq due to car bomb or whatever and the average American thinks it is a killing field over there.

Bush was right the other day that we can't set a timetable to be out because the insurgents will wait us out. But we do need to begin reducing troops/handing more over to the Iraqis to take this on.

Posted by: AWW at June 27, 2005 8:37 AM

Wait us out? They need us there.

Posted by: oj at June 27, 2005 8:51 AM