Anbar and Diyala – Bad news for AQinM

0424iraq_bh "Alleged al-Qaida fighters attacked a Sunni village east of Baqouba on Thursday and killed a village leader who had led the community in an uprising against the terrorist organization, witness and police said.

At the same time Timim, a nearby Shiite village, came under attack, again by alleged al-Qaida fighters. A total of 15 people, including seven women, were killed and 22 wounded in the two assaults, said Baqouba police Brig. Ali Dlaiyan.

Ten attackers were killed as villagers fought back, he said. A joint U.S.-Iraqi force had blocked the region.

The attack began at 6:30 a.m. by about 25 gunmen on the Ibrahim al-Yahya village when the fighters exploded a bomb at the house of Sheik Younis al-Shimari, destroying his home and killing him and one member of his family. Ten people were wounded, including four other members of the family and passers-by. Some of the wounded were hit by gunfire.

"They were shouting Allah Akbar and Curse be upon the Renegades," said Umm Ahmed, who was among the three women wounded in the attack. She refused to give her full name fearing retribution. "This attack will cause the uprising against them to spread to other villages.""  IHT


Not a bad day’s work for the villagers.  If AQinM feels constrained to attack Sunni villages to try to discipline them and regain control, then they are in a sorry state.  If villagers are willing to defend themselves against AQinM, then a kind of turning point has been reached.  If the technique of accepting the "rally" of previous hostiles has been successfully exported from tribal territory in Anbar, then something serious is happening.  The US military has "broken the code" on this.  It took a long time, but, better late than…

Those who believe that war must follow the dictates of policy however foolish are upset about this development.  They argue that there is a government in Baghdad.  It was elected under a constitution that most admired.  They reason that the present government must have all power in the state and must dictate the terms of power and wealth sharing.

It does not seem to matter for people who reason that way that the government in Baghdad is unrepresentative of the Sunni Arabs and unwilling to share power or wealth with them.  It does not seem to matter that an armed citizenry is the best guarantee of government moderation.  Federalist #46 argues differently, but no matter.

There is a major disagreement building up between the civilians and the newly pragmatic military.  This should be interesting.  pl

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43 Responses to Anbar and Diyala – Bad news for AQinM

  1. Montag says:

    There’s an old saying that applies here, “A patriot for Me.” Or to put it more politely, “All politics is local.”
    But as for how it will affect the ultimate resolution of the Iraq situation–it reminds me of a cartoon in which a disabled airliner has miraculously landed on a Pacific island so small that the plane is shading the entire island. The mechanic joyfully announces, “Hey, I fixed the engine!” to the scorn of the passengers. The joke is that even though the plane is now technically capable of a takeoff, it’s now physically impossible to move the plane–yet the mechanic foolishly thinks he’s accomplished something. Sometimes “Better late than…” is just a Consolation Prize.

  2. Abu Sinan says:

    The people who faught the AQ guys like America no more than they did before. They just realise that they must deal with one thing at a time.
    We are not wise to arm adn train any of these guys. AQ in Iraq is not the bigtgest threat, nor does it have the largest numbers. They just carry out some of the most heinous attacks.
    Once AQ is dealt with these guns will be turned back on American troops ans Shi’ites.
    The only reason they are fighting against AQ is that they feel that the AQ fighters are more dangerous to their power base long term whereas American troops will eventually leave.
    I dont think this really is the “good news” that many are making it out to be.

  3. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Montag and Abu Sinan
    Your comments would make sense to me if we were going to stay in Iraq. We must not. we must leave as soons as the situation is fairly stable and we have made some acceptable arrangements with the neighbors. pl

  4. Jose says:

    Doesn’t this just confirm that Iraq will be partitioned into three states?

  5. geos says:

    The strategic threat from Iran has driven U.S. policy in the ME since 1979: has this threat changed and what evidence do you have that there is any possible “acceptable agreement” now?
    Perhaps you think ‘reality’ is about to start dictating U.S. policy but I doubt it.

  6. Leigh says:

    your comment “…if we were going to stay in Iraq. We must not.” unfortunately sounds like wishful thinking. 4 permanent bases plus the largest US embassy in the world–those don’t sound like temporary measures. I agree that we should not and must not stay in Iraq, but I question whether Washington agrees with us.

  7. Arun says:

    These were alleged AQ. Any way of finding out if the allegations are true? Or did a Shia militia meet resistance when it attacked a Sunni village and vice versa?

  8. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Of you folks who are comfortable in your self satisfied cynicism ought to go somewhere else. pl

  9. robt willmann says:

    In reply to Montag and Abu Sinan in these comments, Col. Lang notes that–
    “We must not [stay in Iraq]. We must not. We must leave as soon as the situation is fairly stable and we have made some acceptable arrangements with the neighbors.”
    This is sensible and sane. But it is not the desire or plan of the promoters of the Mideast activities and Iraq War inside and outside of the U.S. government.
    I know I am repeating myself, but the main goal of the Iraq invasion is to be sure that there is not an independent and nationalist government or leader in Iraq. The next goals are for the U.S., Britain, and Israel to control the oil, water, and financial structure of Iraq. The remaining goals that are obvious are to suppress some of the moral and business principles of the Muslim world.
    Military bases that have been completed or nearly completed in Iraq sure look like permanent bases.
    Keep your eye not only on the laws passed by Congress, but also on the “resolutions” that are passed which are not laws but are supposed to be non-binding expressions of Congressional opinion. These resolutions, especially, are persuasive techniques or Pavlovian conditioning used on Congress to minimize or prevent it from taking action contrary to these nonbinding resolutions (or laws that are passed) and ending the war.
    If you read the resolutions passed about Iran, you can see that Congress is being set up for a possible attack on that country.
    The U.S., Britain, and Israel are not leaving Iraq unless some catastrophic event will shove Congress over the lobbying groups and cause it to no longer fund the war. Or a president is elected in 2008 who will end it. Only three contenders clearly would: Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel. Mike Huckabee might.
    The remaining candidates are sock puppets for the gangster foreign policy.
    Thus, the tribes in these areas of Iraq will turn their guns on us when AQinM, to the extent that it exists, is minimized or neutralized because, absent a new or resurgent Congress, or a markedly different person as president, we’re not leaving.
    I have seen no evidence to indicate otherwise.

  10. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “Military bases that have been completed or nearly completed in Iraq sure look like permanent bases.”
    Don’t underestimate the ability for the Department of Defense to abandon bases even after spending tons of cash on them.
    I’ve heard many a person exclaim “they can’t close this base, they just built a new x, y and z!”
    My prediction is that we’ll start leaving in 2009.

  11. Arun says:

    I found, in English (and perhaps a reader of Arabic can find more) on a lament that Al Qaida is responsible for the “wrecking” of the resistance in Al-Anbar; Al Qaida is responsible for a mass grave of 300 civilians found there; and that Iranians, US neocons, Zionists and Al Qaida all favor the partition of Iraq.
    Presumably this is one Sunni faction opposed to Al Qaeda but not allied to the US.

  12. Arun says:

    Fog of war:
    Things look good in Fallujah to this Congress person. But there is no mention that all vehicles have been banned for many weeks now in Fallujah.

  13. confusedponderer says:

    As far as fighting AQiM is concerned that is good news. It’s a bitter irony and a bloody pity that it ever became neccessary to fight AQ in M.
    What worries me is not so much the integrity of the splendid constitutional Iraqi state – IMO as soon as they have a say the Mesopotamians will make a choice of their own anyway – what worries me is that the support of the Sunni is seen in DC circles as a good start of the first stage in pitting the Sunni against the Shia in Iraq and beyond – especially Iran.
    Before the Sunni stand a chance to confront the Sia government they got to rid themselves of AQiM and achieve a degree of unity. Only then they can try to force themselves back into the political realm that is today Shia dominated. But I think that cavalierly exchanging al Maliki to make that happen won’t work. Mesopotamia probably will have a civil war about this.
    There’s a chance that the Cheney crowd reads and presents that as a part of a Sunni-Shia war in lobbying for bombs on Iran. If they succeed in having the last word in this with the decider, that’d be very bad news.

  14. JJackson says:

    I am confused by your two comments above concerning others’ posts to your original post as – having read much you have written – they don’t seem to be at odds with your views.
    Abu Sinan seems to be arguing that the White House spinning of Sunni (non AQ) on Sunni (AQ) fighting is a sign of alignment with the US is a misrepresentation and this is a tactical move and once ‘foreign’ Sunni influence has been dealt with normal service will be resumed. This picture seems to fit well with what I thought was your position regarding the Muslim view of ‘self’ as being not the individual but some self defined group with a shared religious interpretation. If we assume these local (non AQ) leaders have not bought into the American dream then, if they manage to remove AQ influence in their area, will they not return to removing US influence followed by combating Shia influence.
    Leigh seemed to be asking a legitimate question about the meaning of ‘withdrawal of US troops’. Assuming we have given up on ‘winning’ the war in terms of installing a US friendly democratic stable unified Iraqi state what do we leave behind. A US embassy in the capital? A US embassy plus some troops to secure it (if so based where)? The above with some other permanent bases and if so who is going to ‘invite’ this presence? If we are to withdraw in the short or medium term it seems unlikely we will leave a viable peaceful unified Iraqi state to sanction these bases also wouldn’t any remaining bases – or embassy – be under continuous attack?
    Arun’s question also seemed reasonable the MSM accounts reported it as an AQ attack – which seems likely – but it always seems prudent in the current climate to double check the facts when AQ are being blamed for something, as there has been a tendency to use it interchangeably with ‘Islamic Terrorism’ of others stripes.

  15. searp says:

    COL Lang:
    We may achieve tactical success at the price of strategic failure.
    Tactical success: we get Sunni tribals to suppress AQM.
    Strategic failure: Iraq enters a period of warlordism encouraged by us. China in the 1920’s, possibly followed by a nationalist white knight who necessarily will be anti-foreigner and dictatorial.
    If we want to appeal to history, I suggest we look hard at China post Sun Yat Sen.
    I suppose what I am saying is that our policies now seem to me to aid and abet retrograde incipient warlords, the one criterion being a willingness to take on AQM.
    I think an apt description of this policy is “cynical and brutal, if tactically effective”.

  16. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I do not share their concern with regard to the sincerity or permanence of the motivations of those who might help us injure the takfiris or balance political forces inside Iraq.
    Since I regard the political/anthropological discord in Iraq as essentially of no objective importance to the US, I am quite willing to accept “insincere” help in achieving our goals which I think should be:
    1- Damage the takfiris
    2- leave behind an Iraq that will not disintegrate because of sectarian/ethnic warfare. To achieve this last we need to see a situation in which the Sunni arabs and Shia see the necessity of “sharing” no matter how much they dislike each other. To achieve that end the Sunnis must have more real power (not seats in parliament).
    3- No permanent bases in Iraq. Those are “sunk costs.”
    4- Make enough useful deals with neighboring states to ensure a minimally acceptable status quo ante situation. pl

  17. “Alleged al-Qaida fighters attacked a Sunni village east of Baqouba on Thursday and killed a village leader who had led the community in an uprising against the terrorist organization, witness and police said.
    It would be interesting to know what sort of Sunnis these villagers are. In particular are they, perchance, Sufis?
    Putin, in Chechnya, has attempted to align with the Sufis against the Wahhabis. Is something like this occurring in Iraq?
    If so, consider the following:

    • How is this being perceived by Saudia Arabia?
    • By individual Saudis?
    • The Mahdi, whom we recently discussed in a prior thread, was a Sufi.

  18. bstr says:

    Dear Col. you write: “we need to see a situation in which the Sunni arabs and Shia see the necessity of “sharing” no matter how much they dislike each other. To achieve that end the Sunnis must have more real power (not seats in parliament).” How do you identify real power for Sunnis after our withdrawl?

  19. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The ability to defend themselves. pl

  20. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    The various Sufi brotherhoods in the Caucasus are traditional there. The Wahhabi penetration began in about 1979, one might say as a second front (anti-Soviet) to Afghanistan. As I recall, the Pak Tablighi Jamaat brothers were circulating through the region then and the Saudis moved in with money and etc. Then AQ comes in. Daghestan seemed to be a particular target.
    It is logical for Russia to work with traditional leadership elements in the current context.
    The best open source Caucasus material I have seen and used is produced by the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Conflict Studies Research Center.
    C.W. Blandy is the master, if not the grand master, of the subject, IMO.

  21. John Howley says:

    Regarding the matter of the “sincerity and permanence of motivations” there is available on youtube a clip of Cheney (1994 version) explaining in some detail why invading Iraq would be a very bad idea.

  22. searp says:

    I think it is a false dichotomy to talk about disintegration versus a unitary state. We end up with a weak (read powerless) central government and local authorities that will fight on the edges of their turf.
    Has Lebanon disintegrated? I see Iraq following the Lebanon model until/if another strongman appears.

  23. kim says:

    can we achieve number 2, sunni power, thru number 4,useful deals with neighboring states?
    including iran?

  24. Jose says:

    Col, forgive my cynicism but this Administration doesn’t listen to Middle East experts like yourself.
    Every action taken by “G.W.” and company has been ideologically and some say even religiously based.
    That scares me.
    Experts can be wrong and will acknowledge their mistakes by making recommendations, adjustments in strategy or tactics.
    Ideological and Religious action are almost impossible to acknowledge or adjust.
    Now the administration is using Generals to defend their refusal to acknowledge or adjust the current surge strategy and tactics.

  25. wsam says:

    If the original Sunni-led insurgency wasn’t enough to prompt Iraq’s different Shia groups to share power, how will these new, official Sunni militias convince them?
    I agree that what is happening in Anbar is good news. Transforming that good news into a larger trend will be hard, though. The leverage the Sunnis have against their Shia compatriots is continuing and/or intensifying the present civil war. That’s about it.
    It reminds me of Deadwood’s finale. Where the people living in Deadwood acquiesce to Hearst’s ownership of its gold, only because to fight him would tear the town apart. Hearst, representing the outside, civilized world, has access to an almost unlimited supply of Pinkerton’s. Furthermore, in the last episode he has corrupted the political process and appears set to obtain political legitimacy.
    The people of Deadwood give in because to resist would destroy everything they have built. Similarly, in this scenario, the Sunnis have to hope the Shia leadership, such that it exists and is capable of reaching coherent conclusions, takes the threat of Iraq being torn apart seriously enough they will negotiate.
    However, the Sunni don’t live where the oil is. From a Shia perspective, how much more damage can they really do? They can set off bombs in Baghdad, make life uncomfortable, but little else. The Sunni should be acquiescing to the Shia. They are like the people of Deadwood, but without any control over the gold.
    Hmmm … Everything I needed to know about the Iraqi Insurgency I learned from Deadwood?

  26. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Despair is a mortal sin, perhaps the worst of sins. pl

  27. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Is this “wsam” as in “wissam?”
    The situation is completely different. Then, we Americans were helping the Shia suppress the Sunnis. Now… pl

  28. wsam says:

    Nope. Those are my initials. I’m old school Scotch-Canadian.
    I was trying to think about the situation in terms of power. How it exists in Iraq. I don’t see the Sunni as having much leverage. Their best bet would be to snuggle in close to the Americans, but that’s been true for awhile.
    The best thing would be for both sides to drop their weapons and argue their differences out in Parliament. But that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
    The Deadwood thing was just being glib. The problem with creating an analogy is if you pay too much attention to the relevant contexts, the analogy invariable falls apart. Are the people of Deadwood Shia, or Sunni? I’m not so sure now – a bit of both (Iraqi?). Then, is the US, the West in general, Hearst? It’s all too confusing.
    I guess the question is: what incentives can the US offer, or promote, which would convince the Shia to compromise with the Sunni, and vice-versa. Each side’s disparate leadership needs to be convinced that compromise is in their interest (I’m assuming that the Kurds are basically gone). If they cannot be convinced of that, then what is left?
    The hope is that maybe what we’re seeing in Anbar is the beginning of some Sunni elements becoming convinced compromise is a necessity. Still, what would convince the Shia of this? Collectively they hold all the best cards.
    Is Yankton the UN?

  29. Arun says:

    From the same website quoted in my previous email, this is the news on the incident.
    Diyala Province.
    Al-Qa‘idah fighters attack settlements near Kan‘an, killing 22 villagers and wounding 20 more.
    In dispatches posted at 1:23pm and 4:14pm Baghdad time Thursday afternoon, the Aswat al-‘Iraq news agency, which was set up by Reuters and the U.N. Development Agency, reported that dozens of members of the al-Qa‘idah organization attacked two villages in the area of Ba‘qubah, 65km northeast of Baghdad, killing 22 people and wounding 20 more.
    Aswat al-‘Iraq reported the puppet police chief in Ba‘qubah, Colonel ‘Ali Dilyan, as saying that al-Qa‘idah first bombarded the two villages of ash-Shaykh Tamim and Ibrahim al-Yahya – which are predominantly Sunni – and then dozens of al-Qa‘idah fighters attacked. Twenty-five people were killed in the barrage and subsequent assault by al-Qa‘idah and another 20 villagers were wounded.
    The al-Qa‘idah attackers, whom Dilyan estimated to number over 100 men, fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns in the course of their assault on the villages. They destroyed a number of houses and captured Shaykh Yunus ‘Abd al-Hamid, the Imam of the Sunni al-Husayn Mosque and three of the young regular worshippers there. The al-Qa‘idah men tied up the Imam and the three youths in front of the mosque and executed them. Afterwards, they planted explosives and blew up the Sunni al-Husayn Mosque.
    Local villagers clashed with the al-Qa‘idah men and when puppet police forces arrived on the scene they joined the villagers against the al-Qa ‘idah fighters. In all, Dilyan said, 10 of the al-Qa‘idah attackers and captured 22 more.
    Nevertheless, the al-Qa‘idah gunmen abducted eight women and seven children from the village
    The villages of ash-Shaykh Tamim and Ibrahim al-Yahya are located near the town of Kan‘an, which is 35km east of Ba‘qubah.
    Informed sources and local notables in the area told Aswat al-‘Iraq that the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution Iraqi Resistance organization that had until recently been fighting alongside al-Qa‘idah against the American occupation and the puppet regime has recently begun fighting against al-Qa‘idah because of al-Qa‘idah’s practices of brutality against the local Sunni population.
    Villagers told Aswat al-‘Iraq that many of the residents of the villages of ash-Shaykh at-Tamim and Ibrahim al-Yahya are supporters of the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution Resistance organization and that al-Qa‘idah attacked the village to punish the villagers of opting to support the 1920 Brigades rather than al-Qa‘idah. In keeping with the practices of al-Qa‘idah, anyone who refuses to recognize al-Qa‘idah’s self-proclaimed “Islamic State” is deemed an apostate who should be killed and whose property can be confiscated. In al-Qa‘idah’s practice, wives and children of “apostates” are also regarded as captured property.

  30. Arun says:

    Which leads to a question – are there villages in Diyala or thereabouts which favor al-Qaidah over other groups? If yes, which ones are they? If no, how does al-Qaidah hide 100s of fighters in a hostile population?

  31. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Dr. Amitzia Baram is a professor at Haifa University.
    “Dear Pat,
    I find myself in full agreement with what you wrote. The Shi’is are reluctant to share power and wealth. I can understand their fear of Sunni moles, but there are so many ways to prevent the Sunnis from exploding the system from within. The Sunnis must be able to defend themselves and Petraeus’ approach is suitable for the circumstances. Al-Qaida are in retreat, I am certain of that. In a way I predicted that this will happen-with US encouragement-in my USIP article of April 2005. Now the challenge is to connect the Sunni anti=al-Q tribal forces with the government. If the Gvmnt refuses to allow money and jobs to trickle down to the tribes, then the US military will have to do this and make a long-term committment to them. This can also limit Persian infiltration into Iraq.

  32. canuck says:

    Is it reasonable to expect the divergent interests groups will be able to put their differences aside and work together in a power-sharing agreement or anticipate Iraq having a strong federal government?
    There are countries that have divergent groups among them, but what ties them together is they consent to work with each other.

  33. Col, not asking for a full essay, but what is the Sunni security situation? I thought they were well armed. Thanks.

  34. W. Patrick Lang says:

    It’s not a question of arming them. Its a question of stopping hunting them in return for their cooperation. pl

  35. Arun says:

    Dear Col Lang,
    Wonder what you think of this?
    In a dispatch posted on its website Saturday, Quds Press reported that the head of the Union of Tribes of Western Iraq in the area of the Upper Euphrates near the Syrian border had disclosed that the “Israeli” Mossad had increased its presence in those areas, beginning two months ago. He said that US forces are extending protection to the Mossad’s cars and headquarters in the area.
    Shaykh Ahmad al-Khanjar, the Chairman of the Union of Tribes of Western Iraq, an organization of 13 Iraqi tribes, told Quds Press that four-wheel-drive GMC cars belonging to the Mossad are present in the areas of al-Hadithah and nearby al-Haqlaniyah, ‘Anah, al-Qa’im, Jubbah, and other villages. He said that the “Israelis” have been there for several months under American protection.
    The Mossad men, al-Khanjar said, wear civilian clothing (some of them including yarmulkes) and travel around western Iraq under American guard. He said that the Mossad operatives stay in the headquarters that the Americans have set up in the old Customs Building near the Syrian border, in the former Iraqi Army Camp in the area of al-Baghdadi, about 200km northwest of Baghdad, and at the phosphate mining complex.
    Shaykh al-Khanjar said that they have also established their own headquarters similar to the facilities used by the American occupation forces. The Mossad set up one of its headquarters in the former Hafsah Primary School in al-Qa’im on the Syrian border, and in the large building that formerly housed the headquarters of the “Projects for Roads, Bridges, and Travelers’ Rest Stops.” The Zionists have surrounded their facilities with large security fortifications and barbed wire, making it virtually impossible to break in. They have also set up communication towers atop those headquarters. In addition, the Shaykh said, they have recruited Iraqis willing to work for them inside the city.
    Shaykh al-Khanjar said that the Mossad operatives come out of their headquarters every day, making three rounds outside the city accompanied by US escort vehicles. He said that local people were certain that the Mossad agents’ mission was of a non-combat character, consisting of espionage and gathering information. Shaykh al-Khanjar said that the Iraqi Resistance attacked them on 17 July, destroying one of their vehicles and killing four of the people inside. After the attack it became clear from the papers and documents on the men that they were members of the “Israeli” Mossad.

  36. Arun says:

    “Brigades of the 1920 Revolution” Resistance Organization denies reports of cooperation with Americans in Diyala Province.
    In a dispatch posted at 9:31am Makkah time Sunday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the Iraqi Resistance organization, the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution, denied reports that its forces had joined US and puppet regime troops in the battle against the al-Qa‘idah organization in Diyala Province.
    Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the 1920 Brigades issued a statement in which they said that they have no units in Diyala Province, and that the units that call themselves the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution in Diyala Province had split off from the real organization and formed a new group called “the Hamas of Iraq.” The 1920 Brigades said that, accordingly, the Iraqi Hamas would be the organization that would have to speak for the activity being carried on in the name of the organization in Diyala.
    The clarification came in response to claims made by US military spokesmen who had told the press that the 1920 Brigades had “played a role” in providing intelligence to US and Iraqi puppet regime forces in their recent operations against al-Qa‘idah in the province east of Baghdad.
    In their Sunday statement, the 1920 Brigades said that the organization to which the Americans referred had become the Iraqi Hamas organization and was no longer associated with the 1920 Brigade.

  37. Binh says:

    You may support the Anbar alliance as realpolitik, but some troops on the ground think differently:
    So without further ado, the nominees for Stupid Shit of The Deployment:
    Working with 1920s
    – A Sunni insurgent group we’ve been battling for months, responsible for the death of my friend and numerous attacks, agreed to fight Al Qaeda alongside us. Since then, they’ve grown into a much more organized, lethal force. They use this organization to steal cars and intimidate and torture the local population, or anyone they accuse of being linked to Al Qaeda. The Gestapo of the 21st century, sanctioned by the United States Army.

  38. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Yes. I obviously support the effort in Anbar as “realpolitik.”
    I respect this soldier’s feelings but they are just that, feelings.
    Policy should not be based on feelngs. pl

  39. Just an ex grunt says:

    Binh, Read back into that
    soldiers blog a couple of months. Couple of reasons: I don’t think that is exactly what he was trying to convey there, and it’s interesting reading.
    There are “Stupid Stuff” aspects inherent to our situation there that we just have to live with. I don’t think the young man was trying to set policy in that piece, but convey a feeling. Frustration.

  40. Binh says:

    agreed on “feelings vs policy” but what I think everyone who is a sceptic is trying to figure out will it be good/bad in the long run? Arming the mujahadeen in Afghanistan was a great strategy for giving Russia their very own Vietnam, but was it worth in the long run?

  41. W. Patrick Lang says:

    1- We were not run out of Vietnam. we chose to leave over a three years period. The embassy roof top scene was two years after US forces had finished leaving the country. (1st myth)
    2- The mujahideen whom we supported were not the Taliban or al-
    Qa’ida. There were six or seven major groups of mujahideen. One of them was the Sayyaf group. We did not support the Sayyaf group to which Bin Laden belonged. The Saudis supported them. The Taliban were the spawn of the Sayyaf group and al-Qai’ida. The Taliban defeated the mujahideen whom we had supported. This happened well after the Soviets left Afghanistan. We did not arm the Taliban or al-Qa’ida. (2nd myth) pl

  42. Arun says:

    Col. Lang, I think we armed the Taliban indirectly through the Pakistani ISI. We may not have wanted to, but we did. I seem to recall there was a huge fire that destroyed Pakistani records when the US made noises about finding out where the money and arms went. In some sense similar to the misplaced weapons in Iraq.
    This cartoon adequately describes the situation.

  43. Arun says:, Aug 31
    As-Sulaymaniyah Province.
    Hajj ‘Imran.
    Heavy Iranian artillery bombardment targets Kurdish Hajj ‘Imran area on Iraq border Friday.
    In a dispatch posted at 4:26pm Baghdad time Friday afternoon, the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) reported that Iranian artillery heavily shelled the area around the border town of Hajj ‘Imran in the predominantly Kurdish, region of northern Iraq at noon Friday.
    The AMSI reported sources in the US-backed Kurdish separatist “government” in the area as saying that Iranian artillery blasted the areas of Bardi Tshi Rays, Lawfah Hasan Kuwaystani, and Warkhati.
    The Sources said that the bombardment was so intense that they have been unable to obtain information on the nature or extent of casualties.

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