How Widespread is Infiltration?

"On Saturday, the director of a major oil storage plant near Kirkuk was arrested with other employees and several local police officials, and charged with helping to orchestrate a mortar attack on the plant on Thursday, a Northern Oil Company employee said. The attack resulted in devastating pipeline fires and a shutdown of all oil operations in the area, said the employee, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter."  NY Times


"Ali Allawi, Iraq’s finance minister, estimated that insurgents reap 40 percent to 50 percent of all oil-smuggling profits in the country. Offering an example of how illicit oil products are kept flowing on the black market, he said that the insurgency had infiltrated senior management positions at the major northern refinery in Baiji and routinely terrorized truck drivers there. This allows the insurgents and their confederates to tap the pipeline, empty the trucks and sell the oil or gas themselves."  NY Times


"An Iraqi Army battalion commander Mr. Juburi hired was arrested recently and accused of organizing insurgent attacks on the pipeline, said a high-ranking Iraqi official who is close to the investigation. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the indictment"  NY Times


Friends on the ground in Iraq indicate to me that they believe that some Iraqi government personnel (police and internal security) at roadside road blocks are "tipping off" or cueing insurgents for command detonated IEDs farther along the roadway.  What are these roadblocks?  All over the Arab World the governments instinctively put up checkpoints (roadblocks) which are a crude form of population and movement control.  Their presence is truly ubiquitous and Iraq is no exception.

On top of that suspicion we now have this tale of infiltration of the oil industry by the insurgents.  The question of the funding of the insurgency arises often.  How much of the rebellion is funded externally is usually the crux of the matter. 

If this situation is correctly depicted, then the issue of external funding is unimportant.  The whole insurgency can easily be funded out the oil industry.  Any additional monies out of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt  or elsewhere is just frosting on the cake.

Infiltration on this scale is a very bad indicator for the future.

Pat Lang

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19 Responses to How Widespread is Infiltration?

  1. taters says:

    Top of the morning to you, Pat. Great piece as usual. You’re always a breath of fresh air. I’m a liberal, it’s just that there aren’t a lot of places for someone who admires George Marshall and Omar Bradley the same way I admire Gandhi and King. I really tire of the Counterpunch crowd. Am I nuts for not having very much faith in Birkenstock Bob or Granola Greg (God bless ’em, even though they’re fictional)in matters of national security?

  2. W. Patrick Lang says:

    George Marshall! Sweet Jesus, if only we could bring him back from the dead. pl

  3. Jerry Thompson says:

    Every insurgency is unique. Understanding historical insurgency and revolutionary theory is useful, but it does not provide templates which are useful for analysis. We focus on external support of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq because our experience and our “templates” say it is their center of gravity. In this case, it is nothing of the kind. External support, especially funding, is not insignificant but it is not necessary to sustain the Sunni insurgency. The Sunni insurgency has all that it needs in term of trained and mobilizable manpower, funding and munitions. I tend to think this is more of a problem for the Shi’a and the Kurds than it is for us — they seem very susceptible to over-reaching in their ambitions, believing that their force of numbers will secure their position. They (and we) may find the Sunni insurgents much more capable of disrupting the “way ahead” than expected. Do the Kurds and Shi’a political leaders “get it”? Are they ready to engage the Sunnis in genuine negotiations? Or, are they still bent toward exploitation? Is there a credible Sunni political structure with which to negotiate?

  4. jonst says:

    Taters…I would rather have “Birkenstock Bob or Granola Greg”—simplistic, misleading, as those caricatures are of a generation–than the foolish, criminal, clowns that have inflicted upon our country the greatest tactical defeat it has suffered since our Civil War. And that’s hoping it does not turn out to be strategic defeat. Birkenstock Bob or Granola Greg indeed. I’ll take them in a NY minute.

  5. taters says:

    Johnst – those are/were a very poor choice of words of my part – and I too have very strong – and probably some pretty similar thoughts as you regarding this adminstration. I sure as hell didn’t make it clear that’s kind of a starting point with me. I had just come from a site that I enjoy very much and felt like I and a few others were slammed a bit there because we weren’t far enough to the left.
    I appreciate you for calling me out on it. Besides, Birkenstock Bob & Granola Greg are actually some really hip STRAIGHT
    SHOOTERS. If I recall they were in Garborville, CA.
    I guess I appreciate being able to come here courtesy of Colonel Lang and this is where feel the most more comfortable here for something discussing Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell speech aka the Military Indutrial Complex or Kipling’s quote:
    “If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied.”
    Or the importance of cultural exchange. Thanks for the repsonse.

  6. taters says:

    I testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee one month before the war, and Senator Lugar asked me: “General Zinni, do you feel the threat from Saddam Hussein is imminent?” I said: “No, not at all. It was not an imminent threat. Not even close. Not grave, gathering, imminent, serious, severe, mildly upsetting, none of those.”

  7. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Always welcome here, friend. Always. Farrell wrote to tell me that on re-reading his review of Libby’s book, he realized that he said that Hue was in 1969. I told him that only a few now remember when it was.
    After talking to soldiers for the last weeks I now understand that this “long war” formulation is for real. Sad. pl

  8. jonst says:

    Taters, Well put! Well put! Actually, my fury was on the boil for weeks on this issue. When I read your post I jumped, in-directly, at Chris Matthews, of Hardball. If I hear him say one more time that this Admin are “the grown-ups” (and people who disagree with this Admin, therefore, children) I will pull what little hair I have out of my head. Regrets if I took that anger out on your post. On another note…this is indeed a great website. Kinda like an isle of sanity in a world spinning out of control. I thank PL for doing one more service for his country.

  9. jonst says:

    By the way Taters….(and I don’t want to put you on the spot…I’m not asking for an answer to my question)its clear to me—which is not be mistaken for being automatically correct–that ‘they’ have stopped reading Dereliction of Duty in DC. Perhaps they should resume doing so, if indeed, they have stopped. Again, just a rhetorical question…not looking for an answer.
    Mine stays on the shelf of my desk. A reminder, at all times.

  10. BillD says:

    To which Dereliction of Duty do you refer? I think I know but I seek reassurance.

  11. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I am really impressed with the qality of the discussion in comments on this site. pl

  12. jonst says:

    I refer to a book written by H.R. McMaster.
    PL, I agree re quality of discussion. And that has to, at least partially, reflect on who you are. For the moment anyway, I suspect, a lot of the readers coming here are coming out of respect for you . Now, as the site becomes better known that dynamic might change. But for now it is a pleasure to come here and read the posts and comments. The net at its best!

  13. ali says:

    Looking at Iraq it’s Tehran’s largely peaceful infiltration of the political process and in particularly the Interior Ministry that worries me more than the assets that have been placed by the Sunni rebels. One’s a painful nuisance the others a looming strategic threat.

  14. BadTux says:

    “Infiltration on this scale is a very bad indicator for the future.”
    I think this goes down as the second-most understatement of the year on the part of our proprieter.
    One of the ways that the Vietnam War went bad quickly was when villages basically dropped off the map — their leadership co-opted or replaced by insurgents. But from what I can tell, *all* parts of the Iraqi government are heavily infiltrated by both the insurgency and by the Shiite and Kurdish militias. This isn’t village-level disaster. This is national-level disaster, unfolding under the noses of the Busheviks who keep making these rosy statements about how well things are going in Iraq.

  15. W. Patrick Lang says:

    What was the first?
    Back to NO yet?

  16. taters says:

    Dear Col. Lang & Jonst,
    Thanks for the welcome, and all the pearls that you share! I’m still soaking up this site. I’ll be spending a decent amount of time on the road this this spring & summer – I play guitar with Etta James, some of the dates include Carnegie Hall and the Capitol Theatre in DC..I would be happy to get you our current itineray – and if your schedule permits, I would love to invite you and yours to any shows that are in your area.
    Kindest Regards,
    Robert (Bobby) Murray
    aka taters the Air Force brat
    PS – PL, I’ve got an original edition (1888) of Campfire Chats of The Civil War.
    PPS – Wasn’t it a good thing that Gen George Washington took Rochambeau’s advice prior to Yorktown?

  17. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Very Kind. Have you met Isaac Smoot? pl

  18. taters says:

    Becoming acquainted with Isaac Smoot as we speak. Thank you!

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