"The insurgency increasingly is dominated by a few large groups with sophisticated communications. It no longer is a scattered, erratic, chaotic phenomenon. Groups are well organised, produce regular publications, react rapidly to political developments and appear surprisingly centralised.
There has been gradual convergence around more unified practices and discourse, and predominantly Sunni Arab identity. A year ago groups appeared divided over practices and ideology but most debates have been settled through convergence around Sunni Islamic jurisprudence and Sunni Arab grievances. For now virtually all adhere publicly to a blend of Salafism and patriotism." ICG Paper below.
"Sunni Islamic Jurisprudence?" I must admit that I did not expect that differences among the insurgents would be settled on the basis of Sharia. Iraqi Arab Muslims are overwhelmingly observant of the Hanafi law code and practise while the Kurds are mostly Shafa’i in inclination. The foreign fighters are Maliki if North African, the Saudis are Hanbali. Others can be whatver is prevalent "back home."
Does this mean much? No, because the four Mathahib (schools) recognise each other as "orthodox." The Shia live in another legal and religious "world."
The increasing religiosity and consolidation of the Sunni Arab insurgent groups is very bad news. It is predictable that if the war goes on long enough these groups will be unified under a "national" command. That is what happened in Indochina long ago and I predict that it will happen in Iraq.
Following your logic; this could lead to a de facto partition of Iraq. Sort of like Bosnia.
“They [Iraqi insurgents] appear to have been remarkably effective: despite
considerable setbacks – the loss of numerous leaders and
territorial sanctuaries, such as Falluja – there has been
little let-up or disarray but rather increased coherence and
organisation. The self-conscious and intensive use of
communication networks to unify the groups’ official
positions, standardise their tactics, recruit new members
and generate sympathy among their target audience largely
accounts for this success.” Quote from the ICG reports (www.crisisgroup.org). I’ll risk your wrath Col. Lang with another loose comparison to Vietnam: the Iraqi insurgents are managing to do this without Soviet cargo ships and infantry battalions from the North. We’re doing a heck of a job training Iraqis — we’re just training the wrong ones!
No argument from me. Care to guess what the situation will be in ten years? Pat
“and infantry battalions from the North.”
Actually it was regiments and divisions. pat
What is your assessment of the US military response to the Saddam Fedayeen at the beginning of the war?
The Iraqi government made it clear through the Fedayeen that their strategy was to build a long term guerrilla movement from the very beginning, leaving their marginally loyal conventional army to confront (surrender to) the US invasion forces.
It seemed to me at the time the US military did not take the Saddam Fedayeen seriously and failed to develop any US strategy to counter the Iraqi guerrilla plans. The result has been that the US military allowed the guerrillas a crucial period in which they could build roots in the populace and begin to establish themselves as an underground government in Sunni areas.
It was poor. The whole force was programmed by the policy people in DC to ignore the possibiity of significant resisitance. pat
“BLOOD is” thicker than “WATER”…
Seems like a Clear’er Demonstration that there is Indeed a Muslim Unity Movement going on..A ji had objective..
Question is..Are there any/enough Moderates and How FAR WILL THIS go..??
There are, but they are losing. pl
bh – I think that may have been the case starting out, but one of the key findings in the report Col. Lang cites is that the Baathists have long ago lost control of the insurgency to the Islamists, or at least tribal/sectarian elements pretending to be Islamists. Out-and-out Baathists or those professing loyalty to Saddam or the former regime have been marginalized.
crisisgroup.org now features a link to ABCNews video story on the report. Authors are interviewed along with Cordesman. Must be what Rumsfeld was talking about when he said we’re losing the information war. I was struck by the insurgent video splicing together cheesy clips of staged charges by sword-wielding, bearded men on horseback with footage of attacks on U.S. forces. Looks ridiculous to us but probably is pretty moving for Iraqi teenagers.
What did I say? what did I say? People were laughing at me 6 months ago, when I say quit futzing around with Sunni-shia-kurds ethnicity. Pitting each of them to make a quick solution to supress ‘terrorists/dead ender/whatever Rummy’s term of the day was). When those forces start to colide, we are not going to be able to do a thing about it, short of get out or nuking the entire region.
but too late…
The war in Iraq is now entering the next phase. This is not going to be stroll in the park, few dozens IED blown ups, pipes blown up. “fox news, happy hour”
Soon it will be sunni shooting at shia and the entire country turns into a blood bath. We’ll be cought in the middle. Forget Oil, showck and awe, ‘we are not there for nation build’ or other propaganda BS.
Iraq is quickly turning into soviet’s afghanistan in no time. 2 years from now, Iraq is a full blow regional war.
If I have to make prediction in less than 5 years Syria, hezbollah, Iran will start entering Iraq. (They have no choice, since situation in Iraq start to creep into their border, plus Bush is asking for it with all the taunting.)
hundreds of thousand of people will die.
Iraq sectarian violence kills 130
Iraqi Shi’ites look at the damaged al-Hadi Shi’ite shrine, the Golden Mosque, in the town of Samarra, 62 miles north of Baghdad February 22, 2006. REUTERS/Stringer
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