Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Al Qaeda is the Weak Horse in Iraq
The impact of the Iraq mission on world security is also dramatic and counter to what is commonly heard in the media and academic elites. The Iraq conflict has drawn fanatical Islamists to fight nearer to home, and as a just-released Canadian institute’s study details, overall international terrorism fatalities — outside of the Iraq war — have plunged by 40 percent since 2001. The Simon Fraser University Human Security Brief records that, due to “the humiliating recent defeats experienced by Al Qaeda in Iraq,” popular support in the Islamic world for the perpetrators of 9/11 has fallen off precipitously. For example, in Pakistan (where al-Qaeda is arguably most deeply entrenched): “support for Osama bin Laden has dropped from 70 percent in August 2007 to 4 percent in January 2008.”
After going from success to success over the past three decades, from destroying a super power (the Soviet Union) in Afghanistan, to blowing up American embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole off Yemen, onto 9/11, and nearly pushing Iraq into civil war in 2006, the Islamic extremists have now failed dramatically. Their jihad to dominate the Islamic world and beyond has smashed against the twin rocks of a steadfast American will and the Iraqi people’s natural desire to live free of tyranny, whether from Saddam, al-Qaeda, or Iran. Nothing dissuades recruiting like catastrophic failure.
And the catastrophic failure of al Qaeda is nearly wholly the result of our forces' skill and sacrifice. This catastrophic failure of al Qaeda is also the reason President Bush's assessment by future historians will follow the rising curve of President Truman.
Labels: Jihadi War
Well, I suppose it depends on how you define "victory." If your concept of "victory" involves who has the largest body count, why then there was never any doubt about whethr the U.S. would achieve victory.
If your concept of "victory" is some type of functional democarcy in Iraq, why then the flight has been delayed indefinitely.
The assessment of President Bush by future historians is more likely to follow the downward curve of Herbert Hoover.
Please remmeber there was no Al Qaeda in Iarq before we deposed Saddam Hussein so providing a fertile environment for jihadis and then defeating them does not constitute an historical victory.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi army continues to make gains. How long b/f some general takes over the country?
My point is simply this. AQ was in Afghanistan. After 9/11 we kicked their ass there and made a tactical error w/ Tora Bora by not sending in our guys in force. Had we done that, we may have has OBL's head on a pike. That error notwithstanding, the rat's nest moved to the tribal areas of Pakistan.
W had a hard on for Saddam. Plans to invade Iraq were being formulated as soon as he took office and probably b/f. Iraq was a minor beach head in the greater war on terrorism until we deoposed Saddam w/ an undersized expeditionary force. It was big enough to deopse Saddam but not big enough to secure the country. Then we made other mistakes in the "rebuilding' process but in essence, we created a vacuum which attractedc all sorts of jihadis both Shiite and Sunni, compelling us to kick their ass but at great cost particularly to Iraq. Please let us not forget the 4 million displaced persons.
Meanwhile, Iraq is Iraq. A country drawn up on the map by the French and Brits after WW I. It is rife w/ sectarianism, ethnic tension if not outright conflict, and tribalism. The best we can hope for is a military coup as soon as the Iraqi army is competent enough. Of course at that point, Kurdistan will split off to the great diamy of Turkey and Iran.
Oh yes, by removing Saddam we have made Iran and its pernicious revolution the most powerful country in the region and until teh Iraqi army takes over, Iraq will in may ways serve as Tehran's puppet state.
In short, we created a country that was an invitation to jihadis to come fight us. And we are left with acountyr that will never function w/o some type of strong central control.
My point is, the fight wasn't in Iraq, the fight is in the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet most odf our resources are in Iraq. This was a very bad strategy. It was obvious to anyone who knew anythging about the history and culture of Iraq. These things were not a secret. So, this is the basis upon which historians will judge W.
Iraq may be new but Mesopotamia is very old and Baghdad is the seat of the world wide caliphate as envisioned by OBL. Tough to have a ww caliphate when Baghdad will have nothing to do with it. This is presupposing that we will continue the fight--which we won't (really) if all three branches go majority liberal. We'll withdraw to lawfare until a nuke takes out a major city. (I still imagine it will be LA--don't know why). So the future is very cloudy. Will we have a huge depression? Will Israel save our bacon, again? Will everything end 12/20/2112? Who freakin' knows? I do think however rather than being a strong horse, the leadership in Iran is a hairbreadths away from abrupt termination. We'll see who lasts longer--Iran or Iraq.
We can't invade North Korea and we can't invade Pakistan. Not going to happen. The reasons are too long to go into.
How many of the millions displaced by Saddam have returned? How many displaced by the post Golden Mosque blow up violence spike have returned? I can't find out the answer to either question.
Our main source of dispute is not the stuff we don't know, but that much of what you know is wrong. Thanks for the comment though.
Roger, if your definition of victory is basically kicking butt, then victory was achieved in May 2003. However, the more serious and current "mission" doesn't have to do with "victory" in the classic war sense. It has to do with stability. This, unfortunately is not "rapidly approaching" as you suggest.
Al Qaeda may be nearly defeated. But without the help of the "awakening", they would still be very strong.
Which really is the main point here. American force is good at winning battles in the classic sense, but the Iraqis will have to solve the issues of stability on their own, which I think the situation in Anbar demonstrates quite well.
The displaced are mostly all still displaced. Internally displaced have almost no chance of return. There are no clear figures on the external refugees, but the return rate is a trickle so far. That could change.
Man-o-man. You have a lot of suppositions which, although not impossible, are not supported by the evidence.
I will make one query only which is why do you think that OBL's vision of the Caliphate had Baghdad as its seat? Historical Caliphates had seats other than Baghdad and being a Wahabbi, don't you think OBL would prefer Mecca?