Tuesday :: Jan 4, 2005

Our Troops are Outnumbered

by soccerdad

The Iraqi Intelligence Service Director, General Mohamed Abdullah Shahwani, has estimated the size of the insurgency at 200,000, thereby surpassing the size of the US coalition forces.

He puts the count of hardcore fighters at about 40k, which is approximately 2x the size last estimated by the US. When you include part time fighteres and those who support them the estimated size then swells to 200k. US military declined to confirm or deny and said: "As for the size of the insurgency, we don't have good resolution on the size," Although its impossible to know the size of the insurgency with precision, that the estimate by Shahwani should be taken seriously was confirmed by Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq analyst with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Shahwani also said

"People are fed up after two years, without improvement. People are fed up with no security, no electricity, people feel they have to do something. The army was hundreds of thousands. You'd expect some veterans would join with their relatives, each one has sons and brothers."

He had this interesting comment of the assault on Fallujah:

"What we have now is an empty city almost destroyed... and most of the insurgents are free. They have gone either to Mosul or to Baghdad or other areas."

Spencer Ackerman wisely notes that this increase demonstrates what he has termed the THE SUNNI PERSECUTION STRATEGY. The complete destruction of Fallujah being the prime example of this startegy. He notes:

...both the Falluja attack and the martial law declaration provide the insurgency with a strategic advantage: the sense that Sunnis have no stake in the Iraq that the United States and its Iraqi allies are building.

Feelings of injustice and persecution among the previously dominant Sunnis are the fuel that propels the Sunni insurgency.

The Sunnis will not be intimidated by an example of America's "shock and awe" policy. Many want to maintain control over the country. Others see the US and Shiites as not only opposed to this but also in a position to deny them any influence in the government and likely to persecute them as a means of "payback".

The assassination of two Sunni clerics who backed the boycott of the election and the arrest of Sunni officals adds to the sense of persecution.

Who is behind the assassinations is not clear. The idea of neutralizing Sunni leadership is certainly consistent with US intentions and with Negroponte in charge one always has to take pause, although speculation is all we have.

Finally, if the election goes ahead without the Sunnis this will reinforce the feeling of persecution by the Sunnis thereby increasing the size of the insurgency.

So if all of this is indeed true, it seems very unlikely that a stable functioning government accompanied by realtive peace is any where on the horizon. Having dug this deep hole and seen the strategy of intimidation and persecution fail to achieve its goals, its really not clear where to go from here. Its just hard to imagine that anything positive can happen with the US in charge. There is just too much ill will built up.

soccerdad :: 1:37 PM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!