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US Losing Iraq's Guerilla War

 
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Fintan
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Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 7642

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 8:35 am    Post subject: US Losing Iraq's Guerilla War Reply with quote

Dismiss the propaganda and the focus
on sectarian issues, the situation in Ramadi
shows how the U.S. occupation is foundering
outside Baghdad. This is where it's at:




"This just 'we ride out, hold it for an hour, get hit, ride back in and now we don't hold it anymore,' what's the point?" said Ruble of the Army's 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment. "I believe in the cause and I believe in doing good, but when were going out, getting hurt and ... not accomplishing anything, why are we going out there? If you're saying killing one insurgent is worth one of my guys getting hurt ... you're crazy. That's like killing one guy in the Chinese army. What have you done? not a thing."

Quote:
Insurgents keep U.S. at bay in Ramadi

TODD PITMAN Associated Press Mon, May. 22, 2006

RAMADI, Iraq - Whole neighborhoods are lawless, too dangerous for police. Some roads are so bomb-laden that U.S. troops won't use them. Guerrillas attack U.S. troops nearly every time they venture out - and hit their bases with gunfire, rockets or mortars when they don't.

Though not powerful enough to overrun U.S. positions, insurgents here in the heart of the Sunni Muslim triangle have fought undermanned U.S. and Iraqi forces to a virtual stalemate.

"It's out of control," says Army Sgt. 1st Class Britt Ruble, behind the sandbags of an observation post in the capital of Anbar province. "We don't have control of this ... we just don't have enough boots on the ground."

Reining in Ramadi, through arms or persuasion, could be the toughest challenge for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new government. Al-Maliki has promised to use "maximum force" when needed. But three years of U.S. military presence, with nearly constant patrols and sweeps, hasn't done it.

Today Ramadi, a city of 400,000 along the main highway running to Jordan and Syria, 70 miles west of Baghdad, has battles fought in endless circles. Small teams of insurgents open fire and coalition troops respond with heavy blows, often airstrikes or rocket fire that's turned city blocks into rubble.

"We're holding it down to a manageable level until Iraqis forces can take over the fight," Marine Capt. Carlos Barela said of the daily violence battering the city.

How long before that happens is anybody's guess.

U.S. and Iraqi commanders say militants fled to Ramadi from Fallujah during a devastating U.S.-led assault there in 2004. Others have joined from elsewhere in Anbar, blending into a civilian population either sympathetic to their cause or too afraid to turn against them.

They've destroyed police stations and left the force in shambles. The criminal court system doesn't function because judges are afraid to work; tribal sheiks have fled or been assassinated.

While al-Maliki has vowed to crush the insurgency, a major military operation to clear Ramadi risks destroying any hope of reaching a political settlement with disaffected Sunnis.

U.S. commanders also say a Fallujah-style operation is not in the cards, at least not yet, and might not have the desired effect. "That would set us back two years," said Lt. Col. Stephen Neary, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.

However, the status quo with its bloodletting doesn't sit well with the troops.

"We just go out, lose people and come back," said Iraqi Col. Ali Hassan, whose men fight alongside the Americans. "The insurgents are moving freely everywhere. We need a big operation. We need control."

Some Americans also say ground needs to be taken and held. Most U.S. missions typically consist of going out, coming under fire and returning to base - leaving behind a no-man's-land held by neither side that insurgents in black ski masks always pour back into.

"This just 'we ride out, hold it for an hour, get hit, ride back in and now we don't hold it anymore,' what's the point?" said Ruble of the Army's 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment. "I believe in the cause and I believe in doing good, but when were going out, getting hurt and ... not accomplishing anything, why are we going out there? If you're saying killing one insurgent is worth one of my guys getting hurt ... you're crazy. That's like killing one guy in the Chinese army. What have you done? not a thing."

The sheer scale of violence in Ramadi is astounding.

One recent coalition tally of "significant acts" - roadside bombs, attacks, exchanges of fire - indicated that out of 43 reported in Iraq on a single day, 27 occurred in Ramadi and its environs, according to a Marine officer who declined to be named because he's not authorized to speak to the media.

And that, he said, was "a quiet day" - when nothing from Ramadi even made the news.

In Ramadi, machine-gun fire and explosions are heard every day and tracer fire or illumination flares are seen every night. Even after airstrikes have transformed already ruined buildings full of gunmen into huge balls of gray debris, Marines have marveled at surviving insurgents who've come out shooting.

Even though such assaults kill dozens at a time, guerrillas keep on coming - and keep dying.

"They're crazy to be coming in the numbers that they do," Lance Cpl. Chris Skiff, 25, of Tupper Lake, N.Y.

Inside a palatial Saddam-era guesthouse near the Euphrates River - now a fortified U.S. base where sand-filled barriers and camouflage netting surround even the portable toilets - Marines stare in wonder at photos of U.S. troops deployed here less two years ago.

The pictures show their predecessors riding in open-topped vehicles, often with little armor. They show freshly painted buildings, since destroyed or splattered with gunfire. They show U.S. troops walking through a downtown marketplace, a casual outing unthinkable today.


Some of the pictures show bullet-strafed buildings and cars on fire, but it's a far cry from Ramadi, 2006. Case in point: Government Center, headquarters of the provincial governor.

Once, civilian traffic was allowed to pass in front of the near-pristine edifice. Today, only military vehicles are allowed near. The wrecked building is enclosed by blast walls, barbed wire and a sometime moat of sewage. From machine-gun nests, walls of sandbags and tents of camouflage on the roof Marines repel several attacks a day.

Marines say that the governor is unfazed and comes to work despite 29 assassination attempts.

"If you wanna get blown up or shot at or anything else, then this is the place," said Marine Staff Sgt. Jacob Smith, 28, from Martin, S.D., who helps clear roadside bombs that are sometimes replaced just after the minesweepers drive past.

In one Ramadi neighborhood, Master Sgt. Tom Coffey, 38, of Underhill, Vt., gestured to a paved road his forces would not drive on. "They hit us so many times with IEDs (roadside bombs), we ceded it to them," he said.

Though coalition forces answer with massive firepower, they rarely pursue attackers - for fear of falling into an ambush and because they have few troops to spare. Though U.S. and Iraqi troops conduct frequent raids and hit targets, the insurgents fight back in their own way.

When U.S. and Iraqi troops question civilians, insurgents follow in their footsteps to visit and sometimes kill the suspected informants.

After U.S. troops use residential rooftop walls as observation posts, insurgents have been known to knock them down.

Ramadi is dangerous not only for combatants, but for civilians caught in the crossfire.

"It's getting worse. Safety is zero," Col. Hassan said.

After one neighborhood sweep devolved into an hour-long gunbattle, Iraqi Maj. Jabar Marouf al-Tamini returned to base and drew his finger across a satellite map of the area he'd just fled under fire: "It's fallen under the command of insurgents," he said, shaking his head. "They control it now."

U.S. commanders would argue otherwise, but acknowledge perhaps a bigger problem.

"They don't have to win. All they have to do is not lose," said Barela, 35, of Albuquerque, N.M., citing an adage about guerrilla war.

http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/14641994.htm



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Jerry Fletcher



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Studio BS

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: Who is really behind this insurgency? Reply with quote

I'm having a very difficult time accepting any of the suggested 'angles' on this supposed 'insurgency'. I'm certainly not the most informed poster on this topic specifically, but I just can't get my head around the purported dynamics of this 'insurgency'.

Since I'm speaking from my gut here, I'll come right out and say it.

I think the 'insurgency' was one of the major goals of the Iraq war, and it is being stage managed and maintained by those who benefit politically from the gore, and financially from the continued destruction.

Yeah, I know, everything's a conspiracy with me but c'mon - the american military has got more high tech guns, bombs, planes, lasers, and other war shit than they could possibly have people to kill. I have the feeling that with the combined united force of america's war machine, they could wipe Iraq of every living thing in about three days - and probably not feel too bad about it.

This insurgency crap draws on and on cause somebody wants it to - the continued destabilization is more valuable than victory. The fight is worth more than the fix.

I'm not suggesting that people aren't dying, I'm just saying I think the this insurgency is being militarily managed behind the scenes in order to provide maximum press to support the war on terror and enhance perceptions of our dependence on oil that must be sucked out of the dicier regions of the unstable middle east.

Personally, I don't think there is any such thing as an 'out of control military operation' these days. To me, it suggests that the ultimate goal of the operation is to create the illusion of a dangerous world on the brink of chaos.

If that's the case, I'd call the 'insurgency' a smashing success.
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kawazu



Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Posts: 54
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry Fletcher wrote:
I think the 'insurgency' was one of the major goals of the Iraq war, and it is being stage managed and maintained by those who benefit politically from the gore, and financially from the continued destruction.

Yeah, I know, everything's a conspiracy with me but c'mon - the american military has got more high tech guns, bombs, planes, lasers, and other war shit than they could possibly have people to kill. I have the feeling that with the combined united force of america's war machine, they could wipe Iraq of every living thing in about three days - and probably not feel too bad about it.
I agree to some extent,but like you Im also not the most informed on the subject and am speaking of my gut feelings as well.
I would say that things are indeed going as planned,the millitary knew it would turn out like this,and in the long run it will be to their benefit.At the same time,I dont really think they can "control" this guerilla war.Sure they have the technology and the weaponry to go in and wipe out everyone,but they cant really do that because it would shock everyone,us easily distracted americans in particular,into realizing the true evil of this war.
What always gets me is how everyone is so brainwashed into believing that we are fighting a bunch of "Saddam Loyalists" and "Foreign Fighters"from other "Evil"countries like Iran and Syria.Thats always one of the key selling points.Im not saying they dont exist,but I believe their significance is hyped up beyond what it actually is.
It seems like common sense to me that the vast majority of the "insurgents"are everyday citizens of Iraq,you know,the ones we are supposed to be "liberatring".They are people who have been invaded by foreign aggressors(USA and pals) with obvious ill intentions,and a large number of these people are not just going to cower in the corner while their country and families are being raped and pillaged.They would rather fight and die than sit back and watch everything they love be disgraced,destroyed,and taken over.
Maybe that is a bit of a simplistic way to look at it,but that is how I see it.It seems like nobody,especially the media,wants to own up to this(Gee,what a surprise).The Iraqi people do not want us there.Period.And I dont blame them.
I hate to see our soldiers being misused and killed in such a way,but what of the scores of innocent people they have slaughtered?And all the ones they have yet to kill?Collateral damage?Just following orders?That does'nt even begin to excuse what is being done to the people of Iraq.
And anyone who wants to come at me with"Well we got rid of that evil Saddam guy.........."can just save that tired old pile of poopy for someone else cause Im tired of hearing it.
The whole ordeal was a setup,anyone with half a brain can figure that out.

So I believe it is impossible that the millitary misjudged the outcome of the invasion.The planners knew damn good and well that this is how it would turn out,so from there you can assume that this is all supposed to work to their benefit in the long run.
I dont really have a clear picture of how this is beneficial,other than the obvious/not so obvious financial/political schemes,but overall that is what I think.
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Ormond



Joined: 14 Apr 2006
Posts: 1556
Location: Belly of the Beast, Texas

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think the 'insurgency' was one of the major goals of the Iraq war, and it is being stage managed and maintained by those who benefit politically from the gore, and financially from the continued destruction.


I came to believe the same, as the stated 'goals' the Administration told us then and tell us now were an idiot logic. "Liberating" the Iraqi people? Spreading "democracy"? That the Ba'ath regime was a threat to global peace? Even the assumptions by the opposition and public---"it's about getting the oil" wasn't enough to explain the full agenda.

But if their goals were 1. transferring the treasury to the private sector wartime corporates 2. shutting down Iraq's significant oil production (to create 'scarcity'. 3. diverting public attention in the US, UK and EU peoples from their economies toward a traqic quagmire, I'd say, "mission accomplished". That's not to mention the additional 'perks' of a training field for programming a new generation of PTSD compliant soldiers to recycle in the expanding domestic police 'forces'.
Another consideration of the Insurgency/Civil War scenario is that it smacks of the old standard East India Company 'divide and conquer' meathod of subduing colonies. I've been hearing many Iraqis report that Sunnis and Shias have gotten along and intermarried for centuries. That the 'insurgents' who spend their energy blowing up Mosques aren't home grown at all....that Iraqi insurgents are only interested in attacking the occupational army and it's minions. In short, I smell "partition" will be the desired result, whenever the tediously slow 'withdrawl' comes. In the meantime, Iraqi culture is being completely destroyed to the point of no return.

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Fintan
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject: Attacks Peak Reply with quote

Here's the admission of the level of Iraqi resistance activities -thus support.
The ominous bit is this:

Quote:
Officials who briefed reporters on the Iraq assessment cautioned that violence
against troops and Iraqi civilians probably won't slow until at least 2007

-- if the unity government exerts more of its own authority....

The key words are "until at least 2007" and only then "if the government
exerts more of its own authority"

Translation: Strong resistance until 2009

The article repeats a claim that coalition forces "have received more than
4,500 tips per month from average Iraqis about potential insurgent operations,
up dramatically from about 400 in March 2005."

Yeah? Well why hasn't this information decimated the "insurgents" ranks?

Doesn't add up. The contining escalation in resistance attacks are more
indicative of widespread support --than wholesale informers.

Quote:
Insurgent attacks in Iraq at highest level in 2 years

Militants exploiting political uncertainty, Pentagon says

By Bryan Bender, Boston Globe Staff | May 31, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon reported yesterday that the frequency of insurgent attacks against troops and civilians is at its highest level since American commanders began tracking such figures two years ago, an ominous sign that, despite three years of combat, the US-led coalition forces haven't significantly weakened the Iraq insurgency.

In its quarterly update to Congress, the Pentagon reported that from Feb. 11 to May 12, as the new Iraqi unity government was being established, insurgents staged an average of more than 600 attacks per week nationwide. From August 2005 to early February, when Iraqis elected a parliament, insurgent attacks averaged about 550 per week; at its lowest point, before the United States handed over sovereignty in the spring of 2004, the attacks averaged about 400 per week.

The vast majority of the attacks -- from crude bombing attempts and shootings to more sophisticated, military-style assaults and suicide attacks -- were targeted at US-led coalition military forces, but the majority of deaths have been of civilians, who are far more vulnerable to insurgent tactics.

``Overall, average weekly attacks during this `Government Transition' period were higher than any of the previous periods," the report states. ``Reasons for the high level of attacks may include terrorist and insurgent attempts to exploit a perceived inability of the Iraqi government to constitute itself effectively, the rise of ethno sectarian attacks . . . and enemy efforts to derail the political process leading to a new government."

As if to underscore the grim report, a spate of violence swept Iraq yesterday. Bombs and other attacks killed 54 people, including an American soldier, according to wire reports. The deadliest bombing, in a popular market in a town about 20 miles north of Baghdad, killed at least 25 people and wounded 65.

On Monday, 40 other people were killed in various attacks, including two CBS journalists who died in a bombing that critically wounded a network correspondent. To date, 2,468 US soldiers have died since the March 2003 invasion, while more than 4,000 Iraqi civilians have died in war-related violence since the beginning of the year, according to government figures and media reports.

The Pentagon report, made public yesterday, contained some positive news, including an opinion poll that indicates most Iraqis don't like the insurgents' use of violence as a political tool. In addition, according to the report, a growing number of Iraqi security forces can operate without US military support, more ethnic groups are represented in the security forces, oil production has remained steady, and more than 10,000 new business registrations have been issued.

But the overall picture of progress in Iraq is grim, dominated by the seemingly ceaseless violence.

Despite military crackdowns on insurgents and the installation of the new Iraq government, the Pentagon wasn't optimistic about quelling the violence in the near future. Officials who briefed reporters on the Iraq assessment cautioned that violence against troops and Iraqi civilians probably won't slow until at least 2007 -- if the unity government exerts more of its own authority and, according to the report, ``addresses key sectarian and political concerns" that fuel the bloodshed.

The 65-page report, compiled by Multi-National Forces Iraq in Baghdad, identified a disturbing trend: New signs that former members of Saddam Hussein's regime who are fighting the American-led coalition and other Iraqis who don't like the new government are collaborating with Al Qaeda operatives and other foreign terrorists who are responsible for some of the deadliest attacks in the country.

The progress report also concluded that militias loyal to Iraq's various ethnic groups are to blame for a steady number of ethnic reprisals touched off by the Feb. 22 bombing of a revered Shi'ite Muslim shrine. The militiamen apparently have also infiltrated the Iraqi Security Forces.

``Individual militia members have been incorporated into the ISF, but the loyalties of some probably still lie, to some extent, with their ethno sectarian leaders," according to the report. ``Shi'ite militias, in particular, seek to place members into Army and police units as a way to serve their interests and gain influence."

Though the sectarian violence has subsided a bit in recent weeks -- and fears of a full-blown civil war have not been realized -- conflict among sects is still far higher than before the February mosque attack, according to the report. More than 1,000 casualties from sectarian violence were reported in February, compared with more than 1,500 in March, and about 1,200 in April, according to the Pentagon report. Before the mosque bombing, which has been blamed on foreign terrorists loyal to Al Qaeda, there were a few hundred sectarian-based attacks per month.

On the positive side, Pentagon officials pointed out that newly-trained Iraqi Security Forces have become more capable, and a growing number of units are leading or playing significant roles in anti-insurgent missions.

``Increasingly, Iraqi Security Forces are taking the lead in operations and primary responsibility for the security of their nation," the report said. ``As of May 15, there were two Iraqi divisions, 16 brigades, and 63 Army and National Police battalions with security lead in their areas of responsibility."

Meanwhile, as of May 6, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of Finance have assumed control of 34 bases from US-led forces, according to the assessment. Though the Pentagon has acknowledged that Sunni Muslims in particular are not fully represented, the Iraqi security forces are becoming more representative of the country's ethnic breakdown -- Shi'ite, Sunni, Kurd, and other minorities.

The report also outlined growth trends in the Iraq economy and steady political progress, culminating with the establishment of a unity government in Baghdad earlier this month.

For example, the number of independent mass media outlets has steadily grown; new business registrations are up by nearly 10,000 from the more than 20,000 in early 2005; and weekly oil production has remained at more than 2 million barrels per week.

At the same time, polling data has indicated that most Iraqis do not support violence as a political tool -- a sign that support for the insurgency may be falling, officials said. For example, after the Feb. 22 attack on a revered Shi'ite Muslim shrine in Samarra, 96 percent of Iraqis said such attacks were not acceptable. Another poll cited in the Pentagon report showed that 78 percent of Iraqis believed violence was never acceptable.

Meanwhile coalition forces have received more than 4,500 tips per month from average Iraqis about potential insurgent operations, up dramatically from about 400 in March 2005.

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stevensnell



Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for the length of post/delay writing back. Here's my take.

I think we can all agree we're no experts on this matter, but I do think we're an intelligent group who's opinions count for something. Sometimes I wish we were in a Jerry Springer studio - "oh no you didn't"...

Its a huge area to discuss so I'll try and keep things seperate as best I can.

Firstly I'd like to point people in the direction of Dahr Jamail (if you haven't seen his stuff already). I signed up for his mailouts as the war began and have been following the reports ever since. Dahr's take on the insurgency is well respected and his latest should give you some background.

Secondly, I'd like to seperate what I consider the aggitators and the resistance (sounds better than insurgency).

The resistance is important. I agree that this resistance was all planned, but by the Iraqi armed forces as a legitimate strategy to counter western occupation. Following events in Gulf War 1 (I'd highly recommend reading Bill Arkins history) it became apparent to Iraq's armed forces (and the rest of the world) that you can't beat the US in a fight - they don't fight fair (why would anyone?) and they have better technology.

When the March 2003 deadline came around, the Iraqi armed forces had already made the effort to create an illusion of defence. Ask yourself - why would they send in troops to fight on an open battlefield? They wouldn't - and didn't. I believe the small units were a tactical diversion allowing key members of the Iraqi armed services to escape and direct the resistance from afar. Iraq used to have one of the worlds largest militaries - they haven't all been killed/guantanamoed. Take a glance at this estimate of the capability in 2002 (sorry pdf version missing) and you can probably picture exactly what/who went underground and who was left for satellite images. The clues to this were shown in Fallujah where caches of weapons were placed, and the resistance used pre-planned 'hit and run' methods of attack. This strategy was played out (and is still) in almost every major city in the country.

Think Sun Tzu. Think Lawrence of Arabia. Think Vo Nguyen Giap. You really don't have any other tactical choice when facing an enemy of overwhelming strength than to fight him on your terms. Put yourself in the mind of the Iraqi generals. Its the most logical explanation, and clearly based in military strategy. I don't doubt for one second that when soldiers were briefed by their commanders, they were told this could last a decade and more and that they would have to sacrifice everything for their country.

Following the rule book (summary): Upset and confuse your opponent, disrupt transport and communications, gather local support and resources, sieze any advantage you can, etc. I'm not trying to attach a romantic view to the insurgency, but a fundamental strategy they must have to employ.

This is an article discussing the same thing. The article states "they are ignoring his political lessons. They have disregarded the principles - of Lawrence and others - that guided most rebellions of the 20th century: Try to win broad public support; create a political wing; present an alternative system of governing, and build international legitimacy. This insurgency also has no charismatic leader, no clear chain of command and not even a cohesive ideology." To me, these are outdated aspects of his theory and easily defeated if someone were actually to attempt it.

There is no way for the occupation forces to win. Its pretty matter of fact I know, but again, put yourself in the shoes of any population under occupation. If the (hypothetical country) were to invade (your country) and the last 3 years had been as they are in Iraq - what would you do? Where would your hatred lie? What would your day to day activities entail?

We have to consider the 'ordinary' iraqi's reaction - not just those trained to fight.

In order that the US maintain some image of control, the insurgency must fulfill certain criteria (not exhaustive list); that those committing it are willing to do anything, that they have no respect for their own country or the ramifications of their actions, that they are a thorn in the lions paw (nothing more - remember the amount of times they've 'essentially defeated' the insurgency?), and that day to day life in freedomland is smooth. There's a rule book for that all that too.

I guess what I'm trying to say is uncontrolled chaos is better than controlled resistance from an occupying point of view.

If the goal were to essentially create chaos in the region to serve financial interests at home and overseas, I would have expected a harder line. Oil could easily have gone above $100 a barrel by now and the iraqi flow could be siphoned off for sale via the good ship Condi Rice Smile

Would like to discuss further and for the parts without reference, i'm happy to provide them (tired of url-ing today...)

regards,
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