[Homestead] Whither Iraq

tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sun Sep 26 12:08:30 EDT 2004

OK---I am an alarmist in military operations because in WWII I was 
extremely sensitive to the

effects of bad military planning, and in postwar civilian lifE as a 
turnaround management

consultant and startup entrepreneur, maintained the same mindset.

We see two faces of the war in Iraq, both seemingly entirely 
inconsistent with one another---one

exhibiting inordinately bad planning plus failure to quickly reappraise 
and adjust to defeats---
the other (General Petraeus) who reminds me of Abraham Lincoln shifting 
generals until he found

General Grant, whose clear vision of what must be done to defeat General 
Lee, gradually, and

inexorably ground the Confederacy to dust.---not without great cost to 
Union Forces, of course.

At this stage, Iraq is not a set-front war, it is a guerrilla war with 
which we have had little

experience, but a guerrilla war with or without a set-front war is 
learnable---I went into Burma

as a Captain in the WWII Air Commandos, which was essentially a 
guerrilla warfare group. We

completely destroyed all Japanese forces in Burma---took about a year of 
combined tactics.

Now we are in a similar position in Iraq---belatedly enlisting, training 
and equipping Iraqi Army  

and police forces to maintain their own order and security---there are 
and will be defections, but
as in the American Civil War under a better general, the sheer weight of 
domestic forces should

prevail over the influx of fewer numbers of Iranian and Al 
Qaeda-sponsored guerrillas now pouring

into Iraq.

Here is the con-position:

Violence in Iraq Belies Claims of Calm, Data Show

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, September 26, 2004; Page A01

BAGHDAD, Sept. 25 -- Less than four months before planned national 
elections in Iraq, attacks

against U.S. troops, Iraqi security forces and private contractors 
number in the dozens each day

and have spread to parts of the country that had been relatively 
peaceful, according to statistics

compiled by a private security firm working for the U.S. government.

Attacks over the past two weeks have killed more than 250 Iraqis and 29 
U.S. military personnel,

according to figures released by Iraq's Health Ministry and the 
Pentagon. A sampling of daily

reports produced during that period by Kroll Security International for 
the U.S. Agency for

International Development shows that such attacks typically number about 
70 each day. In contrast,

40 to 50 hostile incidents occurred daily during the weeks preceding the 
handover of political

authority to an interim Iraqi government on June 28, according to 
military officials.

Reports covering seven days in a recent 10-day period depict a nation 
racked by all manner of

insurgent violence, from complex ambushes involving 30 guerrillas north 
of Baghdad on Monday to

children tossing molotov cocktails at a U.S. Army patrol in the 
capital's Sadr City slum on

Wednesday. On maps included in the reports, red circles denoting attacks 
surround nearly every

major city in central, western and northern Iraq, except for 
Kurdish-controlled areas in the far

north. Cities in the Shiite Muslim-dominated south, including several 
that had undergone a period

of relative calm in recent months, also have been hit with near-daily 

In number and scope, the attacks compiled in the Kroll reports suggest a 
broad and intensifying

campaign of insurgent violence that contrasts sharply with assessments 
by Bush administration

officials and Iraq's interim prime minister that the instability is 
contained to small pockets of

the country.

Speaking with President Bush at the White House on Thursday, Prime 
Minister Ayad Allawi said the

security situation in Iraq was "good for elections to be held tomorrow" 
in 15 of the country's 18

provinces. Elections for a national assembly are scheduled for January.

Allawi told Washington Post reporters and editors on Friday that "for 
now the only place which is

not really that safe is Fallujah, downtown Fallujah. The rest, there are 
varying degrees. Some --

most -- of the provinces are really quite safe."

The Kroll reports are based on nonclassified data provided by U.S.-led 
military forces, the U.S.

Embassy in Baghdad, private security companies working in Iraq and 
nongovernmental organizations.

The reports, which Kroll has refused to distribute to journalists, were 
provided to The Post by a

person on the list to receive them. They cover the period of Sept. 13 
through Sept. 22 -- but do

not include Sept. 15, 18 or 19, for which reports were not available.

To many natives and foreigners living in Iraq, the portrait of progress 
that Allawi painted during

his trip to Washington does not depict reality.

After his speech to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, Allawi 
described Baghdad as "very

good and safe." In fact, during the period for which security reports 
were available, the number

of attacks in the capital averaged 22 a day.

On Wednesday, there were 28 separate hostile incidents in Baghdad, 
including five rocket-propelled

grenade attacks, six roadside bombings and a suicide bombing in which a 
car exploded at a National

Guard recruiting station, killing at least 11 people and wounding more 
than 50.

"People are very naive if they think Baghdad is safe," said Falah Ahmed, 
26, a cigarette vendor in

center city. A nearby tailor, Hisham Nuaimi, 52, said Allawi "is either 
deceiving himself or the


"What do you call a city with a car bomb every day?" he said. "Is this 
the security they are


At the same time, however, the city retains an air of normalcy. 
Motorists clog the roads during

rush hour. Markets bustle with shoppers. Restaurants fill up with 
lunchtime customers.

In his remarks Thursday, Allawi did not specify the three provinces he 
deemed insecure, nor did he

specify what he meant when he contended that violence in those provinces 
had been limited to "

certain pockets." But since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, 
Baghdad and three of the

country's largest and most populous provinces -- Anbar in the west, 
Salahuddin to the north and

Babil to the south -- have been the principal hotbeds of insurgent 
violence. And according to the

Kroll reports, recent violence appears to have been widespread rather 
than limited. On Wednesday,

for instance, attacks in Salahuddin province occurred in Taji, Balad, 
Tikrit, Samarra, Baiji,

Thuliyah and Dujayl -- the seven largest population centers in the area.

Moreover, the security reports indicate that a majority of the hostile 
acts committed against U.S.

and Iraqi security forces over the past two weeks have occurred outside 
those three provinces. For

example, the cities of Amarah in the southern province of Maysan and 
Samawah in Muthanna province,

also in the south, had long been relatively free of violence but are now 
experiencing frequent

attacks, the reports indicate.

There also has been an unusual spike in the number of attacks to the 
north of the capital. More

attacks have been reported in the northern cities of Mosul, Samarra and 
Tikrit over the past two

weeks than in Fallujah and Ramadi, two areas of frequent fighting in Anbar.

Military officials contend, however, that does not mean the restive 
areas west of Baghdad -- the

area known as the Sunni Triangle -- are no longer insurgent strongholds. 
The likely explanation,

the officials said, is that U.S. Marines stationed in Anbar have sharply 
reduced their patrolling,

making them less vulnerable to roadside attacks. But that strategy, 
officials say, has allowed

insurgent cells to expand in the province.

"There are fewer attacks here because we're out on the road less," an 
officer at the Marine

headquarters near Fallujah said on condition of anonymity. "But you 
shouldn't conclude from that

that things are any safer."

As news reports have detailed over the past several months, the 
insurgents' campaign of violence

is not limited to U.S. and Iraqi security forces. Iraqi civilians 
working for the interim

government have been killed and kidnapped. So, too, have Iraqis who work 
as interpreters and truck

drivers for the U.S. military. Foreign civilians, even aid workers and 
fellow Arabs, are regarded

as fair game by the insurgents.

The security situation has grown so dire that many of the few remaining 
nongovernmental aid

organizations left in Iraq are making plans to withdraw. The United 
Nations, which was supposed to

help organize the national elections, has just 30 employees in the 
country, all of whom are

quartered in the U.S.-controlled, fortified Green Zone. Foreign 
journalists, who used to roam the

country, are now largely restricted by safety concerns to Baghdad hotels 
surrounded with concrete

walls and barbed wire.

With insurgents targeting not just U.S. troops but seemingly everyone in 
the country -- Iraqi

security forces, Iraqis working for the interim government, foreign 
contractors, journalists, aid

workers and others -- it is difficult for even ordinary Iraqis to ignore 
the threat.

"When we leave home, we never know if we're going to return home alive 
or not," said Mohammed

Kadhim, a taxi driver.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

Here is the Pro-position:

y David H. Petraeus
Sunday, September 26, 2004; Page B07

BAGHDAD -- Helping organize, train and equip nearly a quarter-million of 
Iraq's security forces is

a daunting task. Doing so in the middle of a tough insurgency increases 
the challenge enormously,

making the mission akin to repairing an aircraft while in flight -- and 
while being shot at. Now,

however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi 
security elements are being

rebuilt from the ground up.

The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top 
down. And Iraqi leaders

are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces 
courageously in the face of

an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the 
establishment of the new Iraq.

(An Iraqi National Guard Soldier/Aladin Abdel Naby -- Reuters)


In recent months, I have observed thousands of Iraqis in training and 
then watched as they have

conducted numerous operations. Although there have been reverses -- not 
to mention horrific

terrorist attacks -- there has been progress in the effort to enable 
Iraqis to shoulder more of

the load for their own security, something they are keen to do. The 
future undoubtedly will be

full of difficulties, especially in places such as Fallujah. We must 
expect setbacks and recognize

that not every soldier or policeman we help train will be equal to the 
challenges ahead.

Nonetheless, there are reasons for optimism. Today approximately 164,000 
Iraqi police and soldiers

(of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 
74,000 facility protection

forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is 
being delivered. Training

is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being 
repaired. Command and control

structures and institutions are being reestablished.

Most important, Iraqi security forces are in the fight -- so much so 
that they are suffering

substantial casualties as they take on more and more of the burdens to 
achieve security in their

country. Since Jan. 1 more than 700 Iraqi security force members have 
been killed, and hundreds of

Iraqis seeking to volunteer for the police and military have been killed 
as well.

Six battalions of the Iraqi regular army and the Iraqi Intervention 
Force are now conducting

operations. Two of these battalions, along with the Iraqi commando 
battalion, the counterterrorist

force, two Iraqi National Guard battalions and thousands of policemen 
recently contributed to

successful operations in Najaf. Their readiness to enter and clear the 
Imam Ali shrine was

undoubtedly a key factor in enabling Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to 
persuade members of the Mahdi

militia to lay down their arms and leave the shrine.

In another highly successful operation several days ago, the Iraqi 
counterterrorist force

conducted early-morning raids in Najaf that resulted in the capture of 
several senior lieutenants

and 40 other members of that militia, and the seizure of enough weapons 
to fill nearly four 7 1/2

-ton dump trucks.

Within the next 60 days, six more regular army and six additional 
Intervention Force battalions

will become operational. Nine more regular army battalions will complete 
training in January, in

time to help with security missions during the Iraqi elections at the 
end of that month.

Iraqi National Guard battalions have also been active in recent months. 
Some 40 of the 45 existing

battalions -- generally all except those in the Fallujah-Ramadi area -- 
are conducting operations

on a daily basis, most alongside coalition forces, but many 
independently. Progress has also been

made in police training. In the past week alone, some 1,100 graduated 
from the basic policing

course and five specialty courses. By early spring, nine academies in 
Iraq and one in Jordan will

be graduating a total of 5,000 police each month from the eight-week 
course, which stresses

patrolling and investigative skills, substantive and procedural legal 
knowledge, and proper use of

force and weaponry, as well as pride in the profession and adherence to 
the police code of


Iraq's borders are long, stretching more than 2,200 miles. Reducing the 
flow of extremists and

their resources across the borders is critical to success in the 
counterinsurgency. As a result,

with support from the Department of Homeland Security, specialized 
training for Iraq's border

enforcement elements began earlier this month in Jordan.

Regional academies in Iraq have begun training as well, and more will 
come online soon. In the

months ahead, the 16,000-strong border force will expand to 24,000 and 
then 32,000. In addition,

these forces will be provided with modern technology, including vehicle 
X-ray machines, explosive

-detection devices and ground sensors.

Outfitting hundreds of thousands of new Iraqi security forces is 
difficult and complex, and many

of the units are not yet fully equipped. But equipment has begun 
flowing. Since July 1, for

example, more than 39,000 weapons and 22 million rounds of ammunition 
have been delivered to Iraqi

forces, in addition to 42,000 sets of body armor, 4,400 vehicles, 16,000 
radios and more than 235

,000 uniforms.

Considerable progress is also being made in the reconstruction and 
refurbishing of infrastructure

for Iraq's security forces. Some $1 billion in construction to support 
this effort has been

completed or is underway, and five Iraqi bases are already occupied by 
entire infantry brigades.

Numbers alone cannot convey the full story. The human dimension of this 
effort is crucial. The

enemies of Iraq recognize how much is at stake as Iraq reestablishes its 
security forces.

Insurgents and foreign fighters continue to mount barbaric attacks 
against police stations,

recruiting centers and military installations, even though the vast 
majority of the population

deplores such attacks. Yet despite the sensational attacks, there is no 
shortage of qualified

recruits volunteering to join Iraqi security forces. In the past couple 
of months, more than 7,500

Iraqi men have signed up for the army and are preparing to report for 
basic training to fill out

the final nine battalions of the Iraqi regular army. Some 3,500 new 
police recruits just reported

for training in various locations. And two days after the recent bombing 
on a street outside a

police recruiting location in Baghdad, hundreds of Iraqis were once 
again lined up inside the

force protection walls at another location -- where they were greeted by 
interim Prime Minister

Ayad Allawi.

I meet with Iraqi security force leaders every day. Though some have 
given in to acts of

intimidation, many are displaying courage and resilience in the face of 
repeated threats and

attacks on them, their families and their comrades. I have seen their 
determination and their

desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq.

There will be more tough times, frustration and disappointment along the 
way. It is likely that

insurgent attacks will escalate as Iraq's elections approach. Iraq's 
security forces are, however,

developing steadily and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in 
recent months. With strong

Iraqi leaders out front and with continued coalition -- and now NATO -- 
support, this trend will

continue. It will not be easy, but few worthwhile things are.

The writer, an Army lieutenant general, commands the Multinational 
Security Transition Command in

Iraq. He previously commanded the 101st Airborne Division, which was 
deployed in Iraq from March

2003 until February 2004.

tvoivozhd---I have seen the Petraeus position actually prevail in WWII.  
You do not have to

control all parts of a country simultaneously, either for valid 
elections or transfer of political

and security control---well-proven in Japan and Germany.  If the Sunni 
Tiangle is a holdout, the

majority domestic Shiites will ultimately take care of that problem---by 
civil war if necessary,

where the weight of numbers is decisive.

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