Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Surge and The Bugout

The United States is gearing up to deploy another 21,500+ soldiers to pacify Baghdad. In anticipation of the arrival of all these new Americans, AQ-Iraq it seems is going on vacation to locations more beneficial to their continued health. At least that is the speculation among some people, that AQ-Iraq is retreating before more American cowboys come to chase them out of Dodge.

Do not bet on it. So now I am going to speculate a bit and try to play mind-reader, to plumb the fetid fevered depths of AQ-Iraq’s collective mind. Two things are guiding my speculation. First that Osama bint Laden likes to talk about the American retreat from Mogadishu after getting a bloody nose. Second lets remember the propaganda piece in which AQ and its various franchise operations claimed the November election defeat of the Republicans was because of them, not the Democrats’ message.

Now lest say those extra troops are now in Baghdad, 900 per neighborhood supporting a larger Iraqi Army force for two weeks. And nothing is happening anywhere in the city, no more IED explosions or sniper attacks are experienced. Markets are open and people are everywhere. Meanwhile media outlets like Al-Jazeera are reporting on the quiet and avidly speculating that once again America has made a mistake by jumping to conclusions based on bad intelligence.

Then just after dusk, with a shattering series of mortar rounds impacting Route Irish to Baghdad International Airport, the quiet is shattered. Coalition and Iraqi forces respond to the attack, rushing to secure Route Irish from a determined attack by a large force of terrorists. While this is happening, the true target of the terrorists will be attacked; a strike at American power inside the Green Zone as the killers make a bid to recreate the Battle of Bunker’s Bunker.

Being the insurgent aggressor means AQ-Iraq and other hanger-ons do not really have to win the battle. They just have to give Maliki’s government and the US a public black-eye. And they expect by doing so, the Coalition – read the United States – will pull out instead of sticking it out. Thus dooming anything approaching a popularly elected government in Iraq. Media outlets like Al-Jazeera will be playing a key role in this shaping of the battlefield; in this day and age we cannot truly separate the physical battlefield where blood is spilled from the battlefield of ideas and images because they can compliment and buttress each other. These media ravens can still harp on the failings of American intelligence and thereby the concept of American strength, this time for failing to detect the two-pronged attack while they transmit all the gory details.

Now lets look at how to scuttle this or at least blunt it. While AQ-Iraq is decamping to the suburbs, the existing Coalition and Iraqi forces need to step up. They need to start noticing who has become scarce, find out who they are related to, see if the relatives are about, question the relatives, and then keep an eye on the relatives just to let them know they are not forgotten. Just like organized crime task forces pay attention to the small fish in Mafia families when the bigger ones are laying low. Also up the fee paid for valuable information that allows Iraqis and US forces to disrupt attacks before they are carried out while also adding more anonymous ways to inform. AQ-Iraq and others will have left some spies behind but how many is unknown, there is always a good chance, judging by how loyalty in Iraq tends to center around family and tribes, they are relatives of those who have gone missing so this rolls into previous idea of them being put under surveillance. Which will seriously impair the ability to gather valuable information as they pretend to be law-abiding citizens least they get carted off to jail. Once the force levels start to ramp up with new soldiers, have them search abandoned buildings and if any scrap of terrorist munitions is found in that building then level the building and pay the actual owner compensation for the loss. Sure might run the risk of funding a terrorist supporter but in the short term you are reducing possible safe houses and arms dumps; hence reducing the ability of the terrorists to carry out attacks inside Baghdad. Extend the intelligence gathering and tip lines out into the suburbs to make even the relative safety of those areas doubtful with Special Forces teams prowling to make war on the terrorists. And finally have forces not in Baghdad disrupt the supply lines from Syria and Iran, make them 100% lethal for anyone to try and run them. And everyday that goes by in Baghdad without an attack makes the city less hospitable for the terrorist for they cannot successfully operate when the surrounding populace is even modestly against them. And every day of quiet undermines their chief weapon called terror because it will sink in amongst people that AQ-Iraq and other terrorists are fearful of the Iraqi government and their Coalition allies. And that will be the death of the terrorist movement in Iraq.

That is my armchair analysis. Let’s see if its worth enough to buy a bottle of pop. The terrorists are betting on carrying out a sneak attack to chase the US out, and they think recent history supports their idea. Lets prove them wrong.

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