Thursday, June 9, 2005

Progress in Iraq

The always-excellent StrategyPage has an interesting story today about recent progress in the Iraqi "wild west". It starts:

More towns in Iraqi's "wild west" are being pacified. The usual drill is not another Fallujah, but a government official meeting with local tribal and religious leaders, where an offer is made. Iraqi and American troops are coming. Neighborhoods that support the government will see little or no fighting as a search is made for weapons, bombs and the like. Neighborhoods that wish to resist will be hit hard. By now, everyone knows how smart bombs work. Increasingly, Sunni Arab leaders are being told, by their followers, that all this violence is not worth it. After Saddam fell, Sunni Arabs continued to believe in fantasies. For the last two years, the collective delusion was that the Americans had no stomach for guerilla war, and the Kurds and Shia Arabs could never get a government together. Today, Sunni Arabs who can get away on a little vacation, go north to the Kurdish north, or south to Shia Basra. In both places you can sit in an outdoor cafe without fear of a suicide bomb going off down the street. The Kurds and Shia have more jobs, more reconstruction and less crime. The Sunni Arabs don't want to live in their own mess any more. They don't want to live in a combat zone, especially while the Kurds and Shia are not.

Read the whole thing; it's well worth it.

I find this development quite encouraging, especially if it really is an accelerating trend, as the article appears to contend. A guerilla war doesn't really have a defined end (a surrender), as a more conventional war would. It seems to me that closest equivalent to a surrender in a guerilla war is when one side's civilian support disintegrates. And that's exactly what this Sunni behavior sounds like the beginning of...

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