Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Petraeus’ "Hail Mary" Move

Militias Take the Field As the Clock Runs Down

Robert Y Pelton over at IraqSlogger has a very interesting, insightfull and sobering analysis of what the US is currently doing in Iraq. Which effectively is arming every one.!!! Unbelievable.!! This really going to backfire on the US.

His solution? Stick as many guns into as many hands as fast as possible appears to be the new ground strategy. Current US and Iraqi ground presence is not sustainable. So why not invite the spectators from the bleachers to play on your team as well? These new players are known as “Emergency Response Units” aka “Salvation Councils" aka "Legitimate Resistance Forces" aka local militias, mercenaries, armed gangs, tribal fighters or whatever. The solution harks back to the most basic counterinsurgency strategy: Divide and conquer or “If everyone is fighting each other they won’t have time to fight us.”

The CIA and the military are now busy calving off more and more local fighting groups to create a bewildering mix of Shia, Sunni, tribal, regional and even neighborhood armies. As long as they aren’t “the bad guys” (not really a label used in counterinsurgency since technically they are all bad and good guys) then that leaves smaller and smaller groups of insurgents left to fight. Even if they were or are bad guys, keeping them inside the tent is still a better prospect than wondering what they are doing outside the tent. Armies consisting of illiterates, criminals, drop-outs and former insurgents are being armed and trained and paid between $100 and $300 per mission to join the fray.

ERU’s are created by large financial payments to sheikhs who must provide manpower for the free guns and training or through local power brokering to once terrified citizens is another and simple survivor-like “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” logic provides the rest. Sometimes ad hoc armies are created by kicking open the back of a truck and handing out ammunition, food and medical supplies.

These tribal, ethnic or local militias are in effect glorified death squads. Groups who use their newly-found violent powers with little restraint to push out what they believe are hostile elements. Just one look at what we have wrought in Iraq brings back memories of Liberia or Albania. Ragged bands of oddly dressed civilians carrying brand new heavy machine guns, RPG’s and AK’s...with nary a clue on how to use them other than they can now use them on full auto with impunity or concern for ammo costs. You might notice that these homespun Iraqi militias are using identical weapons to those we gave the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan... and they are the same weapons we worked so hard to hand them back over when the fight was over. As one Iraqi politician Sami al-Askari commented in the CSN ""What the Americans are doing is very risky and unwise. They are planting the seeds for future wars,"

Read the whole thing here

1 comment:

Utexas said...

Just give guns to everyone!