The United States as a 5GW Power in Iraq

A military force that fights the a war in modern warfare’s fifth generation — that is, a 5GW Army, focuses on altering the rules of the game so that the fighting of lower-generational forces proceed in a way favorable to the 5G force.

In his testimony (of which I have a pdf copy thanks to the Small Wars Council and ZenPundit), General David Petraeus describes his view of America’s role in Iraq as 5GW in everything but name:

The fundamental source of the conflict in Iraq is competition among ethnic and sectarian communities for power and resources. This competition will take place, and its resolution is key to producing long-term stability in the new Iraq. The question is whether the competition takes place more – or less – violently

The United States, and thus the Multinational Force – Iraq more generally, are fighting the state-without kind of 5GW.

The Ethno-Sectarian Violence Maps of the Petraeus Report

Courtesy of Zen Pundit and the Small Wars Council, I was able to read the testimony and examine the presentation of the report that General Petraeus, of the Multinational Force – Iraq, gave to the Congress. The fifth slide is titled “Ethno-Sectarian” violence, and contains maps of Sunni v. Shia attacks on December 2006, February 2007, May 2007, and August 2007.


The Battle of Baghdad

What’s strange about it is that the neighborhood map does not change. The detailed color-coded representation of Baghdad, with Green for majority Shia, blue for majority Sunni, and orange for mixed appears to be the same now as it was twenty months ago.


Detailed view

Everywhere, of course, one reads about the etnic cleansing of Baghdad. So what gives? I’m assuming that those who prepared the slides for Petraeus used the last available census information for generating the ethnic neighborhood maps, but alternatively (and less likely, in my opinion) the discussion of ongoing ethnic cleansing could be overblown.


A virtual Baghdad?

Finally, presuming the violence in Baghdad is leading to ethnically cleansed neighborhoods, it would be interesting to compare a real time-sequenced map of Baghdad with theoretical work on homogenization and inter-group tournaments that’s now appearing in the academic literature.