Tag Archives: Petraeus

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.

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.

General Betray Us

Hegseth, P. (2007). MoveOn.org calls Petraeus a traitor. Weekly Standard. September 9, 2007. Available online: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/091rhesh.asp.

Since the very first time I heard the name “General Petreaus,” I’ve been waiting for someone, anyone, to make the obvious pun. It’s even better than Joseph Lieberman, and far surpasses President Ray-gun. My big, big thanks to MoveOn.org for finally pulling the trigger, and using “General Betray Us” in a newspaper attack ad:

Tomorrow–as General David Petraeus provides his Iraq assessment to Congress–the antiwar group MoveOn.org is running a full-page advertisement in the New York Times under the headline: “General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House.”

Other brave souls, including Corrente, No Quarter, and Peking Duck, have already made the pun, but now, it finally reached the New York Times as a full-page ad.

I have nothing against Dave Petraeus. I’ve heard only good things about him, and expect to support his report. But the pun is too obvious. And now, that pun is fulfillzed.

Thank you, MoveOn.org!

American General on Training in Iraq

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus speaks at Princeton ,” by TigerHawk, TigerHawk, 2 October 2005, http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2005/10/lt-gen-david-petraeus-speaks-at.html (from Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog).

Former Commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command and NATO Training Mission, as well as first Free Iraq recipient of the Order of the Golden Palm, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus recently spoke at Princeton. This American soldier had the following to say about Iraq:

The central theme of his talk, which was supported by lots of data and supporting anecdotes, was that there are a lot of myths about Iraq that need to be dispelled. One such myth is the claim that NATO has not been involved — General Petraeus forcefully argued that it had been, particularly in the establishment of the military academy and training facilities, but that NATO’s participation had been substantially ignored by the press. Another myth is that “the Iraqi forces have no armor.” Coalition members from the former Communist bloc have contributed lots of armor compatible with legacy Iraqi experience, including 77 T-70 tanks from Hungary (“which are better than anything the Iraqis had under Saddam”). Iraqi tanks have been organized into an armored brigade which is responsible for securing the airport road (“Route Irish has been free of violence since the Iraqi armored brigade took it over”).

In General Petraeus’ conception, the Transition Command has five missions:

To “help Iraqis.” “We believed what TE Lawrence said: “Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not win it for them.”

To “organize” the Iraqi military. The task of building a functioning military and special police force is extremely complex, and the Iraqis are doing it with Coalition and NATO guidance. Iraq is doing its own “recruiting and vetting.” We are helping them design the units, which includes the personnel and command structure of each unit from the platoon on up.

The organization of the training of the special Iraqi police had to be particularly original. We have “dramatically shifted” the police training from the Kosovo model. “Iraq is not a 9mm pistol world, it is an AK47 world.”

The most impressive thing about the Iraqi units is how tenacious they have become, notwithstanding early reports that they would cut and run. According to General Patraeus, since the January elections, from which the Iraqi security forces “took an enormous lift that still persists,” the Iraqi forces “have not run from a fight, they have not backed down.” This strikes me, by the way, as enormously hopeful for the future of Iraq, the persistence of the counterinsurgency, and the power of democracy to motivate the fight against the war on terror.

More highlights from the Transition Command’s work:

Under NATO’s auspices, the Iraqi military academy is open with entirely Iraqi instructors. It might have been opened much earlier with foreign instructors, but the Coalition felt that it was important to make it an Iraqi endeavor. General Patraeus noted later that he was very unhappy that this achievement got essentially no coverage in the media given its importance to success in Iraq.

Short- Mid- and Long-Range plans for the future development of the military are in place and being executed, relating to force structure, training, institutions, equipment. This all being done in conjunction with Iraqis.

At any given time, there are more than 3000 Iraqis out of the country training, including 2000 at a police academy in Jordan, and another 200 at an elite training facility “in a neighboring country.” It was obvious that this neighboring country is classified, and we can assume that it isn’t Jordan, which he mentioned specifically. Assuming that it isn’t Syria or Iran, that leaves Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Since there would be no need to keep a facility in Kuwait secret and since it would be in Turkey’s external interest to be seen to be helping NATO (given its pending application to join the EU), my guess is that the secret training facility is in Saudi Arabia, which undoubtedly does not want to be caught collaborating with the United States to kill Sunni guerrillas.

It is good that America has such an well-spoken, intelligent officer corp. Read more.