Tag Archives: anbar

Gun Fights and Knife Fights

Nagl, J. (2007). Spilling soup on myself in al anbar. SWJ Blog. January 26, 2007. Available online: http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/01/spilling-soup-on-myself-in-al/ (from ZenPundit).

Foreign occupiers face a problem: they are foreign. The police don’t have this problem. Policemen and women are from the community, or at least the region. Their job, over the months and years and decades and generations from being a rookie to a grey-haired old coot, is to work the same beats solving the same problems. Foreign occupiers can be induced to leave, by convincing them that the utility they gain from a region is exceeded by the costs involved in handling the region. However, policing is a logical function of any local government. The only way a local government can be turned from policing is if it gives up on being a government (which happens sometimes, but only rarely).

With that in mind, I read Colonel John Nagel’s post over at the Small Wars Journal Blog:

Always consider the long-term effects of operations in a counterinsurgency environment. Killing an insurgent today may be satisfying, but if in doing so you convince all the members of his clan to fight you to the death, you’ve actually taken three steps backwards.

This is wise thinking for a foreign occupier under certain situations. But it would be insane for police. Foreign occupiers nearly always face long-term strategic despair, as they know they will eventually leave. But local forces don’t plan to leave, local forces will be there win or lose, and so local forces have a greater incentive for winning. Foreign occupiers worry about angering their enemies. Local police focus on making their enemies (criminals) fear the law.

Colonel Nagl described counterinsurgency as learning to eat soup with a knife, but it may be thought of as trying to win a shoot-out with a knife. The weapon is inappropriate. Knives are best used in knife-words, at the short-range, close-in fighting that defines insurgencies. We have biggest gun in the world. We should use our guns to blow away our enemies, and find men good with knives to leave in their place.

The solution for Iraq is clear: stop making Iraq a case where foreign forces fight terrorists, and start making it a case where local police fight terrorists. Instead of US Marines and Soldiers fighting in Anbar and Baghdad against Sunni Baathists, let the police, national guard, and army of Iraq.

When the terrorists find themselves trapped, they should not delight in our fear of angering them. They should look out their windows and see the security forces of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or the Dawa Party, or the Patriotic Union, or the Kurdish Democrats.

When we leave, we take away the hope and safety of our enemies. And in return, we will give them fear.

Terrorize terrorists. Leave Iraq Now.

There Is No Iraq War; There Is Only the Euphrates War

The Anbar Campaign,” by Bill Roggio, The Fourth Rail, 4 August 2005, http://billroggio.com/archives/2005/08/the_anbar_campa.php.

Is “the Iraq War” now really a name for operations in Anbar province, the Sunni Arab rejection portion for the country? Is our focus really just subduing a small violent minority?

The Anbar War?

That is one impression of a detailed post over at The Fourth Rail, arguing that recent Coalition offensives are all focused on the Euphrates River in Anbar province.

Map of Battles:


List of Battles:

Operation River Blitz
February, 20 2005 to Present
Ramadi, Hit, Baghdadi and Hadithah.
Iraqi Security Forces and elements of the 1st Marine Division

Operation Matador
May 7, 2005 – May 14, 2005
Western Iraq
2nd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Marine Division

Operation Squeeze Play
May 23, 2005
Two battalions from the 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division; two battalions from the 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force; three battalions from the 2nd Brigade Special Police Commandos; and Soldiers from Task Force 2-14, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

Operation New Market
May 25 to Present, 2005
Marine Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division; a company of the Iraqi Security Forces

Operation Thunder/Lightning
May 25-29, 2005
Upwards to 40,000 Iraqi and Coalition soldeirs

Operation Veterans Forward:
June 16, 2005
Tal Afar

Operation Spear
June 17, 2005
Regimental Combat Team-2, 2nd Marine Division and Iraqi Security Force

Operation Dagger:
June 19, 2005
Thar Thar
1,000 Marines and Iraqi troops

Operation Sword
July 6, 2005
Regimental Combat Team-2, 2nd Marine Division and Iraqi Security Force

Operation Scimitar
July 9th, 2005
Zaidan about 20 miles southeast of Fallujah
3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team-8, a company of Iraqi soldiers

July 18th, 2005
Elements of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team

Let’s hope so. The Iraq War has been a skilled combination of encircling, subverting and co-opting the most important state in the region: Iran.

The correlation of forces is constantly improving. If we can remove the Sunni Arab threat to the free Iraqi Government, the Kurdish-Shia government can be a force for liberation in neighboring dictatorships and one of the greatest achievements of the Bush Administration.

Oops! We won! Inshallah!

Shiite Iraq,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent, http://www.juancole.com/2005/02/shiite-iraq-al-hayat-muhammad-husain.html, 18 February 2005.

It’s not often that pro-insurgent ballot boycotts coincide with Monty Pythonesque hilarity, but these are interesting times

In a startling development to which the Western press is paying little attention, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq has won the provincial governments in 8 of the 18 provinces in the country, including Baghdad. Over-all Shiite lists won 11 of the 18. Sadrists won Wasit and Maysam, and perhaps one other. Dawa doesn’t appear to have run well at the provincial level. The Kurds won several of the northern provinces, including Ta’mim (where Kirkuk is) and Ninevah. The Iraqi Islamic Party won Anbar province, even though it withdrew from the elections. (It couldn’t properly withdraw because the ballots had already been printed.) But only 2 percent of the residents of Anbar voted, so the IIP victory doesn’t mean much.

In l33t speak: 1010^^65^^^135835064^/