With the multiple embeds by bloggers over the past few years, we are getting a different view of Iraq than we are getting of nearly any Nation on Earth, even the United States. This view is not one that attempts to make all of Iraq one thing or go in with pre-determined views, but, instead, report what they see, as they see it with personal bias but also recognize that what they are covering is greater than themselves singly or taken together. From that a clearer view of the actual place of Iraq is coming into view.
Lets take a look at some of this and understand what it is that is being seen there. At this point Bill Ardolino from INDC Journal is setting the scene rather well with his reports on the successes, failures and outlooks from Fallujah. This is from his 15 JAN 07 interview with a policeman in Fallujah, something that the MSM in days of yore would have done wherever the US Armed Forces were, but seem unable to do in this modern day and age. This from the lead-in to the interview:
The difficulty of obtaining this interview underscores the political and cultural complexities of the American effort in Fallujah. In order to get a few minutes of alone candor with an Iraqi patrolman, the Marines had to coordinate a task that excused his visit to the American wing of the station. Some Iraqi policeman - typically the ones who are in positions to work most closely with the Marines and civilian advisors - like the Americans, some tolerate the Americans, some dislike the Americans, and it's widely believed that a few actually (at least passively) work with insurgents. Paradoxically in most cases, the majority want Americans to leave, but not yet.Considering that personal initiative has gotten one dead over the past few decades, that is not a surprising outlook. A bit more on the ground previous to this is from Iraq The Model when this was posted by the brothers in response to Professor Cole not understanding Iraq, Fallujah or its tribal history. From the 16 DEC 2004 post on the 1920 Rebellion against the British in Iraq:
Two reasons: American firepower in and around Fallujah keeps the lid on chaos that waits to engulf the city, and the young Fallujan government still views itself as dependent on the Marines for everything from fuel to equipment to administrative savvy. One of the most frustrating tasks for the Police Transition Team is to wean locals off of this culture of dependency, a process reliant on them learning to work with and trust their central government, as well as do for themselves.
But Fallujans are remarkably insular; their local culture is famously mistrustful. A visitor from Ramadi or Baghdad is considered a foreigner. A Marine intelligence officer remarked to me that the first things Fallujans rebuilt after Operation al-Fajr were the gated walls surrounding their own houses. Another revealing anecdote was supplied by a Marine who cited a Western travel guide to Iraq circa the 1940's: it advised tourists in the region to steer clear of Fallujah, condemning the city as a notorious den of xenophobic smugglers and thieves.
Add decades of war and fealty to a Stalinist yet locally benevolent government to the mix, and you've got a difficult cultural stew of suspicion and missing initiative. Fallujans are proud and many are brave, but a number lack much will beyond the desire to personally prosper or just survive.
But even that (Sunnis celebrating Fallujah) is not true at all, as it's not Fallujah that had a role in that fight but Dhari's tribe that live in "Khan Al Nukta" midway between Baghdad and Fallujah, while the major tribe in Fallujah and all "Anbar" was, and still is, "Al Dulaim" tribe which was, as I stated in my previous post, a strong ally for the British and never took part in that revolt and even threatened "Dhari" to leave their province or they would fight him. The other issue is that Sheik "Dari" himself was one of those Shiek tribes that were paid by the British and only joined the revolt after his son killed colonel Lichman when he couldn't stand the outrageous insults Lichman directed to his father.This is not what one would call a 'simple' analysis and is based on local knowledge of the tribes involved, the personalities that drove events and why they happened the way they did. A more detailed description is given on 21 NOV 2004 when Ali first read the work of Dr. Cole, as he cited in the above, and couldn't make head nor tails of it:
However, this lasted only for few seconds, as soon after that some naughty brain cells in my head started a rebellion that soon became as massive as the 1920 revolution (compared to my head size) and kept bugging me, “that’s not what you hear from people! That’s not what you heard from your father, grandfather, and tribesmen from Mousl to Basra!”. There’s one thing no one can beat Arabs in, and that’s knowing their ancestors’ history. Any arab dedicated to his tribe knows almost everyone in his tribe and most other large tribes for generations, especially when it comes to important people related to important events.Here, again, the detail and insight given are a reflection of what can be seen in modern Fallujah, which is still highly tribal and depends upon the tribes greatly for leadership. Fallujah last saw leadership that was *not* based upon local inter-tribal groups and was non-sectarian back in the post-WWI era and that was foreign. When the British left they had installed Sunni's to take over Iraq and that led to some of the standard inter-tribal problems that are endemic throughout the Middle East. And learning to hold a grudge is something that is done extremely well there as Mr. Ardolino found out:
But the unofficial story is not only told on the streets and in tribes’ gatherings, but it was documented by the most respected and objective historians in Iraq. One of the most well-known and honored historians that came into my mind at that moment was the late Dr.” Ali Al Wardi”. He was a remarkable sociologist and considered by most as the best ever in Iraq and the Arab world but he was also a great historian when it comes to Iraq’s modern history. He wrote a series of books about the modern history of Iraq that is indispensable to anyone who wants to know the development of modern Iraq and the conflict between beduin and civil culture in Iraq that started long ago but was at its peak following WW1. His series are titled “Lamahat Ijtima’ayah min Tarikh Il Iraq Il Hadeeth” or “Sociological Glimpses from the Modern History of Iraq”.
In the 5th part, Al Wardi talks about the 1920 rebellion for about 700 pages; the events, the tribes that took part in it, the clerics role, rumors, feelings...Etc. He also mentioned Fallujah and Sheik Dhari in that part and talked about them for long 7 pages! What Al Wardi wrote in his book and what all Iraqis know is that the rebellion started in Rumaitha near Samawa, by She’at tribes, namely by Sha’alan Abu Al Jon leader of Al Dhuwalim tribe who was a She’at with help from grand She’at clerics who issued a Jihad Fatwa against the British. Only later the rebellion spread to involve most of Iraq including the areas near Fallujah. Moreover, Fallujah actually was never bombed and it was under the control of the British army all the time! Sheik Dhari’s hometown, Khan Al Nukta was half the way on the road between Baghdad and Fallujah and he had no control on any part of it!
INDC: You mentioned that you hate the insurgents, is that just more now because you've been shot or did you have a different opinion of them before?To step through this just a bit, Mr. Ardolino lets us into the mind of this policeman, so that we can see that his fight is a personal fight based on what has happened to his family. His loyalty to his uncle and the ensuing threats to the rest of the family moved him to join the police so as to start getting the threat put out of the way. His own personal injury adds to that determination to keep going. The brutal, inter-tribal method used to kill his uncle has more than some small part to play in this and he does *not* want his family subjected to same.
Mohammed: "They hit me and they also killed some of my family. Actually they killed my uncle who used to be an Iraqi Army soldier, and they killed him and burned his face. And then they actually started threatening us as well."
INDC: They burned his face?
Mohammed: "Yes. It's a substance called "tizar," it's like, acid. They put it in his face."
INDC: He was alive when they did this?
Mohammed: "Yes, he was alive. They burned him and stabbed him so many times, and also they shot him with bullets. And we found a note on him saying, 'The police and the army and the Americans are all the same.'
INDC: So they killed him because he was in the Iraqi Army?
Mohammed: "Yes. But we didn't tell any of these guys (the Iraqi police) around here (at the time) because they hated the Army as well."
INDC: So why do police hate the army?
Mohammed: "I think because the army actually liberated Fallujah, they work well, and they liberated Fallujah. And some of (the police) actually like (or liked) the insurgents."
"And the other thing would be because they are different (sects of Islam). But after the operations we started doing together, now we became like one and the same, we became like brothers."
INDC: The Iraqi police and the Iraqi Army?
Mohammed: "Yes. Now we became like brothers."
INDC: So how does the police work with the Iraqi Army when some of the police hate the IA's?
Mohammed: "Some bad guys used to be part of the police, but now they quit and ran to Syria. And actually in the JCC (American control room) they know (who) most of them (are)."
The rift between the IP's and IA's that Mohammed describes is accurate, as is the recent, though potentially transitory accord. After a recent set of operations where the Marines encouraged the police and army to work together, the Americans were surprised to find Shia IA's and Sunni IP's joking around with each other and hugging after a successful raid. As Gunnery Sergeant Jason Lawson put it, they were showing off captured insurgents "like kids comparing Halloween candy." Whether this amity will last is anyone's guess.
INDC: So who are the insurgents? Who are the people who are fighting stability? Are they locals?
Mohammed: "(Yes), almost all of them."
INDC: So why are local Fallujans fighting other Fallujans?
Mohammed: "Because the al Qaeda organization came to this city and controlled it so hard by killing. And some people here actually like killing and they liked Saddam Hussein as well, and I think the al Qaeda organization and Saddam Hussein are the same face."
INDC: What do you mean by "the same face," because Saddam was secular, he was not religious and al Qaeda is ...
Mohammed: "Because the language they use is killing. And the same people who used to be with Saddam, now they participate with the insurgency."
INDC: So their motivation for killing is what?
Mohammed: "Money and to be famous. And I think the first reason is to fight the American troops. They say, 'we can start from here and cross all the way to America to fight them.'"
Next up is the original view that the Iraqi Army is seen as 'outsiders' and that they actually liberated Fallujah to its current state of affairs. This initial resentment was not held by all, however, as witness the man's uncle. And when push was coming to shove the Iraqi Police realized that learning to work *with* the Iraqi Army would yield results that would help to actually protect the people of Fallujah. That is relatively humbling for a people that are in a bunker mentality for generations as witness their need for having walls around their family compounds. One does not make walls a first priority unless one has a reasonable need for them, and in Fallujah that has been an ongoing need for some time, be it against dictators, warlord, or terrorists. Add to this the use of tribal differences by most Arab regimes, as described by Norvell de Atkine in Why Arab Armies Lose Wars when he looked at the underlying causes that made 'combined arms' warfare nearly impossible to do. And those things, being social in origin, go deeper than just military affairs:
Three underlying factors further impede coordination necessary for combined operations.Thus that Iraqi Police Officer is coming from a background in a town that has been divided by multiple rulers, manipulated by those rulers to play faction against faction, have had religion used as a wedge between factions and tribes, all of which has forced reliance down to the tribe and, finally, the family. There is no basis of trust networking in places like Fallujah as that has been uprooted there for decades until the most reliable unit is the family and tribal unit. This has been true for so long that it is now an acculturation artifact so that even those Arabs that have become urbanized are *still* basing their outlook and loyalty to tribe, clan and family *first*.• First, the well-known lack of trust among Arabs in anyone outside their own families adversely affects offensive operations. In a culture in which almost every sphere of human endeavor, including business and social relationships, is based on a family structure, this basic mistrust of others is particularly costly in the stress of battle. Offensive action, at base, consists of fire and maneuver. The maneuver element must be confident that supporting units or arms are providing covering fire. If there is a lack of trust in that support, getting troops moving forward against dug-in defenders is possible only by officers getting out front and leading, something that has not been a characteristic of Arab leadership. (Exceptions to this pattern are limited to elite units, which throughout the Arab world have the same duty — to protect the regime rather than the country.)
• Second, the complex mosaic system of peoples creates additional problems for training, as rulers in the Middle East make use of the sectarian and tribal loyalties to maintain power. The `Alawi minority controls Syria, east bankers control Jordan, Sunnis control Iraq, and Nejdis control Saudi Arabia. This has direct implications for the military, where sectarian considerations affect assignments and promotions. Some minorities (such the Circassians in Jordan or the Druze in Syria) tie their well-being to the ruling elite and perform critical protection roles; others (such as the Shi`a of Iraq) are excluded from the officer corps. In any case, the careful assignment of officers based on sectarian considerations works against assignments based on merit. The same lack of trust operates at the inter-state level, where Arab armies exhibit very little trust of each other, and with good reason. The blatant lie Gamal Abdel Nasser told King Husayn in June 1967 to get him into the war against Israel — that the Egyptian air force was over Tel Aviv (when the vast majority of planes had been destroyed) — was a classic example of deceit. Sadat’s disingenuous approach to the Syrians to entice them to enter the war in October 1973 was another (he told them that the Egyptians were planning total war, a deception that included using a second set of operational plans intended only for Syrian eyes). With this sort of history, it is no wonder that there is very little cross or joint training among Arab armies and very few command exercises. During the 1967 war, for example, not a single Jordanian liaison officer was stationed in Egypt, nor were the Jordanians forthcoming with the Egyptian command.
• Third, Middle Eastern rulers routinely rely on balance-of-power techniques to maintain their authority. They use competing organizations, duplicate agencies, and coercive structures dependent upon the ruler's whim. This makes building any form of personal power base difficult, if not impossible, and keeps the leadership apprehensive and off-balance, never secure in its careers or social position. The same applies within the military; a powerful chairman of the joint chiefs is inconceivable. Joint commands are paper constructs that have little actual function. Leaders look at joint commands, joint exercises, combined arms, and integrated staffs very cautiously for all Arab armies are double-edged swords. One edge points toward the external enemy and the other toward the capital. Land forces are at once a regime-maintenance force and threat to the same regime. This situation is most clearly seen in Saudi Arabia, where the land forces and aviation are under the minister of defense, Prince Sultan, while the National Guard is under Prince Abdullah, the deputy prime minister and crown prince. In Egypt, the Central Security Forces balance the army. In Iraq and Syria, the Republican Guard does the balancing.
What changes this attitude is something that is unknown in a region that bases its decisions on all the divisive factors that have been culturally used for those generations: meritocracy. People actually rewarded for doing things well and for the actual merit of the act accruing to the individual based on their capability without respect to ethnicity, tribe, religion or social standing amongst those things. To Create an Army that does things in that way and enforces its rules *equally* is something that has long-lasting and far reaching ramifications for Arab culture.
The description by the Iraqi Police Officer and from Mr. Ardolino's talks show what is happening with this new thing: there is coming to be an appreciation and respect for *capability* between the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army. The Officer, himself, states that by operating together and working together, even with having differences in sectarian and tribal affiliation, *ability* has won friends and respect for the actual *doing* of what one says they will do. The one officer who describes the IA and IP comparing notes after a raid is something else that is not seen in the Arab world: friendly competition.
The New Iraqi Army is no longer a distant force built up by propaganda and used to enforce the whims of a dictator and be a law unto themselves. Instead they are individuals doing a job by a set of rules and upholding those rules via their trained capability. The Iraqi Police are seeing a standard set and to actually gain respect one cannot boast about tribe, family, religion or political ties. One must actually do the work and do it well as that is what merit-based respect is all about.
My personal view is that the statement of viewing the IA "like brothers" is not something that is fully there as a feeling, unless and until the units train together or have some commonality of combat training and understanding. That said there is a bond forming that is not one that can easily be attacked and dissolved, and the IP are coming to understand that if you CROSS the IA by doing something wrong, they *you* will be on the target list. Those cowardly individuals who fled to Syria are a case in-point and the IP now know that these are individuals who mean no good to everyone around them and that the IA takes such traitorous activity seriously. By now they have first hand experience with that application of the rules and law as something done impartially as part of the job. So, perhaps not "brothers", but a commonality of 'professional respect and understanding' and high thanks to having friends like these who are now seen as coming to *help*.
Bill Roggio gives a look at that sort of thing with this dispatch from Fallujah on 9 DEC 2006:
Whenever Major Lippo travels, he takes a medic with him. This evening, we visited the Highway Patrol station on the outskirts of Fallujah. Although the Highway Patrol is administered by the Ramadi police district, there is much animosity and distrust between the departments and communication is poor to non-existent. Both complain the other departments are “muj'd up” or filled with insurgents – the mujahideen. The resulting jockeying is just one of many challenges and concerns that one needs to keep in mind out here.It is very hard to say *no* to someone or deny them help after they put forward medical help to the men under their command. In point of fact it would be a major dishonor to *not* send such help and 'get with the program' after that. Those under the command of such an individual would see him as not honorable nor caring about those he commands. That is something that previous police forces never had to take into consideration before.
After Major Lippo diplomatically castigated the Highway Police for failing to send a representative to the meetings at the Joint Command Center, he offered up Doc J to treat any police that had problems. The police invariably have some real or imagined illness. A line formed, and Doc J dispensed medicine for various aliments and won over new friends in the process.
A final piece is that the people of Fallujah recognize the enemy and it is many of those that have supported thugs, tyrants, dictators and terrorists. They have taken up the language of killing to get fame and glory, and the people of Fallujah are learning that for these people to *get* their fame and glory the death toll will *start* with them. Learning to curb the localism and tribal based loyalties so as to work together is a hard battle that must be won over time so as to create a better environment for everyone involved. Teaching that lesson is a hard one.
Some of this is seen with Michael Yon's reporting... actually a LOT of it is seen in his reporting, but one incident on 30 JAN 2005 dispatch Election Day: Iraqi Courage shows up some of what this leads to. Although it may seem like a small thing, it is another of those fascinating insights into Iraq as it transtions out of the old tyranny and into a new form that is not yet set:
Three police officers handcuffed a large man. They escorted him with great purpose to an abandoned room of the school. I approached to see what was happening. Did he have a bomb?Yes it really doesn't look all that good to be caught groping a foreign, female news producer. Luckily good sense and good manners let that slide by... no tales of 'female producer brutally groped by large Iraqi man' was seen on television, that I am aware of. Still the official had to be more than a bit displeased with this man, especially if he was from the same district or area and had a tribal tie. Which would be indicated by wanting to keep it a bit quiet as it would reflect poorly on the official if anything about this got out.
The policemen, who had been asking me to photograph them for the last hour or two, suddenly told me to stop taking pictures. Naturally, this caused me to pick up the camera and take pictures.
“What did this man do?” I asked an Iraqi official.
“He was, let’s say, misbehaving.”
Misbehaving? I hadn’t heard any bombs or gunfire at the polling station (not in the polling station, anyway), nor any commotion. What had he done? The official would not tell me.
“Is he a terrorist?” I asked.
“Is he a criminal?”
“Why did you arrest him?”
“Not important, really not important.”
“You have arrested a man who came to vote. This is very important. Why have you arrested him?”
Finally, the official embarrassedly explained that the man had grabbed the backside of the woman producer for CNN.
I sensed that he did not want a writer to know what this Iraqi man had done.
“What will you do with him?”
“He will spend two weeks in jail.”
“For grabbing the producer?”
“For grabbing the woman, yes.”
Eventually, the police conversed with the CNN crew, and released the man.
But the tribal culture is not all Arab in Iraq and it must be remembered that while tribalism, in a general form, takes a xenophobic form, it can also open to gratitude for deeds done in helping. While Arab culture, in many ways, heads towards distrust because of conditions, the other Iraq of the Kurds have a more highly vested system of honor and cohesiveness amongst tribes. The following comes from "Hello Ameriki!" (from the Kurds) during Mr. Yon's visit there recorded on the dispatch dated 14 APR 2005:
Today, Umar Bill is a village mostly of women and children. I asked Saamad the age of the oldest child. Fifteen, he said, adding that there are eighty families, most with five or more children. They are encouraged to have more.Yes, Arab tribalism is quite different than Kurdish tribalism both in outlook and ability to remain in a generally stable configuration for decades if not longer. That difference, however, can be understood and adapted to. Here again, Mr. Yon gives a fascinating account of how to build those bridges so as to allow starkly different cultures to work with each other to a common goal. A lengthy excerpt from The Battle for Mosul IV dated 4 OCT 2005 follows:
He fell somber and disappeared for a moment into memory. Emerging with a slight smile tinted by sadness in his eyes, he said, “The Kurds are so happy to see you. The Americans are like the angels from God.” But his expression changed dramatically to one of hidden anger: “The Arabs accuse the Americans of being murderers and criminals,” he said with finality, “but when Americans came, they brought justice.”
I expected to get blown up during every meeting with Colonel Eid. One day I accompanied Deuce Four soldiers to 4-West and Colonel Eid was wearing new bandages from an attack that had just killed his driver. Eid was back at duty, talking of how Americans shot him during the first Gulf War. Luckily, he had survived. I was sitting in the meeting when American soldiers spoke to Eid about the particular mortar crew they wanted 4-West to eliminate. Eid said he would try to get the mortar crew, and sure enough, his men killed them.America is learning how to put a 'small footprint' in Iraq, if only the political class would take any time to realize what that actually means. Learning the ins and outs of culture are vital not to the 'hearts and minds' winning, but towards building webs of trust and respect that then help to show not only understanding but acknowledgement of that understanding. These are hard won lessons that are necessary in Creating an Army and fighting a counter-insurgency, and gift-giving should remain a way that the Iraqi Army uses to build cooperation and understanding between commanders as it strengthens the Army to do so.
So, we headed to the sheep market.
Colonel Eid certainly didn’t need the sheep—he often fed us tasty meals of chicken or duck—but it was an important gesture of respect from commander to commander. In some ways, the delivery of the gift was more important than the gift itself.
The Iraqis have great pride. If an Iraqi colonel thought someone was patronizing him with trivial gifts, not only would he be insulted, he might also think the American was feeble-minded. But when the Iraqi commander respects the gift-giver, and the sincerity of the gift is not in question, the gesture by which it’s given takes on greater meaning. Kurilla and his officers never just delivered the sheep and said, “Thanks, here’s a sheep.” The delivery was always a spectacle.
One time, the soldiers arrived at COP Eagle to deliver a sheep to the commander, LTC Ali Gharza, only to find him sleeping. So Kurilla told the Iraqi guards to be quiet, and he snuck the stinking sheep into the commander’s room, shutting the door behind it. When the Iraqi commander jumped from bed in a state of confusion, Kurilla and his men burst in and everyone got a hearty laugh. Another time, Kurilla took a sheep and plopped it right on Colonel Eid’s desk.
Eid’s men had done something sheep-worthy—I’ve forgotten what it was, but it almost certainly involved killing terrorists—and we headed to the market. I always thought we were going to get blown up at the sheep market. After shopping for the best sheep, Kurilla started seriously haggling over the price while Iraqi buyers led sheep away, putting them inside car trunks and driving away. All along I was thinking “let’s get outta this death trap!” After threatening to buy a sheep from the next guy if he didn’t get an honest price, finally the deal was sealed, and we loaded the sheep on the Stryker and headed over to 4-West.
On the wall behind Colonel Eid’s desk hang two rifles that had once belonged to terrorists killed by his men. Entering Eid’s office that day, Kurilla said, “Colonel Eid! I brought you a sheep, but this one is tied up to the tree outside.”
Eid smiled. The professional respect from another commander was worth mountains of future progress in Mosul, and so what happened next took everyone by surprise.
Kurilla smiled and said, “That’s a nice sheep. But it’s only for eating.”
I nearly fell mute. Did he really just say that? The interpreter said to Kurilla, “Excuse me sir?”
“You know what I said. Tell him the sheep is only for eating. It’s not a girlfriend. Translate it.”
That’s it. Kurilla’s lost his mind. I was ready to run for the door.
The interpreter hesitated. Then translated. Colonel Eid burst into laughter.
“I’m serious,” said Kurilla, “only for eating.” Since the two commanders were laughing, everyone who’d stiffened when they first heard the words now laughed. The commanders got down to business plotting how to kill more bad guys. But from then on, every time we delivered a sheep, even the police guards would yell down to us from behind their machine guns, “Only for eating!” and all would burst out laughing.
Humor can strengthen bonds. There were other times, when Kurilla would come in and talk about people we had captured or killed, and tell Eid, “You’re falling behind!” Or he’d bring in pictures of detainees and say, “Please circle your relatives so we can release them.”
Next up is Bryan Preston who worked with Michelle Malkin during their recent trip to Iraq. While it was a relatively short stay, we get some insights from them and I am sure they will be handing out more information and analysis as time goes on. Mr. Preston is up first with his 17 JAN 2007 post at Hot Air on Assessing Iraq. In the Hurriyah sector of the city they ran right up against the things that de Atkine looked at along with some of the 'local differences' that make the world go around:
...Most people in the states don’t realize that most of Baghdad’s violence is confined to areas where Shia and Sunni mix. No one so much as threw a rock at us, and the troops were greeted in a friendly manner nearly everywhere they went. Only in Hurriyah did we see overt hostility, but it never went beyond the sly insult stage.There is the mosaic of tribe, sect and local culture all coming to the forefront. Well, perhaps not so wonderful for those having to experience such, but the deep rooted divisions seen out in Fallujah are in play in this urban area of Baghdad. The local tribal leadership are the 'godfathers' being talked about, and they do a balancing act between families in their part of town to try and each reach separate goals while not wanting to start a real, live shooting war. When outsiders come in to break up these cozy familiarities they are none too happy with it, especially if they were not TOLD about these goings-on by members of their tribes, families of particular sub-sect within the major sect. As Islam has highly variable local interpretations, sub-sectarian differences can also serve as a divisive factor even if the teaching outlook is different in only a minor way.
[this paragraph from a photo caption]Hurriyah’s godfathers failed to serve chai, the first sign that they weren’t happy to see us. About three weeks ago, US forces discovered two Sunni hostages in the building next door to this one, which is a mosque. These fellas a) weren’t happy about the raid and b) weren’t happy that US forces raided a building next door to a mosque. Iraqi Army troops raided the mosque itself, but didn’t find anything.
By using the civil way of making their displeasure felt they were clearly informing eveyone of that, but not to the point of being thoroughly impolite or blatantly hostile. These men feel the power structure changing around them and don't like it and wish to be kept 'in the loop' not only from higher government but by their own people. Some of the resentment might come from that internal displeasure which raises their overall level of feeling. Still, they know that everyone there has to live with each other and it is the 'outsiders' that brought things out in the open. That attitude does not have them on the streets with weapons at hand, but are, instead, politely making their views felt and still not letting their emotions over-ride good sense. Here the honor is to be 'kept informed', but there is also a recognition that this is not always possible and that the leaders, themselves, may not be getting the right information from their own people. Not serving the customary tea is one way of expressing the dissatisfaction with the activity and the necessity of having to express it while not being hot about it. That is as much a warning to those who did the raid as it is to the people who will tell of this and remember that not keeping the local leadership informed makes *them* look bad.
For the rest Mr. Preston's article I have stated my positions on both the problems caused by US Foreign Policy getting us the long-term position the entire Middle East is in, and in the unreasonable expectations of the post-war period and not using *any* historical views to even attempt to analyze what could happen. Even with that said, the actual outcome was so outside of normal, historical precedent for the US that *no* organization predicted the exact formulation it took and the rapidity of the actual collapse of the entire regime, top to bottom. I have yet to find the solon of expertise who pointed that out before operations began: post-war insurgency problems, yes; the utter collapse of the Ba'athist regime nearly overnight, no.
Those two articles give a basic going over of what the major problems of the Middle East are beyond just authoritarian regimes and sectarian differences. All of these were summed up previously in The Fault Lines Shift Removing the Status Quo article. There is no way to get Peace in the Middle East without addressing these things and just throwing one's hands up declaiming it to be 'too complicated' ignores the basic underlying drives of those problems. They have complex interactions, but each drive is fundamentally easy to understand and historical precedent helps to put such into perspective as a starting point.
Mr. Roggio gives this piece he did for the German magazine Die Weltwoche 11 JAN 2007 and looks at what this fight will take, and what it requires in Iraq: The greatest enemy is the time:
The average life of an insurgency is about nine years. In Iraq, the insurgents and al-Qaeda hope to wear down the will of the American government and people, and precipitate a premature withdrawal. When I talk to American troops about Iraq, their greatest concern isn't for their safety, but they are worried the American public has given up on the war before they can complete their mission. They watch the news - CNN, MSNBC and FOX News are beamed into the mess halls, some even possess satellite dishes with access to BBC World, Al Jazeera and hundreds of programs at their fingertips. Internet is readily available in many areas. I surfed the web in the center of Fallujah on wireless Internet.In a separate piece, Ms. Malkin gives a video overview of the trip to Iraq at Hot Air on 17 JAN 2007. The message that is reinforced, time and again, is that victory does not come quickly nor cheaply and is hard won and *built* by the Armed Forces. They see what the job is and understand that job better than any reporter ever can, because those reporters do not have a day in and day out commitment to stick to the 'story' of Iraq as it is actually happening and put it in context. From that report we do see a Sheikh in Hurriyah that does, indeed, understand that this is, in the end, an Iraqi fight to *win* and America's to *lose*. Strange how that is never reported on by the MSM...
American troops watch the news and follow the debate in real time. They will tell you the war they see on television isn't the war they are fighting. To the troops, the war as portrayed on television is oversimplified and digested into sound bites. The soldiers are portrayed as victims and the violence is grossly exaggerated.
The Armed Forces do not see their own losses as anything awful or even discouraging and quite within keeping to their expectations for a hard job. Not a hard war, but a hard job.
The US Armed Forces have transformed themselves in ways that could not be imagined in the days just after 9/11 and only just dimly perceived in the years leading up to it. This is *not* the same military that won the Cold War and that military organization could never hope to even understand this fight. That being said this new set of Armed Forces are *not* Constabulary Forces, but are Combat Forces that are demonstrating the maxim of the US Armed Forces and the Republic it represents: Citizen Soldiers. America has always done *best* with regular Armed Forces being the ones to apply that idea of: Soldiers, yes, but Citizens FIRST. These are the Citizens of the United States that have learned the job of how to be a soldier, but do not forget that they are Citizens and committed to created something *better* by doing their job. The American People do not create Constabularies to patrol an Empire and prefer to hand off the hard job of making a true civil society to the locals. For that is what Liberty and Freedom mean, although it cannot be helped that there are those that are opposing it.
That has been the case since the founding of America.
“Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms” - Andrew Jackson, Seventh President of the United States.