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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The failure of Iraq

They don't have leadership problems
  • A year after taking the formal reins of government, the Iraqis are far from having a sense of control over their own destiny.

Sovereignty also means having the legal power to use armed forces or to jail and prosecute lawbreakers. But significant stretches of Iraq remain beyond the control of the government.

The Iraqi government, militias, the U.S. military and even insurgent groups all claim the right to use arms. The U.S. military holds thousands of Iraqi prisoners. Even foreign-influenced insurgent groups hold their own trials, using what they say is Islamic law and procedures, on Iraqi soil to punish alleged collaborators.

Western security contractors, like private armies, operate in a quasi-legal world that has drawn the concern of U.S. military commanders as well as the Iraqi government. Inside well-guarded compounds of security firms such as Sandi Group, founded by a wealthy Iraqi American, hundreds of uniformed young Iraqi recruits train in a warehouse amid crates full of machine guns, as if preparing to take over the world in a James Bond movie.
The sense that Iraqis, even after braving bombs and explosions to cast votes, still don't control their destiny wounds national pride and ultimately may play into the hands of the insurgents, who contend that the Americans actually are intent on imperial expansion.

"What does sovereignty mean to me if I can be shot at by any soldier on the street for any traffic violation without any responsibility on the American soldier?" said Ali Nejam, 37, a Baghdad merchant.

People need to understand something. There two Iraqi Armies, one which fights with us, one fighting against us.

Now, if you were a young officer, where would you rather serve?

In an Army run by foreigners, who openly insult you, call you racist names and do not trust you.

Or one where you can handpick your men, train them how you want, use whatever tactics you want and can say you're fighting an alien occupier.

Let me put it bluntly, without a strong government, widely supported, only hacks would sign up to be auxilliaries to a colonial power. The combat ineffectiveness of the Iraqi Army isn't just a matter of training or equipment, but they hurt. It is very simple, the best and brightest Iraqis are fighting us. Some of the resitance is B'aathist, but I think there is a FAR stronger nationalist component than people want to admit.

When the large numbers of Algerians returned from Vietnam, the best and brightest tired of fighting for France and decided to fight for Algeria. It is likely the same process hjas occured here. The people who were frustrated by the politics of the old Iraqi Army have been liberated to be soldiers. Which is why the resistance is so resilliant. Operation Viagra, Operation Levitra, Operation Cialis have all failed and failed badly to do anything to actually cripple the resistance.

Those not fighting with the resistance are working for mercenaries.

So the government is left with the eager. the young and the dregs. And they cannot fight.

The question is which day do they finally turn on us and attack. Because the resistance clearly must have that as a goal. They've intimidated soldiers and police. What day do they turn on us. As Bush keeps talking up the "training" of the Iraqi forces, the resistance will need to prove him a liar at some point.

posted by Steve @ 8:52:00 AM

8:52:00 AM

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