Classic guerrilla war forming in Iraq: Plenty of depressing reading this morning. "Defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute sees two basic defects in the US-led counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq today. "First, policymakers wrongly assume that Sunni Arabs can be induced to join in a democratic government where they are assured of permanent minority status," says Dr. Thompson, who supported the US invasion of Iraq. "Second, policymakers insist on viewing violence through the prism of the war on global terrorism, which obscures the sources of conflict and requirements for victory." Thompson's controversial answer would be to partition Iraq into three countries: Sunni Arab, Shiite Arab, and Kurd. ..
Even if the insurgents dwindle to a handful of terrorists, their impact on security and stability in Iraq could far outweigh their numbers. RAND's Hoffman points out that just 20-30 members of the Baader Meinhof Gang terrorized the former West Germany for two decades; 50-75 Red Brigadists did the same in Italy; and some 200-400 IRA gunmen and bombers required the prolonged deployment of tens of thousands of British troops in Northern Ireland. ..
Is it possible to prevail over the Iraqi insurgency?
First, says John Pike of the group GlobalSecurity.org, enemy combatants must be killed, captured, or demoralized faster than new ones can be recruited, and the majority of the population must come to see the insurgency as illegitimate and its defeat as inevitable. It's a tough job, one that's likely to take years - as long as 10 years, says Dr. Metz at the Army War College. And the outcome is by no means assured. "The government must appear to be legitimate, inevitable, and effective at providing security and services," says Mr. Pike. "As long as Iran does not stir the pot, these objectives could be approached by the end of this decade, with luck."
Here's another review of several pessimistic military voices, including retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, who "remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic." 10:10:53 AM