Why are Iraqi insurgents attacking?

I must not understand the situation over there. Let me state it the way I understand it, and perhaps some of you can explain where the hole is in my logic.

  1. The U.S. has troops in Iraq ostensibly to keep the peace. When the situation has stabilized, those troops will be pulled out.

  2. Once the U.S. pulls out of Iraq, it is highly unlikely that President Bush could ever raise support to go back in.

  3. The various insurgents (I understand it’s not just one group) are creating instability by constantly attacking and killing people.

If the insurgents just stopped their attacks today and peacefully allowed the new government to “stabilize” the area, then the U.S. troops would be recalled. Once that happened, they could restart their attacks without U.S. soldiers to oppose them.

Why haven’t they done this? Aren’t they being incredibly short-sighted by continuing to fight right now? Or am I missing something?

Because the Sunni insurgents do not want the country to stabilize in such a way that cuts them out of power. If the Kurds control the oil in the north, and the Shiites control the oil in the south, the Sunnis will be left with the sand in Anbar province, where there is little or no oil. That kind of stability is what they are fighting against.

As far as the more hardcore insurgents are concerned, a stable, peaceful Iraq means that Bush and America have won. The longer they can drag out the violence, the more likely we will have to leave with our proverbial tail between our legs. Reopening the wounds of ancient sectarian conflicts is a perfect way to do this.

Because the job of the terrorist is to prove that the government can’t protect the people. So long as they can keep kidnapping people, killing them, and blowing up buildings and cars, they’ve already won. If they lay low for the five or six months it would take to get the US to leave, the Iraqi people will start to remember what life was like under Saddam Hussein, who was really violently anti-terrorist. He had his faults, but at least they didn’t have to worry about terrorism when he was in charge…

Well, that and being forced to live under Shiite fundamentalist rule. They’re Sunnis dammit, and if they’re going to have to live under a religious system, it should at least be a Sunni system.

That too. Mostly, they just don’t want to be left with no power, after being the privileged class under Saddam.

I don’t know about you, but if someone invaded my country and killed my family members (“accidentally” or not, “collateral damage” or not), and saw them building enormous, expensive military bases that look like they’re meant to last closer to 18 years than 18 months … I don’t think I’d trust that they would just “leave.” I think I’d keep trying to fight them at my own pace, waiting for the already waning public support in the home country to disappear so that the troops would be pulled out, Vietnam- or Afghanistan-style.

In short, insurgency often works. I would trust that before I’d trust that the US troops were going to leave our nice strategic location and all of its oil anytime soon.

You’re assuming it’s a monolithic “they” who can collectively decide to stop. In reality, each insurgent has his own motivations for fighting. Some of the attacks are designed to create a black market for Iraq’s oil. Some is violence aimed specifically at the US troops for being there – this violence, in particular, cannot be postponed until the troops leave! Many of the insurgents planting roadside bombs are being paid to do so, and paid far more than they can make doing other jobs. These mercenary insurgents may be feeding their children with their payments. A stable government might compensate them for being unemployed, and if the troops go away, there might be no demand for this kind of service. The Sunnis don’t want stability, because any stability from here on out pretty much guarantees that they’ll get screwed politically - less oil, less representation, less protection from the backlash that (IMHO) they’ve had coming for decades. And of course, some of the fighting is sectarian violence, which may or may not also be motivated by revenge for the lives of innocents killed by any of the above kinds of attacks.

I also suspect that Iran is funding a good deal of the Shi’a-on-Sunni violence; it ensures that the US stays busy (occupied, even! :smiley: )in the region, and furthers their aim of establishing an Iran-friendly Shi’a state on their western border.

Of course. That’s obvious. But why not pretend to go along with it for the moment? It would be a lot easier for them to fight for what they want after the U.S. is gone, right?

Oh–in short, the fault in your logic lies in point 1, wherein you assume that the Iraqis believe that the US will pull out its troops once the country is stabilized.

Wrong. If the country stabilizes, it will be a lot harder to convince people they are better off fighting a civil war.

You’re missing that this completely ignores the terrorist groups such as Al Qaida, who are there specifically to kill Americans and other Westerners. While they sometimes co-operate with the insurgents they are otherwise unrelated and have separate goals. So if the insurgents somehow all stopped together there would still not be stability and so the US troops would not leave, so would Al Qaida stay there as that’s where the easy targets are, etc …

Okey dokey. :slight_smile:

Ah, this is your fundamental mistake.
The U.S. has troops in Iraq ostensibly to find the WMD’s. When the WMD’s have been found, those troops will be pulled out.

Once the oil runs out in Iraq, it is highly unlikely that President Bush could ever raise support to go back in.

The various invaders (I understand it’s not just the US) are creating instability by not having any idea about what to do.

Apologies - I muddled up quotes of InvisibleWombat and myself.

I’m sure my meaning is clear nevertheless.

It’s a brilliant bit of long term strategy, really.

Foment dissatisfaction amongst the Americans by drawing out the conflict as long as is humanly possible. Wait it out. When the Americans go, there’s still Iran to deal with. And, assuming that Iran is “dealt with”, move to another friendly nation. There’s no shortage in the region. Wait, wait, wait, until the Americans are seen as the ‘rogue’ nation and sign a MPP with the finally-emergent Chinese, who desperately need cheap oil.

Of course, as an insurgent, you’re likely only focused on blowing up what you can, when you’ve decided to do it. Nothing’s going to stop you save death. The reasons… money, a misplaced sense of piety, or a family member killed by an American bomb. All kinds of reasons. The more reasons we dry up, the less insurgents. Then the Karl Roves and Jerry Falwells of the terrorist movement will have to change their strategy.

Interesting point, Enfant Terrible. I had suspected that much of the reason was that the people out shooting at each other are deprived of almost all news except what their particularly hierarchy wants them to hear. They probably think the U.S. troops are a full-time occupation force that will never leave, despite the fact that most of the American people are already fed up with us having forces there, and the withdrawal will probably start the day GWB leaves office.

This is “General Questions.” It’s not “make up an answer based on out-of-date stereotypes.”

Well you did ask to be corrected! I’m sorry if I came across as snarky, but the presence of UK troops in Iraq is rather sensitive.

We went in (as the US did) to seize the WMD’s. Prime Minister Blair stated in Parliament that Iraq could hit UK bases with WMD’s within 45 minutes of the order being given.
There was nothing about our troops keeping the peace between Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds.

Since then no WMD’s have been found, a UK intelligence officer has committed suicide over the faulty intelligence, over a hundred UK troops have died and Britsh troops have stood trial for murder. (The troops were acquitted, but did admit throwing Iraqi looters into a canal, then driving off even though it looked as if one Iraqi was drowning.)

Finally estimates of Iraqi civilan casualties vary from 10,000 to 100,000. As toadspittle already said, I think that the insurgents find it easy to blame most of this on Coalition troops and gain for attacking now to make the troops leave.

I probably shouldn’t have been snarky, either. Sorry about that. My point is that the troops went in to seize WMDs, but that’s not why they stayed. Nobody believes that’s why there are still coalition troops in Iraq.

I think this underscores why insurgents might not believe that foreign troops will ever leave of their own accord. First, they were there to oust saddam. Done. Then, to find WMDs. None exist. Done. Now to … what, exactly? Insurgents probably think, better keep the pressure on, so as to encourage them to leave.

No worries - there has been a lot of emotion over this war.

This is an interesting thread, but I’m afraid I must continue to be cynical:

  1. Sadly the real reason the troops are in Iraq is to ensure oil supplies. They will stay till the Iraqi Government has control of the oil fields, and return if not.
    (I can go into more detail about why Saddam had to be ousted so US troops could be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia if you like, but that may be irrelevant to your thread.)
    I understand the US are building the biggest Embassy in the World in Baghdad, so there will no doubt be a US military presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

  2. I think it is important to consider things from the Iraqi point of view. Recently I saw a press conference where an Iraqi Government spokesman had a senior US soldier in combat gear standing behind him.
    No doubt this was intended as a signal to the Western world that the US stands ready to help the Iraqis. However think how you would feel if a foreign soldier did this in your country…