Will insurgency in Iraq ever be brought under control?

Most of the US adminsitration that favored going and toppling Saddam still have the opinion that things in Iraq will improve soon and the country will stabilize. What leads them to believe that? Have there been any examples in the past where a deeply dug-in insurgency that also enjoys the support of substantially large factions of the population, has been successfully neutralized solely by the use of military force? I do not recall anywhere where that has happened. Sri Lanka has been troubled by insurgency for the last 20 years. No proper resolution ever became apparent until the government was willing to talk! India - same story! IRA - similar story! Israeli-Palestine conflict - if ever the hostilities have gone into lower gear, it has been only under the hope of a positive political process. What makes the US, and the puppett govt of Allawi, feel that the insurgency will stop and the country will stabilze in the next couple of months? Don’t they read history? Or maybe I am wrong, but I do not recall any similar situation getting resolved by military action.

The situation is not unlike that in Vietnam. The insurgents don’t have to defeat the U.S. and U.K. All they have to do is wait us out, while making it costly for us to stay there, and making sure that no stability is ever achieved. That’s not hard to do, as they are demonstrating.

At the risk of repeating myself, it doesn’t matter whether we pull out of Iraq tomorrow, next week, next month, or a year from now. Regardless of when we leave, six months later (give or take), after a brief but bloody civil war, there will be a fundamentalist Islamic republic in Iraq, controlled by the more radical Shiites, and loosely allied with Iran. By staying there, all we’re doing is costing lives, pouring money down a rat hole, and continuing to generate hostility directed towards the U.S. In the end, it’s all going to be for nothing, and instead of having to deal with a few thousand Al Qaida-style terrorists, we’re going to be faced with tens of thousands of them, all pissed off by what we’ve done in Iraq.

I genuinely wish Kerry had the cajones to say this, and pledge to get us out immediately. This election is beginning to remind me of 1968.

, you got it right. What baffles me is that this was so predictable from the go. Who is actually buying the Democratic Iraq horse shit ? I guess if your country is a majority of Shite and you have a Shite government that can be considered democratic, right ?

So, what I, and most other people see in the crystal bowl for Iraq, is an unstable country stricken with strife and insurgency, a country with its population at war with itself for no one knows how long, with the possibility of the country splitting into two or even three different territories, in line with the three major ethnic factions of Sunni, Shia and the Kurds. The crystal gazing also shows US casualties rising, the military making no progress in restoring law and order, growing weary and eventually walking away embarrassed and shamed.
One of the claims that the US tries to credit itself with, is the “liberation” of the people of Iraq from a dictatorship. But has the US really done any good to the people there?? Has it not pushed a poor but at least a stable country into absolute disaster and mayhem?? A country where excesses were committed, but that at least had a reasonably effective law and order maintenance machinery that worked. Does the US really imagine that Iraq and its people will ever allow the US to sell its oil to pay Haliburton??
It is indeed pathetic, and the least that the Americans can do is to throw its current president out for committing this heinous crime against the people of a sovereign nation that did not even pose a threat in anyway to them.

Don’t forget Poland!!! :wink:

Maybe when the insurgents become those in control ?

Let’s do a little thought experiment, shall we?

Suppose you are sitting in your home in Ohio, or Georgia, or Arizona, or anywhere else in the USA. Next thing you know a foreign power decides they don’t like your leader, cause he has lot’s of bombs (we certainly do). So this foreign power decides to send their troops over to the USA to take care of things. You wake up one morning and there are tanks rolling down your main street with guys shouting at you in a foreign language and pointing guns at you. What do you do?

I know I would say, “I get my buddies together and we find every weapon we can and we try to kick their asses back to where they came from!” Wouldn’t you?

Congratulations, you are an ‘insurgent’. Are you ever going to give up? Are you?

At this point, the insurgency can’t really be put down by reasonable means and perhaps it never could.

There is a reason why certain countries and socieities have brutal dictactors for long time periods. It’s the nature of the country or society. Not that everybody or even a majority want such a leader, but a significant percentage support such regimes. Such governments don’t rise to power and remain there without some popular support.

Put yourself in their shoes. Could you really even contemplate the alternative?

Just because they say it doesn’t mean they believe it.

That depends. What salary and benefits are our beloved invaders offering to quislings? :slight_smile:

This insurgency seems weaker then the ones in Sri-Lanka, Kashmir, Palestine and Vietnam. Unlike these example, it’s really hard to get a sense of what motivates the Iraqi insurgents, and it seems that they are simply a loose band of groups with very differing ideas of what they’re fighting and even of who their enemy is. This is in stark contrast with Sri-Lanka or Vietnam where the fighters have a whole political system organizing them and giving them and the world a sense of thier purpose.

The hope of the US administration seems to be that by minimizing the preceived US control of Iraq the insurgency will loose its focus and, without an obvious enemy, fracture into a bunch of basically criminal groups as well as loose the support of the populace. It’s hard to see the Bathists and Sadr, for example, co-operating on anything beyond killing US troops, for example.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the first stage in this attempt, setting up the interm gov’t, didn’t do squat. We’ll see in the months following the Jan election if putting up an elected gov’t will be more successful.

When and if US troops pull out it will be the beggining of the end of the insurgency. Probably the beggining of a civil war… or maybe some other heavy handed conflict resolution.

I don’t see how with US troops still on the ground in quantaty an insurgency pettering out… only if they US troops become VERY HEAVY handed… Warsaw Gheto style.

If Kerry does bring big amounts of other national troops... especially arabs... then who knows ? Still doubt it. Somehow common Iraqis have to be convinced not to support or aid insurgents.

Well, that’s just the problem, isn’t it? The only thing all the insurgent factions have in common is their opposition to the occupation – and as soon as that ends, they’ll start fighting each other. We don’t really have any good options here. That’s what Kerry meant in the debate when he said, “Once you’ve broken it, you own it.” IOW, invading Iraq was a mistake, but now that we’ve done it, we’re responsible for it. Maybe, just maybe, Kerry’s plan to put more troops on the ground will hold things together until we can establish a stable elected government. Or maybe not.

Lee Smith takes the long view:

What ultimately matters won’t be anyone’s opinion in the US, or outside Iraq for that matter. The people there are, more than anything else, nationalist - but with different and possibly irreconcilable differences over what they consider to be their nation.

Seems to me we can prevent escalation of the civil war there only by partitioning the place. A figleaf, basically powerless national government along Yugoslav lines might be a face-saver, and that’s the only other thing we have left to do on our way out.

I don’t think partitioning is really a possibility. For starters Iran and Turkey will strongly resist any independent Kurdish state. Secondly, it’s not a plan that has done much to stem violence in Yugoslovia. In Iraq, where theres oil both to be fought over and to give some states a huge advantage, I think warring between and within states would be much worse.

The Turks are very eager to join the EU and progress is finally being made on their application. Suppose Kurdish independence were made a condition of membership? After all, if they get membership without resolving the issue first, then Kurdish nationalism becomes the EU’s problem – and nobody wants that.

I think I completely agree with aahala here. Whatever Saddam was, we do have to remember that under his rule Iraq was a prosperous nation, economically healthy(at least until the Kuwait war and the subsequent sanctions), and having the least radically Islamic component in its governance than any of its neighbours. Whatever he was, it is quite unlikely that he managed to stay in power for such a long time without some sort of popular support.

I do not think that is correct. In what sense do you find it weaker? The frequency of attacks and the rate of deaths(civilians included) are in fact much higher than any of the 4 quoted. At the current time, the factions, if they exist and again it is only our assumption that there are factions, are indeed presenting a united front against the occupying power.

What leads you to make this statement?

That is exactly my question. Do you really believe that the insurgency can be neutralized by using a HEAVY HAND? On the contary, I would think that nothing would make matters worse. How long can a heavy hand be maintained without getting tired. At most, it could possible result in a temporary calm as the insurgents dig deeper underground and wait for the hand to tire, which it eventually will, and then they will be back, with their ranks swelled because of the heavy hand. And secondly, the heavier the hand, the more alienated the general population becomes and that in turn provides more fuel for insurgency. If using heavy hands was a feasible solution, I am sure it would have been tried and tested by the other places where they are having to deal with such situations.

And won’t the “new” nations thus emerging, controlled by Islamic clerics and radicals, be a greater threat to the US than the old regime could possibly have been and that the US had set out to change.
Under the emerging scenario, bringing Saddam and his party back into power, while ensuring that he remains in check (and no I do not believe that is not possible with the support of other nations), appears a more viable option.

There is a precedent for this kind of thing working: Algeria. The insurgency was of course less widespread there and algerian nationalism very new. Still the french managed to stop it dead cold. 

How ? Torturing and killing callously. It was extremely cruel. No need to say that even though the algerians went quiet (for some time)… the french public didn’t. I personally know a frenchman that was part of this horror… and due to it he decided to never more step in France. I doubt the more “sensitive” and law abiding americans would be willing to go that far.

Overall conditions in Iraq are worse than Algeria... so even then the chances are slim. Once again like vietnam you can get a military victory but you lose the war nonetheless. So going heavy handed isn't a good idea.

The fallout from Algeria still continues today, including in Iraq itself.
The extremist measures developed as a response to the “heavy hand” of the French seem to have inspired techniques used by Al Q and at least some of the Iraqi insurgents
(It certainly set an “inspirational” precedent of eventual victory in a “long war” against overwhelming force - just as long as you are brutal and extreme enough in return)

I’m not sure the US has the troops available in Iraq for an “Algerian” solution anyway, more like a “Chechen” solution - bomb or shell areas to rubble from a distance, then kill the people in the cellars with thermo-baric weapons or bunker busters.