May 21, 2004
More Stratfor Iraq analysis
Posted by Jon Henke
I've already blogged on this Stratfor analysis of the current situation in Iraq, but I couldn't get to all of it. More important bits now.
Even if the majority of Iraqis welcomed our intervention, I would suggest that anybody who did not know we would experience ongoing internal resistance in Iraq wasn't paying attention. Aside from any ambitions new leaders might have, what in the world did we expect the supporters and employees of the deposed regime would do? They can hardly be expected to rejoin civil society without dire consequences. How does one transition from "operative in Saddam's Intelligence Agency" to "friendly guy next door"?
Answer: They don't. They keep fighting, because they can never go back. And Stratfor sees this as an impossible obstacle to democratization....
This, I suppose, is what we will find out over the next few years. Whether democracy can come into existence in the face of resistance by the minority. I suspect we'll see one of two outcomes: the Iraqi people will unite against the insurgents, or they will unite around a strongman. Neither is unacceptably damaging to US interests, but unity against the insurgents is far preferable.
Here's a longer excerpt, laying out the two problems this presented the US military....I would note that this is the reason I've generally opposed any significant increase in troop level in Iraq. We're not suffering from a manpower disadvantage - or, really, any disadvantage that can be solved by throwing more firepower at the problem - we suffer from the inability to do anything productive with the force we already have. The troops we already have are sufficient to quell uprisings over 100 insurgents, and deal with small squads of insurgent gunmen. 100 US troops can kill 10 gunmen just as effectively as can 200 US troops. But 200 troops are 100 more targets for those gunmen. The problem is not the power we can apply, but the problem of when and how to do it.
So, Stratfor regards the insurgency as an unsolvable problem. Their recommendation?