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June 08, 2006

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» Zarqawi tot na und? from M E N A | log
Nach aktuellen Meldungen ist der US-Armee mit ihrer Taktik der Bombardierung von verdächtigen Gebäuden gelungen, den Chef der Al-Qaida-Organisation im Zweistromland, Musab az-Zarqawi, zu töten. Offenkundig war ein Tip auf seinen Aufenthal... [Read More]

» Speculating on the impact of Zarqawis death from The Glittering Eye
I spent some time yesterday thinking about how Abu Musab al-Zarqawis death might influence events in Iraq and elsewhere and thought Id share some of those thoughts with you.First, I think its unlikely that Zarqawis death mea... [Read More]

» The Wages of Inhumanity from The Useless Tree
Zarqawi is dead. Good riddance. I have little to add to the wall-to-wall coverage, except to say he was profoundly inhumane and, for that, his death is a relief. For incisive analysis, see my friend the [Read More]

Comments

Craig

Not one, but two 500 pounders! Urah! Do we have Al Jazeera to thank for this? I'll just hope the cretin is on video hamming it up when the bombs dropped, tht'd make a great internet video.

Craig

But it didn't end the insurgency

There wasn't much in the way of an insurgency in Iraq until some 6 months after Saddam was captured. I suspect he may not have been captured at all, if there had been an insurgecy for him to hide behind.

Peter H

There wasn't much in the way of an insurgency in Iraq until some 6 months after Saddam was captured. I suspect he may not have been captured at all, if there had been an insurgecy for him to hide behind.

Well, I have to disagree there wasn't much of an insurgency before Saddam's capture. What about the bombing of the UN Building (August 2003), the assasination of Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim in Najaf (August 2003), The "Ramadan Offensive" (November 2003) et al?

However, I would go further than Marc and say that the capture of Saddam not only failed to hurt the insurgency but actually served to strengthen it. Let me quote from the report by the International Crisis Group:

First, Saddam’s capture in December 2003 helped rid the insurgency of the image of a rear-guard struggle waged on behalf of a despised regime. Paradoxically, his incarceration gave the insurgency renewed momentum, dissociating it from the Baathist regime and shoring up its patriotic, nationalist and religious/jihadist credentials. By the same token, it facilitated a rapprochement between the insurgency and transnational jihadi networks, which had been hostile to a partnership with remnants of a secular, heretical regime and whose resources (monetary and human) could now be fully marshalled.
Craig

Well, I have to disagree there wasn't much of an insurgency before Saddam's capture.

Fine. History tells a different tale, though. Things didn't really start getting bad in Iraq until the contractors were killed in falluja, and Al Sadr started up in the south. Both of which were spring of 2004.

What about the bombing of the UN Building (August 2003), the assasination of Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim in Najaf (August 2003)

Two terror attacks does not make an insurgency.

The "Ramadan Offensive" (November 2003) et al?

What about it?

This week, U.S. armed forces in Iraq passed an unfortunate milestone. With the deaths of two soldiers in a guerrilla attack north of Baghdad on Wednesday, 117 U.S. troops have now been killed in hostile action since President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat on 1 May.

May have seemed like a big deal in 2003, but it was nothing compared to how bad things got in 2004.

And then after challenging me, you agree with me, and disguise it as agreeing with Marc? :D

Can we both agree that you will cast the events of the last 3 years in iraq in whatever light is least favorable to the Bush Administration? I mean, they can't win with you, and neither can I. Right? It's a complete disaster to you, start to finish. That's fine, but lets not pretend we are discussing facts.

Is this how we are to win "hearts and minds," Abu Aardvark? With revisionist history?

Mitt


There wasn't much in the way of an insurgency in Iraq until some 6 months after Saddam was captured.

False. The insurgency started around about mid -2003. The US goverment seemed to recognize it around that point. IN Novemember 2003, the US army actually started a major offensive.

There were many bombings before then as well, with the attacks on the UN, the Red Cross, Al Hakim, the Turkish Embassy etc.

Yes, 2004 was worse, but its certainly not true that the insurgency didnt start till 6 months after Saddam's capture. Heck, back in July 2003 when his sons were killed, there was speculation that that could tamp down the insurgency.

Nur al-Cubicle

The French take:

With or without Zarqawi, the "ethnic cleansing" aiming at creating neighborhoods, towns or even entire cities that are ethnically or confessionally homogeneous is underway. In Baghdad alone, 100,000 people have fled their homes and are now “displaced persons”. And thousands of Basrah residents have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

As to foreign forces, they are primarily threatened by the nationalists and the ex-Ba'athists. The death of al-Zarqawi will have no direct impact on the war against the multinational forces.

Although George W. Bush and Tony Blair have declared Zarqawi's death a "great victory", it should be remembered that al-Zarqawi is a byproduct of the invasion. No one, not even the US President, has ventured to predict a decline in the violence.

Craig

Mitt,

Yes, 2004 was worse, but its certainly not true that the insurgency didnt start till 6 months

It's also not true that this is what I said. Do you really need me to repeat myself so that you can address what it is I actually DID say? Very well.

Here it is:

There wasn't much in the way of an insurgency in Iraq until some 6 months after Saddam was captured.

Now try again, and we can talk about it.

Milt

"There wasn't much in the way of an insurgency in Iraq until some 6 months after Saddam was captured."

And that is also false. The US launched a major offensive in November 2003 (they called it reopening the war). There were also around 80 plus US soldier deaths in Nov 2003, which were the most till the Fallujah offensives in 2004 (and still remains fairly high for the war). Maybe the US army did feel that "not much in the way of an insurgency" was indeed worth a major, serious offensive over, but I tend to think not.

Peter H

Fine. History tells a different tale, though. Things didn't really start getting bad in Iraq until the contractors were killed in falluja, and Al Sadr started up in the south. Both of which were spring of 2004.

I agree that the insurgency reached its peak in the spring of 2004. That's when you had the radical Shiite groups fighting the Americans as well as the Sunni insurgents, and opinion polls showing Sadr to be the most popular figure in Iraq. However, I just disagee that there "wasn't much of an insurgency" before then. If I had to pick the time when the insurgency became a significant phenemona, I'd choose the summer of 2003, when the insurgency morphed from a Baathist/Feyadeen rearguard into a nationalist Sunni resistance. It's also when the insurgents began employing suicide bombings.

Two terror attacks does not make an insurgency.

I listed two of the most spectacular attacks, attacks that are especially notable because they mark the beginning of suicide terrorism in Iraq. Do you really want me to give a chronology of all violent incidents from May to December 2003?

Can we both agree that you will cast the events of the last 3 years in iraq in whatever light is least favorable to the Bush Administration? I mean, they can't win with you, and neither can I. Right? It's a complete disaster to you, start to finish. That's fine, but lets not pretend we are discussing facts.

Umm...what negative comments did I make about the Bush Administration?

.And then after challenging me, you agree with me, and disguise it as agreeing with Marc? :D

Actually, I was trying to express my disagreement with your comment in a civil manner. I'm sorry if you interpreted it as a personal attack....Anyway, there's no contradiction in my statements
(1) That a signifigant insurgency existed before Saddam's capture
(2) That the insurgency was actually strengthened by Saddam's capture.

Craig

Milt, I'm gonna respond to Peter, since he seems more willing to talk about reality than you are. No offense intended, but since you guys are both making the same general points, it's my call, right? :)

Peter,

If I had to pick the time when the insurgency became a significant phenemona, I'd choose the summer of 2003, when the insurgency morphed from a Baathist/Feyadeen rearguard into a nationalist Sunni resistance.

I wouldn't call a Sunni resistance, nationalist. For one thing, Sunnis are a minority in Iraq... and for another, it was only a minority of that minority that began starting trouble at that point in time. Arab Sunnis. Not Kurdish Sunnis.

That was sectarian resisatnce. Not nationalist resistance.

It's also when the insurgents began employing suicide bombings.

That would be terrorism. not insurgency.

I agree that the insurgency reached its peak in the spring of 2004. That's when you had the radical Shiite groups fighting the Americans

I don't actually believe it peaked in 2004. I think the serious insurgency didn't even begin til then. I do not think it has yet peaked. The shia have just enterred the game recently, other than Al Sadr brief foray against US forces in 2004. The Shia are going to win, but it's not going to be fast, and it's not going to be clean. But it will be mostly Iraqi on Iraqi violence. But then, what we've been calling "insurgency" has always been primarily Iraqi on Iraqi violence, so I'm not sure I want to make a distinction.

Do you really want me to give a chronology of all violent incidents from May to December 2003?

No. I want you to use your memory. Do you remember the way things were in Iraq in 2003? Do you remember how things were in iraq in 2004, even? Even at the end of 2004, there were a large number of Iraqi bloggers who were optimistic about the future. That's all gone now.

Umm...what negative comments did I make about the Bush Administration?

No negative comment, per se. You characterized the last 3 years in Iraq in an exagerratedly negative manner. I assume you have some reason for doing so.

(1) That a signifigant insurgency existed before Saddam's capture

If there had been a significant sunni insurgency in Al Anbar prior to Saddam's capture, Saddam would not have been captured. That's my original assertion, and that's where I'm still at. He was alone. In a hole in the ground. The President of Iraq.

J Thomas

There wasn't much in the way of an insurgency in Iraq until some 6 months after Saddam was captured.

This is a semantic debate. There wasn't nearly as much violence in iraq then compared to later. It's kept growing, and possibly before we pull out there might be people who wouldn't consider the present level to be much of an insurgency, compared to what we'll face then.

So sure, it was considerably less then. Should we call it "not much of an insurgency" or not? It depends only on where you want to draw the line between "not much" and "some".

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