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November 16, 2007



Basra's demographics clearly differ markedly from those of Baghdad, but I'm curious as to what you make of this British statement, with all its attendant implications for the rest of the country.


As Nibras points out, "ja' al-Haq wa zahaqa al-Batil." Unfortunately, the Haq in question was laid down by the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Batil-- well, all too many of them to choose from.


The interesting thing about Nibras Kazimi is that when you read everybody's archives, as I did late last year, his analysis and predictions always turn out to be spot on while everybody else's mostly turn out not to be. That Oct column on the Sunni insurgency being a case in point.

I put this down to the fact that he, unlike other western bloggers, actually is an Arab, understands Iraq intimately and obviously has extensive on-the-ground contacts there and in the region, both shia and sunni?

Also, of course, he doesn't suffer from the Iraqi Shia/Kurd black-hole syndrome. Since they comprise 80% of the population of Iraq this gives his commentary - I think the word is - nuance?


Actually, if you go back even deeper, Kazimi was claiming in AUGUST 2006 that the sunni insurgency was EXHAUSTED, but not because of military progress against it but because the sunni society had been torn to pieces by the shia militias, a disaster of historic proportions. He quoted an article which reportedly he liked much, saying that "the Sadr City underclass, after been uprooted from tne marshlands, had come back por revenge" or something like that. That was 15 months ago.

Then from October to December, he without the smallest or slightest data continued to claim that the war was about to be won and endorsed "constant, stay-the-course pressure." HE MISTRUSTED PETRAEUS and instead adviced "keep doing what we know that workds. Keep killing the bad guys" which supposedly was working! It´s a pity I can´t provide the links but if you search they are there, this I´m talking about is from a December 2006 post.

On later months as it became obvious that the key to "defeating the sunnis" was the sunnis themselves, he shifted again and blamed "al-Qaeda´s self-defeating and disastrous attempt to impose its Islamic State". He even considered worthy of trust some of these "former sunni insurgents/al-Qaeda collaborator sheiks who were turning on extremists" as the media repeat over and over.

ABOUT THIS TIME TOO, EARLY 2007 (about april if i remember well, when the media war between insurgents exploded), HE PREDICTED A 5-10 YEAR INTERNAL SUNNI CONFLICT IN WHICH AL-QAEDA WOULD EMERGE VICTORIOUS AGAINST THE ISLAMIC ARMY (due to given its greater ideological commitment). Yeah, not very far off the mark.

(By the way, of course, there´s absolutely no proof that this al-Qaeda is related or controlled by in any meaningful way by the "historic" Bin Laden´s al-Qaeda, whatever its form is. Back in 2004 NOBODY was seriously mentioning al-Qaeda. They talked about wahhabees, salafists and the like but this al-Qaeda avalanche is a 2007 propaganda matter. Of course Zarqawi, by renaming his group "al-Qaeda in Iraq" made a huge propaganda favor to the American military. Far from showing his power, it was a stupid mistake.)

And yet again, on recent weeks waht we´re now only hearing that the new sunni (and some shiite) volunteers are just militias, that there´s no reason tu enlist them since they are already defeated. Clearly listening to this guy is a recipe for disaster.

Frankly, Kazimi knows a lot but at the same time he knows nothing. First and most obviously, he has never seriously read about insurgency, civil war or conflict in general, or if he did he doesn´t show up in his posts. He knows nothing about how things work in real life.

PD: BTW, if you want a (quite rare) case in which the sunni volunteer program is visibly failing and, in my opinion, heading slow-motion to disaster look to Baquba. The villages around it still have a serious Islamic State presence but the city itself was rid several months ago. August passed almost without violence, September had some. Starting in early October (check "recent events" in the Iraq Body Count), we began to hear reports about clashes between those "Concerned Local Citiznes" police forces which in Diyala province are controlled by the Badr brigades and have been running death squads - US allies too. The death toll is now of scores (in one ocasion a displaced family of 3 was killed) was with many more arrested, kidnapped, injured, or "military" casualties.

Frankly Baquba is exceptional in this, but it can happen elsewhere. Also have a look at the incredible reports from the Adhamiya blogger. Although nobody knows exactly what happened, either the insurgents gave up one their strongest (and last) strongholds almost whithout combat, or they have made a fake awakening to continue at work.


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