Skip to comments.Withdrawal from Iraq a step closer as general leads review-(Mega Barf)
Posted on 01/07/2005 5:29:03 PM PST by Flavius
PRESIDENT BUSH vowed yesterday to stand by Iraqis voting in this months landmark election but gave no commitment to an extended American presence after the vote.
The Pentagon fuelled doubts about Washingtons medium-term plans by dispatching a four-star general to Baghdad to make an open-ended review of the militarys entire Iraq policy.
The move comes amid fresh concerns about the viability of the Iraqi elections after a US general said that large areas of four of the countrys 18 provinces were not secure enough for voting to take place.
Mr Bush put the best gloss on the approaching poll, saying that concerns about the size of the turnout in Sunni areas which are most affected by insurgency were not constructive. He said: The positive and incredibly amazing development, when you take a step back and look at history, is that Iraqi citizens will actually be allowed to vote.
He was speaking against a grim backdrop. Another day of bloody violence claimed the lives of nine American troops, seven of them to a huge roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad. Five US soldiers were killed in three separate incidents on Tuesday and over 80 Iraqi police and army recruits have died in the past week.
The intensity of fighting the insurgency is beginning to tell even on the worlds only military superpower. Pentagon chiefs are looking to make permanent a 30,000 increase in the size of the Army which was supposed to be temporary. They are also seeking a rule change to allow them to call up national guardsmen and reserve soldiers for more than two years, the current maximum. Even before such a move, National Guard chiefs said that the strains imposed by Iraq and Afghanistan were in danger of breaking the system.
General Gary Luck, former head of American forces in South Korea and an adviser to US commanders during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, will arrive in Baghdad next week to review everything from American troop levels, the training of Iraqi recruits and how to tackle the insurgency.
His orders appeared to be a tacit admission that American policy in Iraq has reached a fork in the road and that the White House and Pentagon must now choose whether to dig in deeper or begin preparing an exit strategy.
In remarks to reporters in the Oval Office, Mr Bush made no mention of lingering in Iraq.
Once the elections take place, we look forward to working with the newly constituted government to help train Iraqis as fast as possible so they can defend themselves, he said.
Mr Bush said that General Lucks team would focus on how best to help the elected Iraqi administration stand up the forces necessary to defend themselves.
He suggested that the US might look to leave Iraq before the insurgency has been calmed. Ultimately the success in Iraq is going to be the willingness of the Iraqi citizens to fight for their own freedom.
The main problem for Mr Bush is that the nuts and bolts of his Iraq policy to train Iraqi security forces and put them in charge so American troops can gradually leave are in danger of falling apart.
Some 121,000 police officers, soldiers and border guards have been trained, according to Pentagon figures, less than half the 273,000 target. But they have proved an unreliable fighting force.
Pentagon chiefs had wanted to keep American troops well away from polling stations to reduce tensions and avoid making them targets, but are being forced to insert US military advisers to bolster Iraqi units.
Despite Mr Bushs efforts to focus attention on the piece of history that Iraqs election will represent, some pillars of Washingtons foreign policy establishment are expressing little but pessimism.
Brent Scowcroft, who was National Security Adviser to the first President Bush, suggested that the election would give way to an incipient civil war. Mr Scowcroft said: The Iraqi elections, rather than turning out to be a promising turning point have the great potential for deepening the conflict.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carters National Security Adviser, added to the gloom. I dont think we can stay in Iraq in the fashion were in now, he said. If it cannot be changed drastically, it should be terminated.
Mr Bush conceded that progress in Iraq was not easy. I know its hard, but its hard for a reason. Its hard because there are a handful of folks who fear freedom. And the job of those of us who desire for there to be peace is to be aggressive about the spread of freedom, is to stand with those brave citizens in Iraq who want to vote. And thats exactly what we will do.
The end game is obvious, and it is not pretty for the Sunnis.
Over 60% of the population are Shi'ites. And then there is the large Kurdish minority concentrated in the North.
15% of the population are the Arab Sunnis who have dominated the country, and terrorized the rest, since the founding of the country.
4 provinces are too unstable: the Sunni ones. The Sunni parties are pulling out of the elections. The Sunni Triangle terrorists are able to carry out terrorism in the Sunni Triangle, especially, where they will seriously depress the vote, but not in the Kurdish and Shi'ite area.
What will emerge is a democratically elected Shi'ite super-majority hellbent on asserting its control over the country. And they will. They saw Saddam do it to them, after all, as did the Kurds. They have this in common with the Kurds. And the only people more or less safely voting in this election will be the people who the Sunnis tormented.
Now, the Shi'ite government after this election may not be all that friendly to the US. Relatively shortly, they will not NEED our help to support their government. Once they well and truly have been elected to control of it, they will be able to raise plenty of troops and pacify...or sow the earth with salt...in the Sunni Triangle areas that resist them.
This new Shi'ite government may be relatively cool towards the US, and may well ask for a quick US exit, and if they do not support global terrorism, we will go.
Which is why the ultimate irony for the Sunnis and their terrorists hellbent on fighting us and the elections, is that they are only ensuring a depressed Sunni vote and a more crushing victory of their ethnic enemies within the country...and the day may well come when they will wish that there were American forces there to PROTECT THEM.
But we won't be.
Well, it seems to me that the Shiite faction most likely to come out on top isn't anti-American.
Al-Sistani, for example, is no friend of Iran...
I would predict though, that after the election, the new Iraqi government will have the perceived authority to deal with the Baathists, Jihadis, Syrians, and Iranians in country, and will deal with them harshly.
Moreover, the secularized Kurds fear a Shia theocracy at least as much if not more so than a return of Saddam Hussein. The Kurds will reject a non-federalist central government and seek at least de facto independence (which they already have and can defend from the rest of Iraq if needed). Finally, the signs are very much there that the Shia will themselves split into a moderate and extremist camp once the unifying presense of America is removed. If we leave anytime soon, Iraq will collapse, and breathless fantasies that 'the Sunni will finally get what's coming to them' are just a way to make some of us feel better about the debacle.
Because they will have real power, and they will be willing to clamp down and kill Iraqis in order to keep it.
US forces are limited in what we allow ourselves to do.
But the terrorists in Iraq are blowing up these Shi'ites (and Kurds') families right now, and have been doing it for a long time.
Right now, the Shi'ites do not have real power under the interim government, and the leaders are not in the position to command troops, raise conscription, or order attacks on towns.
Note that the militia failures, right now, are largely in the Sunni areas, because the interim government and the Americans have been careful about trying to use locals to patrol locals.
But a Shi'ite, or Shi'ite/Kurdish coalition government determined to assert itself, will not hesitate to take Shi'ite and Kurdish militias, which do function well, out of Shi'ite and Kurdish areas and place them right in Sunni areas, and they won't have the same sort of careful compunctions we do about crushing opposition. We are careful, for a lot of reasons. For one thing, we don't go in with a generational hatred of the people we are trying to liberate. But they will be going into areas of their former conquerors intending to conquer them.
The interim government cannot credibly resort to conscription, but a Shi'ite clerical government can call conscription, and there are 9 million able bodied Shiite and Kurdish men available for service.
130,000 American troops COULD stop the insurgency, IF we were willing to do what the Shi'ites and Kurds will be perfectly willing to do when they get command of the place. But we aren't. For us, it is a professional duty. But for them, it will be a labor of revenge and solidifying their permanent power over the country.
Even in our attack on Fallujah, we really didn't level the place. The Shi'ites will. And they, along with the Kurds, outnumber the Sunnis 8:1.
Few Iraqis today are willing to join an interim army.
But when the Shi'ites run the country, as a Shi'ite Republic (with proclamations of tolerance, of course, yadda yadda yadda), they will be willing to turn out in force to enforce their will on the Sunnis. Count on it.
"Well, it seems to me that the Shiite faction most likely to come out on top isn't anti-American.
Al-Sistani, for example, is no friend of Iran...
I would predict though, that after the election, the new Iraqi government will have the perceived authority to deal with the Baathists, Jihadis, Syrians, and Iranians in country, and will deal with them harshly."
No, they won't be anti-American.
But cool towards the US nevertheless.
They will be happy to have the US there while they solidify their power, but they will make it pretty clear, starting early, that they are in fact the sovereign government of Iraq and call the shots there, not us.
LOL. You are engaging in fantasy. What you describe will not even vaguely resemble the outcome if we leave Iraq anytime soon.
General Will Assess Iraqi Training, Not War Strategy
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2005 -- A retired Army general isn't going to Iraq to assess the effectiveness of U.S. warfighting operations there, but rather will evaluate efforts to develop Iraqi security forces, a senior Defense Department spokesman told reporters here today.
Retired Gen. Gary E. Luck and a support team will soon go to Iraq "to provide some assessment of how we're doing" in training and fielding Iraqi security units, spokesman Lawrence Di Rita noted at a Pentagon press briefing.
Luck, who advised then-U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Tommy R. Franks during the Iraq campaign in 2003, was described by Di Rita as "an extraordinarily intelligent individual" who "knows an awful lot of what we're doing in Iraq."
Iraqi police and military units have so far experienced mixed results in engagements against insurgents, Di Rita observed, noting "areas where the Iraqi security forces have performed well" and instances "where they've performed sub-optimally."
Asked by a reporter to verify speculation that Luck will also assess the overall U.S. military strategy in Iraq, Di Rita replied: "That's not true; I mean, it's just not accurate."
Luck is going to Iraq "to take a look at Iraqi security-force development," Di Rita said.
"That's the mission," he reiterated, noting that the Pentagon has periodically sanctioned similar evaluations of how Iraqi security forces are being trained and used.
"This is another one of those assessments," Di Rita noted.
Iraqi security forces "are getting more and more involved in the security of Iraq," Di Rita said. He acknowledged the Pentagon's interest in keeping their training "on track" and "to see that they continue to perform to their utmost potential."
Di Rita said he didn't know the full complement of Luck's support team.
"Multinational forces and Iraqi security forces will continue offensive operations to ensure that conditions are set to support a safe and secure environment" for the Jan. 30 elections, remarked Army Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez, the Joint Staff's deputy director for operations, who accompanied Di Rita to the press briefing.
Rodriguez also updated reporters on U.S. military support for tsunami aid in South Asia, noting that more than 13,000 servicemembers deployed to the region have distributed more than 365 tons of supplies. American aircrews have flown more than 450 rescue, recovery and supply missions to bring aid to tsunami victims, the general said.
1/07/2005: U.S. General: Terrorists Afraid of Vote in Iraq
1/07/2005: Bush Is Optimistic About Iraqi Elections
"This is a prescription for civil war."
Hey, I'm not ADVOCATING this outcome, I am merely observing what is going on and seeing the cards fall into place.
The Sunni parties have taken themselves out of the election.
The Sunni provinces are the ones where the terrorists are able to disrupt things.
The Sunni Arabs are only 15% of the population as it is.
And the Shi'ites (and Kurds) have both been victims, to the tune of a million people, of the same people tormenting Iraq now, not in ancient history, but within the past 10 and 5 years.
What the terrorists with Sunni support are doing right now is fomenting a civil war, but the other, long suppressed ethnicities do not yet hold the reins of government power.
They are going to get the power on January 31st, and because the Sunnis are eliminating themselves from the voter pool both by withdrawal AND by terrorism in the Sunni provinces, the Sunnis will have even less power and representation in the government than they otherwise would.
The civil war already has been going on in Iraq for a long time. When the Baathists dropped gas on the Kurds and sent in their armies to butcher the marsh Arabs. All quite recently. The Kurds and the marsh Arabs, and all of the other ethnicities who the Sunni Triangle used to torment are about to get all the power.
It's not a matter of WANTING this revanche, it's a matter of expecting it.
About the only way to avert it is for the SUNNIS to stop their terrorism NOW and get into the election game. And that is the LEAST likely thing to happen. Given that, it is unlikely that when the power shifts, there will be any gentility on the part of the new rulers.
As to the Shi'ites being unable to win, so long as they do not attempt to lord it over Kurdistan (and there is no particular reason to expect them to try), with a 4:1 advantage over the Shi'ites (6:1 if you add in the Kurds), they probably can win a civil war. The Sunnis are not supermen. They have only held sway because they had the reins of government. That is the one thing that will NOT come out of the election.
If we abandon Iraq in such a state the Syrians and the Saudi will arm the Sunni to the teeth as fast as the trucks can get to them; the last thing they want is an Iranian satellite on their borders. The Kurds will have nothing to do with a Shia war against the Sunni; they will withdraw into their own territories, and if anything hope that the rest kill one another off indefinitely. Baghdad will become Beirut circa 1987 faster than you blink an eye. The Shia will not have even close to the capability of mounting the kind of operation we did two months ago in Fallujah, and they'll need to do that a dozen times over to pacify the Sunni by force of arms. Iraq will dissolve into chaos and might I also add that Iran will no longer be restrained from interfering at will; if Sistani stands in their way he will be assassinated in short order.
My scenario will be very close to actuality. Count on it.
"LOL. You are engaging in fantasy. What you describe will not even vaguely resemble the outcome if we leave Iraq anytime soon."
The beauty of this "fantasy", if that is what it is, is that it is not a long-term, never-can-tell thing, but something we'll be able to see in the short term.
In three weeks: elections.
Then the Shi'ite government takes power.
I've predicted the mobilization large forces in the non-Sunni parts of the country to crackdown, very, very harshly, on the ones in rebellion...which are all Sunni.
I've also predicted that the new government will be cordial to the US, but cool, and that it will make it clear that IT is the sovereign, elected government of Iraq.
The Shi'ite government of Iraq will be like the French to us. Not an enemy. But very clear as to who is in command of Iraq.
This will irritate a lot of us here.
Once again, I say Count on it.
And the beauty is you can save this, put it by your computer, and nail me with it in three months if I'm wrong.
But I won't be.
And we are only 5% of the world's population. This means nothing. What matters is force of arms and the Shia will not have anything close to the military advantage that they do in population disparity.
So long as we are present there is zero chance that the Shia will have the type of impunity that you envision. If we leave in the next year, my scenario will closely resemble the facts on the ground.
We shall see.
Our main strategy for dealing with Iran and Syria should be that they would change through a sphere of influence emitted from a free, prosperous, and stable Iraq and Afghanistan. After the intelligence failures of 9/11 and Iraq, hopefully the CIA will get its act together and be able to keep the tabs on Iran and Syria. We should keep brief incursions in Syria and Iran to take out nuke facilities or terrorist camps on the table though, but full occupation must be our last option.
Whoops wrong thread.
Would you conclude that a state of civil war began around July of this year?
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