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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 03:35 PM
Original message
...Nation of many Wars, LA Times, good current overview article on Iraq:
Edited on Sun Oct-08-06 03:38 PM by pinto
Deaths Across Iraq Show It Is a Nation of Many Wars, With U.S. in the Middle

By Solomon Moore and Louise Roug, Times Staff Writers
October 7, 2006

BAGHDAD Consider a recent day an average 24 hours in Iraq.

Here in the capital, the bodies of eight young men were found chained together, stripped of identification papers, shot and dumped in a parking lot, the first of 20 corpses found in the city that day.

<snip>

They were all killed in the same country, but not in the same war. The fighting in Iraq is not a single conflict, but an overlapping set of conflicts, fought on multiple battlegrounds, with different combatants. Increasingly, American troops are caught between the competing forces.

In western Iraq's deserts, Sunni Arab insurgent groups, some homegrown and others dominated by foreign fighters, attack Iraqi government forces and the U.S. troops who back them up. In Baghdad and surrounding provinces, Sunni and Shiite fighters attack each other and their rivals' civilians in a burgeoning civil war that U.S. troops have tried to quell.

In southern Iraq, the Shiites dominate. But they are divided, with rival militias fighting over oil and commerce. And in the north of the country, Arabs and Kurds battle for control.


<more, registration required>


www.LATimes.com

go to "Print Edition"
choose "October 7"


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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 04:21 PM
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1. I wish this were a message that got out more
I've tried to explain to my non-vet friends but the situation is just so complex and vets like me are the only voice you hear it from.

1. There is not "the war" in Iraq. There are several. We are involved directly with most of the wars and peripherally with the rest.

2. The reason we have not had a "Saigon" or "Dunkirk" moment is because currently no faction's top priority is fighting us, except for the very few foreign "far enemy" Qaeda clones who are still alive. We're too big, too protected, and we hit back too hard; there is not a strategic argument for pushing us out, at least not right now (see below).

3. A faction is more than happy to use us as a shield or as their own artillery service if they can. That same faction, in a different part of the country, may well be attacking us. This should not be surprising to any one who has studied imperial warfighting for more than 5 minutes. We are currently fighting the same pro-Iran militias who are themselves fighting the same anti-Iran militias that are in turn fighting us in other provinces. Read up on the French and Indian War/7 Years War to see what this kind of thing ends up looking like.

4. Over time, the sectarian forces fighting one another will find a balance of force and reach either autonomy or some level of condominium. Once this happens we are in trouble and it will not be the "peace" *co looks for, because once that balance of force is reached, it suddenly will become everyone's first priority to get the US out of there (if anyone in the government honestly thinks we're keeping that embassy, think again).

5. Kurdistan is essentially a fait accompli, and has been since '91, but as this drags on the kurds will lose patience with their alleged compatriots. Whether they get their own flag and seat in the UN is a different question, but that doesn't seem to be the goal right now as much as sweeping the Arabs, Turkmenis, and Armenians out of the north. This will have profound effects on Iran, Turkey, and even Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia (and so Russia). And if they do get a flag and a UN seat, 2-3 wars will start (which is why I think they won't).

6. (This is halfway good news) both * and bin Laden gambled on Iraq. Both seem to have lost. * wanted a base from which to safely bully (invade?) Iran and Syria. That's out of the question now. Bin Laden wanted an active training ground but he's simply losing too many of his people over there, both to us and to the Shi'ites. Neither Iran nor Syria will tolerate a Sunni pan-Islamist force having real power in Iraq, and a bizarre consequence of this is the possibility of seeing, in the next few years, Hezbollah attacking Palestinian militants (it sounds crazy, but depending on how the I/P thing plays out it can happen -- and remember Hezbollah was originally an anti-Arafat organization). Both * and UBL thought they could ride this whirlwind and it's hitting both of them in the face. So it's a question of who is going to wise up first (and that's bad news for us, since UBL has proven time and again to adapt quickly to adverse changes).

7. In short, to quote Full Metal Jacket, it's one big shit sandwich and we're all going to have to take a bite.
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