10 August 2008

COIN Guru Has an Op-Ed in WaPo About Iraq

Mansoor Argues that Surge Forces were crucial to Iraqi stabilization

COL Mansoor was one of Petraeus' inner staff at MNF-I, so I'm assuming he is a smart and knowledgeable dude, since the only officer I personally knew that worked directly with the General Petraeus was a Rhodes Scholar. Anyways, the Colonel has an Op-Ed in WaPo that is worth reading for straight-forward insight on Iraq and the Surge during a time of vicious political bickering back in the states (h/t SWJ):
  • The arrival of additional U.S. forces signaled renewed resolve. Sunni tribal leaders, having glimpsed the dismal future in store for their people under a regime controlled by al-Qaeda in Iraq and fearful of abandonment, were ready to throw in their lot with the coalition.
  • Improved security led to greater Iraqi confidence and lessened the need for, and acceptance of, Shiite militias that for too long held sway in many neighborhoods. When the Mahdi Army instigated a gun battle in Karbala last August that forced the cancellation of a major Shiite religious observance, the resulting public pressure compelled Moqtada al-Sadr to declare a unilateral cease-fire.
  • The surge has created the space and time for the competition for power and resources in Iraq to play out in the political realm, with words instead of bombs.
It's important to note that legitamate Iraqi Security Forces hamepered the public's willingess to accept security and services from Shi'ite militias. Hezbollah thrives in Lebanon do to a weak state and the populous is more willing to see them as benefactors, and the Mahdi Army was analagous in predominantly Shi'ite areas like Sadr City for far too long. With Sunni terrorists trying to detonate VBIEDs in their markets, and the Iraqi government stalling in providing goods and services, one could almost be sympathetic to the plight of the poor Shi'ite citizen, and understand why they would turn to a group of thugs operating outside the Rule of Law. Luckily, that tune seems to be changing as clerics loyal to Sadr are calling for a large-scale reduction of the Mahdi Army.