July 23, 2007

AQI Informants In Baghdad

Apparently, the leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq has become too sadistic even for its own members. The Times of London reports that US and Iraqi forces have developed dozens of informants within AQI in Baghdad, a nearly unthinkable accomplishment just a few months ago. The bloodthirsty actions of its leaders have soured the rank-and-file on its mission:

Fed up with being part of a group that cuts off a person’s face with piano wire to teach others a lesson, dozens of low-level members of al-Qaeda in Iraq are daring to become informants for the US military in a hostile Baghdad neighbourhood.

The ground-breaking move in Doura is part of a wider trend that has started in other al-Qaeda hotspots across the country and in which Sunni insurgent groups and tribal sheikhs have stood together with the coalition against the extremist movement.

“They are turning. We are talking to people who we believe have worked for al-Qaeda in Iraq and want to reconcile and have peace,” said Colonel Ricky Gibbs, commander of the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, which oversees the area.

The sewage-filled streets of Doura, a Sunni Arab enclave in south Baghdad, provide an ugly setting for what US commanders say is al-Qaeda’s last stronghold in the city. The secretive group, however, appears to be losing its grip as a “surge” of US troops in the neighbourhood – part of the latest effort by President Bush to end the chaos in Iraq – has resulted in scores of fighters being killed, captured or forced to flee.

The more pressure that the US and Iraqi forces have put on AQI, the more barbaric it has become. The increase in barbarity creates a counter-impulse even among its own members, which increases the pressure on AQI. It's a vicious circle that results in massive disaffection from the Islamist impulse, and the US has an opportunity to push hard and eliminate AQI altogether in Iraq -- assuming we have the tenacity to do so.

Even their leadership seems disgusted by their atrocities. An American officer described the capitulation of a captured mid-level AQI leader, who needed no prompting to cooperate with the Americans. When asked why he decided to talk, the detainee said, "I hate them, and I am done."

What's changed? The Americans have stuck around in Doura this time. The residents have more confidence in cooperating with us, assuming that we will remain to protect them after their cooperation. Under General David Petraeus, the American forces have become part of the neighborhood, protecting ordinary people from the ravages of the terrorists -- and even some of the terrorists see that as a lifeline back to normality. They see an opportunity to rid themselves of the worst elements in their community.

That's how one beats an insurgency. AQI can only win if the US lets up, or it reforms itself and eliminates the sadists from its leadership. Obviously they are betting on the former, and Iraqis have wagered their lives that AQI has underestimated American resolve. Have they?


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Comments (4)

Posted by Scott Malensek | July 23, 2007 8:02 AM

Insurgencies require the support of some of the population to survive, and they need the acquiescence of the opposing population to succeed.

It's not like US soldiers and Marines (who with the rest of the Coalition outnumber the insurgents almost 10:1) are gonna drop their gear and run for the Kuwaiti border. The soldier's and Marines have more conviction than that.

It's not like the US generals are gonna somehow get surrounded by 10-30,000 insurgents and have a Dien Bien Phu where they surrender or agree to the enemy's terms (ie, retreat/leave).

It's not like President Bush is gonna order US forces to abandon Iraq (whether it's via his courage and conviction or because he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer).

HOWEVER, the American people are easily misled (see also the loooooong list of conspiracy theories sold to them about stealing the 00 election, 911 conspiracies, Bush Lied myths vs bad intel, Katrina, and more). The easily misled American people are vulnerable to disinformation, and professional politicians exploit that to no end. When it serves their own political gain, they're more than ready, willing, and able to mislead people into believing the war is unnecessary, useless, and lost. One need look no further to demonstrate that these ideas are falsely presented than the actions by those who promote the ideas. Those actions are "non-binding" resolutions, impotent votes on funding bills that can't pass, and the absolute reluctance to do anything and everything to get the votes to end the war.

If those same people who tell us that the war was unnecessary, useless, and futile really believed that, then they'd sacrifice anything and everything in their political agenda to end it. But they won't. Why? Because they're claims are insincere, and their agenda is what really matters. The claims are just aimed at distracting from their own involvement in promoting and authorizing the war, and then supporting it.

In league with the enemy or not, these politicians and those who parrot their lies share the same message and objective of the enemy, and the only difference is that the enemy uses some violence (most enemy effort is aimed at propaganda that fuels the political opposition to the war).

Now, we see that the enemy's use of violence is building up to a point where it hurts their efforts.

Isn't it ironic that at a time when Democrats are showing themselves in no uncertain terms to be merely talking the talk on ending the war-showing themselves to have pandered, misled, and used their supporters-that now their support is dwindling as is Al Queda's?

Polls might show most Americans oppose the war, but I think a comparison of polls in Nov 06 vs today might show that the number of Americans who want success vs defeat has probably risen.

Anyone got a comparison?

Posted by kingronjo | July 23, 2007 8:10 AM

I am not so sure that AQ has misread American resolve. I have read numerous articles by serious people that have flatly stated that in 1974 S. Viet Nam had won the war. All they needed was the tools and they would do the job themselves. Alas, another Democratic Congress, with some of the same players, took away those tools.

At least this time there is no rose colored glasses. The NYT's, Obama, WaPo, etc, all know if we leave its genocide.

Yellow people, brown people, if you are a liberal Dem its all the same isn't it?

Posted by Gary Gross | July 23, 2007 8:22 AM

I thought that article was amazing. The thing that Republicans have to watch out for is Democrats mixing the lack of political progress with the military's successes.

Democrats will want to minimize the effectiveness of Gen. Petraeus' plan because they know that their political goose is cooked if word gets out that progress is being made in securing Iraq.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | July 23, 2007 8:40 AM

Excellent posts by all of you!

Question. A few weeks ago, I read in several places that there was going to be a concerted effort in the Iraqi Parliament to recall PM Al-Maliki - they were even considering the plusses and minuses of his being replaced.

And it's like the whole issue just disappeared. Did I miss something? Anyone know what happened to that supposed action?