Meanwhile, Mowaffac al-Rubai’i warned today from the allegedly continuous negotiations between the Americans and Iraqi militants and he strongly condemned these negotiations which he described as a threat to national security.Now what does it mean when you hand over security to an insurgency? Number one it means that you are short of help. How is this possible? The American Army is holding its own and the Iraqi Army is coming along nicely (around 200,000 so far and growing in numbers and profficiency). Now getting insurgencies fighting each other (as many commenters have pointed out) is a good thing. However, it has its downside. As noted above and by B. H. L. Hart in his book "Strategy" there is a downside to using insurgents to fight a war. Insurgents, are generally made up of the criminal elements of a society. They are naturally clandestine and antipathic to the government. The problem is that they are anti-pathic to any government. They almost always leave a long term problem behind.
While the American embassy today resumed its talks with the Sunni leading politicians, 6 Iraqi militant groups announced that they will unite their forces and join the rest of resident of Anbar and Salahiddin in fighting al-Qeda. The new militant groups included the Islamic army, the Anbar martyr’s brigades and the 1920 revolution brigades.
This change sounds positive and encouraging. Although I always preferred that the government deals with such issues instead of militias because if those militias succeed in their new mission, they will have demands and they will gain leverage in later bargains when they will be asked to drop their arms (that’s if they have a plan to do so in the future).
However, the facts on the ground are not the same and the theory of excluding militias can be overlooked for a while because the government already has no enough power in the areas in question while those militias know their targets and they can reach those targets; they know the battlefield very well and they have the sufficient intelligence for this kind of battle.
Although those militant groups have a bad history of violence and terrorizing the population, the positive new change s that they are expected to coordinate their work with city councils which gives a feeling that they are not very far away from the government’s sight and that they meet with the government on the need for fighting foreign terrorists. But, this service will not be for free and the battle is going to be fierce as al-Qaeda realizes that the new enemy is very well informed this time.
You can look at the history of France post WW2 or Spain post Napoleon's retreat. Insurgencies leave behind unstable societies. Not just politically but also physically. Brigands abound. Russia had anti-government Armies living in the woods into the 1920s.
So what does all this mean in the bigger picture? Why would America and the Iraqi government put Iraq into such a position? I think the American Army is going to Iran soon. I think they are preparing to go as soon as spring and no later than the end of this year.
Update: 23 Jan '06 0249z
Winds of Change is having a good discussion on Iran. Of course it includes the situation in Iraq and how that impacts the Iran problem.