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Wednesday, July 02, 2003

From today's Washington Post:

'L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, said the attacks on troops were the work of Hussein's former military and intelligence agents. "These are professional operations," Bremer said of the five- to- seven-man teams. "These are not spontaneous attacks by angry laid-off workers." Bremer said there is no sign yet that the attacks are centrally coordinated, but he said they appeared to have been organized before Hussein's authority collapsed in early April.'

One thing I don't hear very often is analysis of Iraq's war plan. I tend to believe that Hussein knew that he was about to suffer a huge military defeat. Let's assume that you've come to the conclusion that a large-scale defeat of your military is inevitable. What would you do? The record of the war so far contains all sorts of statements about Iraqi troops "dissolving into the population", giving up their posts and putting on civilian clothes. Surely someone has considered that this may be part of Hussein's strategy -- let the Anglo-American force destroy all the armor, take some casualties, keep the rhetoric hot (via the Iraqi information minister), but disappear into the desert and melt into the population. One knock-on benefit of this is that your forces could take advantage of missteps by the invading force vis-a-vis their relations with the local population. The pattern that's emerging in Iraq tends to support some sort of loose plan to wage a guerilla war, only this time with the supports of the Shias and possibly the Kurds (it remains to be seen if they'll express their nationalism in a military way).

One twist the administration is making is to blame all the insurgency on Hussein loyalists and terrorists. While I believe that they're certainly a part of the resistance, I suspect that resentment goes deep enough to encourage normal Iraqis to take up arms against the occupation force. Thus the Iraqi opposition consists, or may eventually consist, of a larger cross-section of the population than the Bush administration believes. As Robert Fisk has pointed out, several of the recent attacks occured in neighborhoods where Hussein loyalists would be shot just as quickly as American troops. Missing that dynamic could be a damaging misstep -- the U.S. would do well to proceed with the idea that there could be a general uprising against American and British forces and retool its presence in Iraq accordingly.

Andrew 8:21 AM : |


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