The Surge and the Baghdad Security Operation

A process, not an event

Baghdad-map-detailed.jpg

Detailed map of Baghdad. Click to view.

News that an Iraqi Army brigade and 2,000 American troops have begun an operation in the Sunni dominated neighborhood of Azamiyah has kicked off speculation the Baghdad Security Operation is now underway in full force. Expect the forces to establish one or more Combat Outposts (or COPs) in Azamiyah. But the fact is the operation to stabilize the capital and the surrounding provinces is only in its infancy. Today’s positioning of forces Azamiyah is but one more opening move on the chessboard.

Technically, the operation actually began in Late December when President Bush ordered additional troops to Iraq. The deployment of additional forces and the building infrastructure for the Baghdad piece of the security operation has just begun. Only a few thousand of the 17,500 U.S. soldiers have moved into Baghdad. Iraqi brigades are still moving into position.

Only two of the many planned Combat Outposts have been set up in Baghdad – one in Doura and another in Ghazaliya. Iraqi Army, police and U.S. soldiers will be stationed in the outposts to secure individual neighborhoods. Iraqi Army and police units are just beginning to take up positions around Sadr City. Most of the opening moves have occurred in the North of Baghdad. The U.S. and Iraqis still have plenty of assets to put in place, assets that likely won’t be fully in place until March or later.

Iraqi soldiers man a checkpoint at the entrance of Baghdad’s impoverished Shiite Muslim neighbourhood of Sadr City. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye). Click to view.

Military officers have repeatedly referred to the security operation as a ‘holistic’ approach that encompasses more than just Baghdad. Over 4,000 additional Marines are being deployed in Anbar province to fight al Qaeda and deal with any potential bleed-out of terrorists from Baghdad. Iraqi and U.S. are also being subtly redeployed from more stable areas into regions where al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sunnah and the Mahdi Army are likely to seek shelter. Recent operations in Najaf, Anbar and Diyala provide some clues.

The mere announcement of the security plan has already and an affect on the security situation. On a positive note, the death squad activity has dramatically decreased in Baghdad. The near daily reports of bodies being found bound, mutilated and murdered have significantly decreased. A major reason for this is Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his fighters to go to ground and not confront U.S. and Iraqi forces. His senior militia leaders are thought to have fled Baghdad.

On a negative note, al Qaeda has stepped up its car and suicide bombing campaign, attacking soft targets in the city such as markets, pet shops, and mosques, with deadly results. While al Qaeda is said to have pulled out of Baghdad, an American intelligence official informs us al Qaeda has largely withdrawn to Diyala province, and is ferrying in suicide bombers into the city. al Qaeda is stepping up its bombing campaign in an effort to both discredit the security operations and incite sectarian attacks. It is vital the currier network of bombers and the bombmaking cells be dismantled to reduce the effectiveness of al Qaeda’s operations in the capital. Further concurrent operations must also be conducted in Diyala to disrupt al Qaeda’s ability to maintain an intensive bombing campaign.

General David Patreaus, the new Multinational Forces Iraq commander, recently stated the results of the new Iraq strategy won’t be known until the summer at the earliest. The Coalition must be prepared to alter the plan as needed, and remember the enemy always has a voice in war. Sadr, al Qaeda and other Anti-Iraq Forces will probe for weaknesses, both militarily and politically, and attempt to exploit them. The real failure in Operation Together Forward, the Baghdad security operation in 2006, was a failure in imagination. The U.S. military kept plugging away with the same plan, refusing to alter operations in the face of a concerted enemy campaign that exploited the operation’s weaknesses. America and the Iraqi people cannot afford the same mistakes in 2007.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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39 Comments

  • Nicholas says:

    Pet shops? They’re not content with blowing up children, pregnant women and the developmentally disabled, now they have to target innocent animals too?
    Well, here’s hoping this campaign can bring a swift and permanent end to people who would commit such heinous acts.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Update from today’s brief:
    10x JSS established.
    Some in existing IP stations, some new.
    20-30 planned.

  • Friendly_Fire says:

    Well it looks like the surge is a two-way street.

    The U.S. military confirmed on Wednesday that a transport helicopter had come down near Baghdad but declined to comment on any casualties.
    “We have a CH-46 that is down,” U.S. military spokesman Major-General William Caldwell told reporters, referring to the twin-rotor Sea Knight, the Marine version of the Chinook, which can carry up to 25 passengers and four crew.
    Caldwell said it had come down 12 miles northwest of Baghdad. He did not say whether it had been brought down by mechanical failure or ground fire.
    “There is a quick reaction force on site. It would be inappropriate for me to talk about casualties,” Caldwell said.

    Saudi Arabia methinks

  • DJ Elliott says:

    20 miles NW of Baghdad is what I heard him say in the brief and SAMs are what the press is claiming. No confirmation.
    – If SAMs then they probably came from Iran or Syria (Russian made).
    – We sold Saudi their SAMs and would be able to identify them down to shipping date from the remains. And Saudi knows that…

  • serurier says:

    still any information for that CH-46?

  • joe says:

    I think its most likely rich saudis either buying these weapons on the black market or stealing these weapons from the Saudi military. Large elements of Saudi society are sympathetic to Al qaeda and the Iraqi insurgents.
    Heres some info about Saudis buying Stelas
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/12/08/world/main2240138.shtml

  • Andrew R. says:

    The near daily reports of bodies being found bound, mutilated and murdered have significantly decreased. A major reason for this is Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his fighters to go to ground and not confront U.S. and Iraqi forces. His senior militia leaders are thought to have fled Baghdad.

    On a negative note, al-Qaeda has stepped up its car and suicide bombing campaign, attacking soft targets in the city such as markets, pet shops, and mosques, with deadly results. While Al-Qaeda is said to have pulled out of Baghdad, an American intelligence official informs us al-Qaeda has largely withdrawn to Diyala province, and is ferrying in suicide bombers into the city.

    Bill, I think that those two paragraphs are more related than one might think. As anti-american as Sadr is, his death squads are mostly targeting our enemies. When the death squads stop, the folks in Western Baghdad have more breathing room and freedom of movement than when they’re trying hard to avoid winding up in a ditch shot execution-style. The Mahdi Army, in the end, is a sideshow if we can’t cripple the Ba’athist/Salafi insurgency.

  • LJ says:

    Bill, How about commenting on the shooting down of US helicopters. Is this reminiscent of the mujahadin in Afghanistan shooting down Soviet helicopters?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Give me a little time on the helo incidents. I’ve been inquiring about this and have some information, and would like to see if this CH-46 crash was a mechanical/pilot error, or a shootdown.
    Andrew R.,
    If the death squad activity is curbed, and AQI suicide attacks are brought to a more reasonable level than what we’ve seen of late, the “need” for the Mahdi Army will be reduced. Also, stopping death squad activity is really a policing problem, you stop large groups of armed males from roaming the streets… That is why the Mahdi Army is laying low. If Sadr then comes back in and ramps up the violence, he is responsible and will have to pay the political price for wrecking the security. Of all actors here, I think Sadr is in the biggest bind.
    The suicide bombing problem cannot be addressed in a more meaningful way until the taps in Syria and Iran are turned off.

  • Friendly Fire says:

    Bill, first of all I have to say that reports report that

    Eyewitnesses say the Ch-46 Sea Knight Helicopter was shot down. AP quotes Pentagon sources as saying seven aboard killed. Al Qaeda in Iraq released a statement claiming responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, which has capacity of 25 passengers. Witnesses say a missile brought down the helicopter. Video from the scene showed the wreckage in flames.

    As for Sadr, yes he is next on the list, because you say:

    That is why the Mahdi Army is laying low. If Sadr then comes back in and ramps up the violence, he is responsible and will have to pay the political price for wrecking the security. Of all actors here, I think Sadr is in the biggest bind.

    Why?
    You are blind about Saudi Arabia methinks: You blame Syria and Iran when Joe above links CBS reports above about RSA’s fundings of Strela purchases from Romania, a member of NATO, by the way.
    If the USA could dig their head out of the sand and see what’s really at play here, they’d get some results, unfortunately, that will not happen.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Friendly Fire,
    Saying idiotic things like I’m “blind about Saudi Arabia” and Iran and Syria aren’t involved tells me you really don’t know much what is going on.
    Iran and Syria are providing state backing of the terrorist groups, including weapons, training camps, etc. while individuals within the Saudi Kingdom are funding the insurgency. There’s a big difference. By no means am I saying the Saudi government is being helpful. They’ve neglected to dismantle the finanical and ideological infrastructure in their Kingdom. I’ve talked about the Saudi based Golden Chain in relation to Iraq, as well as Somalia, so methinks you may be the one a bit blinded on this issue.

  • David M says:

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run – Web Reconnaissance for 02/07/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

  • Mike E says:

    [[Eyewitnesses say the Ch-46 Sea Knight Helicopter was shot down]]
    Question is are the eye witnesses the insurgent stringer used by the AP? They after all described mosques blown up that were not and Sunnis burned (who were not).

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Friendly Fire,
    Please explain to me what benefit the Saudi Royal Family will get from an unstable Iraq that the US has abandoned??
    They have a very long border wih the predominantly Shiite South of Iraq..who will defend that Border?? Even more importantly…whose Army will be on the other side of that border??
    Have the Saudis and other Gulf States been guilty of paying off various groups in exchange for Peace and Tranquility…probably…maybe even certainly.
    Can you give me three reasons why the US and/or the European Union sent hundreds of millions in aid to the Palestinian Authority??
    Did we think they were nice folks???
    The Jihadis aren’t stupid…blow some stuff up…then offer to stop blowing stuff up in return for some cash. Then take the cash to buy more bombs…and blow someone elses stuff up. As long as they are blowing someone elses stuff up…they are called “Freedom Fighters”…when they start blowing our stuff up…they are called “Terrorists”.(Try finding some articles in the Western Media referring to “Czechen Terrorists” pre-9/11.)

  • Andrew R. says:

    If the death squad activity is curbed, and AQI suicide attacks are brought to a more reasonable level than what we’ve seen of late, the “need” for the Mahdi Army will be reduced.

    That’s a lot of conditionals. As it stands, Iraq’s Sunnis are fore the most part either cowed by or complicit with the insurgents, which makes it really hard top stop the stream of high explosives coming out of places like Adhamiya. I find death squads against civilian supporters of an insurgency who may only be supporting it out of fear to be morally reprehensible (especially when the death squads are being run by the likes of Sadr), but at the moment, his goons are probably more efficient at terrorizing our enemies than we are.

  • As a follow up to Bill’s comments to Andrew R.:
    Andrew R. implied that Sadr’s Mahdi Army is on our side because they are killing insurgents. A variety of sources confirm that the Mahdi Army was conducting a Bosnian type ethnic cleansing of mixed Shia-Sunni neighborhoods. These actions are not at all productive toward the U.S. goal of a unified, stable Iraq.
    Granted, for the first three years of the war the Shia, at the urging of Ayatollah Sistani, showed remarkable restraint under brutal attacks by Sunni extremists, particularly Zarqawi.
    After the bombing of the mosque in Sammarra early last year, however, even Sistani was unable to hold back the Shia hotheads and the sectarian slaughter began. This response by the Shia eventually forced the Bush administration to change our strategy.
    The only advantage to this change in conditions in the country is that the Sunnis may finally begin to understand that they are better off being a minority in a unified Iraq than a majority in a rump state. In my judgment, they have been unbelievably hardheaded about this point. All the oil is in the Kurdish and Shia dominated areas. Their only access to these riches is through a unified Iraq.
    During my year in Iraq I found the Iraqis to be sane, rational, hard working, family oriented people. All they wanted then and I believe all any Iraqi, whether they be Kurd, Sunni or Shia want now is security for them and their families.
    For a variety of reasons the U.S. strategy was to force the Iraqis to provide this security through the institutional police and military forces that were being created and nurtured. For a variety of reasons, this strategy failed.
    Calling our new strategy, led by Gen Petraeus, a surge is a misnomer. This implies that we are reinforcing failure by sending more troops to do the same things that failed before. The new strategy is not only additional troops but a different manner of the employment of all U.S. troops in the country.
    Gen Petraeus is sharp. If anyone can make this work, he can.
    I agree with Bill. Hold all comments on the success or failure of the new strategy until July 1. The media, of course, will be under no such restriction.

  • Friendly Fire says:

    Bill
    Saying idiotic things is an insult to me. How many Saudis were on the 9/11 planes?
    PS: No Iraqis, Iranians or Syrians booked seats on those flights.
    Soldier’s Dad: You say Please explain to me what benefit the Saudi Royal Family will get from an unstable Iraq that the US has abandoned?? The USA in Saudi eyes have lost the war in Iraq (to Iran), this is why they are arming the Ba’athist Sunni.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Friendly Fire ,
    Your words speak volumes. If you think al-Qaeda only a Saudi organization, then I suggest you do some deeper digging.

  • GK says:

    Friendly Fire,
    Why fixate on only 9/11? The London 7/7 bombers were British-born Pakistanis. Which country should we invade for that?
    How about the 1993 WTC bombing?
    The 1983 Marine Barracks, where 240 Americans died?
    The 1998 Kenya/Tanzania bombings?
    The 1996 Khobar Towers?
    The 2004 Madrid bombings?
    The 2006 Bombay bombings?
    The 2002 Bali nighclub bombings, in which Indonesian terrorists killed Australians?
    A fixation on 9/11 is to focus on just the biggest tree and ignore the massive forest of smaller trees.

  • BobK says:

    Bill
    Saying idiotic things is an insult to me.
    METHINKS he meant it to be. You swung first.

  • sangell says:

    I see the State Department is preparing its own
    contingency plans. To admit more Iraqi refugees.
    So, if as seems likely, the Iraqi project goes
    south, we can expect hundreds of thousands of
    new Muslim immigrants to come here and continue
    their various jihads on our streets.
    I wish someone would define what ‘victory’ in
    Iraq is going to look like?

  • serurier says:

    I think a lot of helicopters be shot down , because terrorists go to Taji and left Baghdad?

  • the nailgun says:

    I note that when the insurgency decided to make Baghdad the centre of gravity the Left/media were “congratulating” them on their clever strategic sense. Now when there are plenty of signs of them either withdrawing or being forced to go to ground apparently Baghdad is no more important than anywhere else. They can’t have it both ways.
    One thing that interests me is why there is not more focus/pressure on Syria. Yes Iran is ultimate source of the trouble but I would have thought the risks of really standing up and threatening Syria would be far far lower than Iran where the regime seems less rational and able ultimately to wage a far more severe war if it came to that. Syria also has no real capacity to threaten oil supplies.
    To my mind if you shut down the Syrian conduit you shut down Anbar which in turn shuts down conduit to Baghdad and pretty much Sunni insurgency everywhere. That in turns removes reason for Mahdi Army to exist and theoretically problem solved. All the dominoes start falling our way.
    What realistically is Syria going to do if the US stands up to her. If she loses her air force or major military assets she lives a lot lot closer to Israel than Iran. Also would enable us to shut down Hizbollah which gives Lebanon a real chance for the first time in decades.
    Unless one of the many readers here who are far more conversant in these matters knows otherwise it strikes me Syria is the enemy’s real achilles heel. It is the back door way to perhaps not defeating Iran but strangling off most of her trouble making. If Iran wants to continue to trouble make without it’s stooge Syria it will have to do that in a far more overt manner and all the risks that go with that.
    Am I wrong?

  • GK says:

    nailgun,
    Absolutely. Note that Syria was actually on OUR side, in the coalition, in the 1991 Gulf War. One of the biggest disadvantages we have today is that they are our enemies, while they were at least neutral, or even allies, just a few years prior.
    Militarily, Syria is nothing. They have only 18 million people, of which 10% are Christians. Their land area is half that of Iraq.
    But all we really have to do is to get Syria back to their 1991 status, rather than their current status.

  • remoteman says:

    Nailgun, the logic of your Syria question may be why I saw Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America broadcasting from Damascus. She was doing a travelogue, extolling the wonders of the market, the food, the wonderful people, etc. I couldn’t believe it. The MSM working to put Syria mentally off limits to the American public.

  • joe says:

    The Syrian government would be easy pickings for either our or the isreali military. After that government falls though it is my opinion that Syria would be an even bigger danger then it is now for numerous reasons.
    1. The Assad regime of Syria is composed of a minority shia sect called the alawites who have remained in power by crushing the majority sunnis whenever they rose up(see hama massacre). Civil War is likely if that regime falls only radical muslim brotherhood-al qaeda linked sunnis would be the winners.
    2. Syria has better weapons that Iraq did at the time of its fall including chemical weapons and the deadly anti-tank weapons that hezbollah employed so effectivly during the summer. These weapons would likely find there way into anbar province which we have not witnessed as of yet.
    3. A failed Syrian State would give Al Qaeda its long coveted base to directly attack Israel.
    The blow to Iran would sting but certainly would not be deadly especially with their newfound allies in Iraq and hezbollah is a very proffessional organization it would still find ways to obtain weapons and funds. The negatives outweigh the positives of attacking Syriam, the Israelis know this that is why they held back during the summer war.

  • the nailgun says:

    Joe – points taken but I would be hopeful that just a realistic and credible threat of significant military action against Syria would be enough to get them to pull their heads in. I wonder for instance what the effect of “simply” closing the US embassy in Damascus would be?
    As GK wisely pointed out above we just need to get her to stop and become neutral not actually overthrow the Assad regime at this stage.
    If it did break down to a civil war surely the US wouldn’t have to sit on the side and just watch AQ take over. Much like Afghanistan with the Nth Alliance or even as we have seen in Somalia recently the US would just need to provide enough support to tip the balance in the favour of the non AQ forces. Some training, munitions and limited air support, intel from satellites, the odd well placed cruise missile should do the job.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    Nailgun,
    “One thing that interests me is why there is not more focus/pressure on Syria. Yes Iran is ultimate source of the trouble but I would have thought the risks of really standing up and threatening Syria would be far far lower than Iran”

  • GK says:

    I don’t think Iran has the ability to escalate any more than it currently has. Oil prices are below the peak, and Iranian birth-rates are below replacement level. Only 51% of Iran’s population is Persian.

  • the nailgun says:

    Neo – Good points too but surely if it can be shown that they are AQ agents how can the Democrats complain. These are the people who flew into the WTC. Likewise we aren’t saying invade or occupy just knockdown their airforce and easily bombed military hardware making them very vulnerable to Israel or some later US attack. That is a big price for them to pay for allowing AQ through their borders.
    I am also fascinated why the Iraqi Govt itself doesn’t send assasins in to hit recruiters and coordinators inside Syria.

  • marine dad says:

    Absolutely. Note that Syria was actually on OUR side, in the coalition, in the 1991 Gulf War. One of the biggest disadvantages we have today is that they are our enemies, while they were at least neutral, or even allies, just a few years prior.
    What is the difference between then and now relative to syria? To me there are two central themes:
    (1) Like all middle east despots, since the dawn of recorded history, assad survives on his cunning. On significant aspect of that cunning is to be on the winning side. Assad was “with us” against Saddam because it was quite clear early on that the co alition would win and Saddam would lose. Right now Assad is playing a cute game, keeping that fence shoved up his ass waiting for the victor to be revealed. If we withdraw Assad will be pro Iran, if we prevail, Assad will be far more “pro American”.
    (2) Michael J Totten posted an interview with a Lebanese activist who basically stated that Baker gave Assad a green light in Lebannon in exchange for “support” against saddam in kuwait. Frankly I believe that is well within the realm of possibilities. It is easy for me to believe that someone as cynical as Baker could make such a deal. Certainly such an arrangement would be business as usual for Assad, who is, as I stated, a middle east despot and therefore from that mold.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    “I don’t think Iran has the ability to escalate any more than it currently has. Oil prices are below the peak, and Iranian birth-rates are below replacement level. Only 51% of Iran’s population is Persian.”

  • the nailgun says:

    Neo – My guess is the SAM”s showing up all of a sudden are Tehran’s answer to “I have deployed another Carrier Group to the Persian Gulf”. The SAMs are probably a double edged sword for the Iranians but on one level it is a pretty wiley move. A few SAMs to counter an entire Carrier Group and strong parallels to what the CIA did with Stingers in Afghanistan and Soviet Gunships.
    Which brings me back to Syria again. Easier nut to crack and should get the dominoes falling our way. Knock down one air force base and say “there’s plenty more where that came from” and I think you will get Assad thinking exactly as Marine Dad alludes to above but recognising that regardless of ultimate winner of Iraqi situation he is going to have a seriously degraded military, I think that would terrify him and get the result we want.
    As I said above I think just the US really making an issue of AQ traffic over the border and then ordering US Embassy shut will be all that is required. Not a shot fired just an obvious preliminary move leading to serious action would do the job.
    To my mind right now Bush could easily argue Syria is an AQ collaborator and US troops are literally dieing as a direct result of his “blind eye” to AQ in Syria

  • crosspatch says:

    “On a positive note, the death squad activity has dramatically decreased in Baghdad. The near daily reports of bodies being found bound, mutilated and murdered have significantly decreased.”
    Bill, I am not seeing any evidence of this. The daily body counts seem to be about the same. Here are examples from Reuters:

    Feb 08:
    FALLUJA – U.S. forces said they killed 13 insurgents in an air strike on two suspected foreign fighter safe houses near the town of Ameriya, near the western city of Falluja. Ahmed al-Ami, a doctor in Falluja hospital, said more than 30 bodies, including those of seven children, were brought in.
    BAGHDAD – Police found 20 bodies in Baghdad, all apparent victims of sectarian killings.
    Feb 07:
    BAGHDAD – A total of 30 bodies with gunshot wounds were found in different parts of Baghdad on Tuesday, police said.
    Feb 06:
    BAGHDAD – Police said they retrieved the bodies of 25 people from various parts of Baghdad with gunshot wounds and signs of torture over the past 24 hours.

    Notice the nice even numbers in the Reuters reports? Exactly 25 one day, 30 the next day and 20 the following. Normally I would expect to see numbers like 21 or 27 or 33, but these Reuters reports often seem to have such nice round numbers. I am suspecting that many of these Reuters reports are fabricated.
    Another thing I have noticed is that the numbers are in a pattern to keep the average daily death count to a certain number. When we have a large car bombing in a market that kills a large number of people, Reuters is silent on the Baghdad death count or the numbers are greatly reduced (say to 10 a day) for a few days and then they ramp back up to 20-50 per day.
    The Reuters “Baghdad Bodies” reports so far this month:
    1 Feb – NONE REPORTED (but there were two car bombings in Hilla that day)
    2 Feb – NONE REPORTED
    3 Feb – 23 BODIES (plus huge truck bombing of market in Baghdad reported after the daily “Baghdad Bodies” report)
    4 Feb – NONE REPORTED
    5 Feb – NONE REPORTED
    6 Feb – 25 BODIES
    7 Feb – 30 BODIES
    8 Feb – 20 BODIES
    I would really love to find the source of the Reuters daily “Baghdad Bodies” reports. I keep an eye on this page where daily media reports of Iraqi civilian and security force deaths are tallied.

  • BobK says:

    would really love to find the source of the Reuters daily “Baghdad Bodies” reports. I keep an eye on this page where daily media reports of Iraqi civilian and security force deaths are tallied.
    Posted by crosspatch | February 9, 2007 2:21 PM
    Interesting pickup. Patterns are the key to so much. Maybe those days a certain “reporter”, “official”, or “editor” is on duty doing his thing on the PR front for the insurgents. Cheap, easy and IT IS working, just read the MSM

  • Joe molehill says:

    I have read that the syrian Assad, is part of the Alawites. They are a minority, and have pictures of Jesus Mom Mary in all thier villages. The rest of syria is sunni, and the Alawites play like shiites to make themselves different from thier sunni neighbors but they really are not at all into the iran mullacracy trip. They are surrounded by insane neighbors and long ago gave up the idea of being honest with them. Imagine thier problem. Alawites are tough, but thier history shows that they are first and foremost fighting for thier own survival amongst neighbors you and I would not choose to live with. Jews are just another problem neighbor for them, and the Alawites have to keep thier power over their countrymen who are sunni. So, they must pose this way or that, say this or that, do whatever, but the reason the US will never dethrone the Alawites, is because the adminisrtation knows the Alawites are not wanting to be enemies. They already have enough enemies they have to get along with.

  • joe molehill says:

    The alawites do not control each person in thier country. All manner of mischief can happen and they have no part in it. If groups conspire with iran, at least we have a regime that does not take the iraq weapons that came during the saddam last days and hand them over to terrorists. They do cooperate. However, they certainly cant have the us act like thier freind. That is bad chess, and they wont play it. For what? To just lose what they have? For no good to the us or themselves? Whatever the jews say, they know they dont want to have the Alawites removed from the control of syria.
    Shake fists at syria is helpful to the Alawites. Sure, they are not dream neighbors, but think how bad they could be. How bad they could have been. Easily.
    They even offered to “host” hezbollah in syria, where they would be under syrian control. No wonder Assad looks freaked out always, have you ever seen a picture where he looked happy? They are a minority. And thank goodness they are in power.

  • joe molehill says:

    you should erase this info on the Alawites.
    It will not help them.
    Kindly delete.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis