The Washington Times, in two separate articles, disclosed some interesting developments on the status of the Iraqi insurgency. In the first article, Pamela Hess reports that the insurgency is considering forming a political front and purging itself of its violent and extremist elements: the foreign terrorists, criminals and radical sheikhs. Intelligence shows that the insurgency and its excessive violence has grown unpopular with the local populations. Hess reports that the insurgency is currently a “foco insurgency” , an insurgency designed to destroy the credibility of the government by using force, of the model that Che Guevara unsuccessfully tried to implement in Bolivia.

United Press International’s Salhan provides a further analysis on the prospects of the fracturing of the insurgency. Salhan describes this as being advantageous as it will bring “order from chaos” , allowing a political solution to be achieved. Salhan implies that the political solution is needed and indicates Fallujah was unsuccessful and it aided the insurgency because they were forced to decentralize. This does not take into account the military, psychological and logistical importance of Fallujah, as well as the shear number of insurgents and terrorists killed or captured. The analysis concludes by stating that the violence will only increase prior to elections and that it could spread to Saudi Arabia (however this could have an added bonus as the Saudis indicate they are better prepared to meet the security threat).

Hess and Salhan did draw some valid conclusions. A political solution is desired in Iraq, and a purge will increase the likelihood of this occurring. The threat of a Maoist insurgency or a spread of violence to potentially vulnerable Saudi Arabia should be concerns. However, there are other implications of the split in the insurgency, or even its discussion.

If the insurgency is discussing conducting a purge of terrorist, criminal and other unsavory elements, it is likely they can carry it out. This is dangerous to discuss openly (risk of a counter-purge) if they did not have the strength and capability to accomplish the task. Public discussion of this purge will sow distrust among insurgent factions and create divisions which could be exploited by coalition intelligence services. Insurgent factions may be less willing to cooperate with each other, thus reducing their effectiveness.

Whether insurgency goes “mainstream” by attempting to legitimize it ranks and shed the terror elements, or decides to continue down the path of a foco insurgency, the prospects of its defeat are good, as time is not on its side. Elections are less than two months away, and violent opposition after elections will be against the democratically elected government of the people of Iraq. Coalition operations are intensifying, preventing the insurgencts from catching its breath and reorganizing after their defeats in Fallujah and the rolling operations in the Sunni Triangle and elsewhere.

EagleSpeak describes the ongoing coalition operations as “relentless pressure.” The fracturing of the insurgency indicates the relentless pressure is beginning to pay off.

A good marketing rule is that you do not rebrand a popular and successful product or service. The insurgency is getting beaten politically and militarily, and have become unpopular among the Iraq people, or they would not be discussing changes in their composition.

Times must be tough in the world of jihad when the professionals in al Qaeda and other terror organizations are no longer welcomed in Iraq’s fledgeling insurgency.

Recommended Reading:

See Arthur Chrenkoff’s Good News from Iraq, Andrew Olmsted’s Iraq Report at Winds of Change and Bill Kristol’s latest on Iraq (hat tip to Chester).


Thanks to reader Marlin for pointing out the two articles from the Washington Times.

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


  • Election Fraud!

    Don’t vote for The Fourth Rail in the Best New Blog category! He sends money to terrorists, and calls them insurgents, fer Chrissakes!
    And worse, he’s ahead of me in the voting! The fight is on!

  • Marlin says:

    In her article Pamela Hess mentioned that the split in the insurgency seemed most noticeable in Ramadi. This morning on Fox News their correspondent, Greg Palkot, was reporting on the significant change of attitude in Ramadi. There currently is a curfew in effect, but even though the Marines go out looking to draw fire from the insurgents after dark they are not being fired upon. Additionally, the Marines are seeing posters on street corners telling the populace not to attack the coalition forces or they will be found and killed.

  • Justin B says:

    Being anti-American is not being an insurgent. You don’t have to like us and you can even view us as occupiers and want us out. You can desire for Iraq to have self rule and can prefer one candidate over another. These are all democratic ideals. What you cannot do is kill American forces, Iraqi forces, Coalition forces, or opposition leaders.

    Al Sadr already has come to grips with democracy versus Islamofacism. If you seek to illegally impose your will through any method, you will be killed or otherwise destroyed. If you work through the democratic process we are implementing, America will reduce our forces and eventually let you have complete autonomy. The less you shoot at us and the sooner Iraq rids itself of the foreign terrorists that are killing Iraqi citizens, the sooner we let them alone.

    Iraqis are not stupid. Al Jazeera may not say it, but Al Qaeda and the other nut jobs like Al Zarqawi are senseless murderers and people are already tiring of their brand of governance. Fallujah was not a nice place to live even before we bombed the crap out of it. Most people do not want to live in 800 AD. In the struggle of ideals (absent violent threats) freedom and democracy is going to win out over Islamofacism.

  • Bill H says:

    Great prior post Justin. Intimdation shows it’s true face when actual arguments and reasoning don’t work. The anti-American elements that are searching for legitimacy will increasingly find more broadbased support among Iraqis, as the radical elements resort to more violence against civilians. Iraqis are not stupid, and the Middle East has been a cradle of commerce for centuries. Because the best message the Islamofascists have is “Democracy is Anti Islam”, they will continue to see their base of support diminish. If you listen to the extremists, you would think, commerce, charity, and hospitality are anti Islam as well. More and more Iraqis seem to be realizing this, and it will help kill the insurgency as certainly as guns.

  • Justin B says:

    The true question is whether a majority of people in the entire Muslim world support Sharia Law. I think the answer is clearly no. Certainly, even if the majority does support one of the most brutal, tyrannical, repressive sets of laws that exist–especially towards women–they are welcome to a taste of it. As long as these countries are established as a democracy, the people will be able to change leadership periodically. Sharia Law will last about as long as Howard Dean did.

    It is very difficult for radicals to rise to power and maintain it in a democracy. The radical elements in the middle east have all risen due to monarchy, nepotism, or coup. Our objective right now has got to be ensuring the next round of elections in a couple of years occur in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the wanna-be Palestinian state. Even if Radicals get majorities in some places, we have to respect the will of the people and support their election as long as they comply with certain rights (ie our Bill of Rights) and allow future free elections free of corruption.

    I have so much faith in democracy. I do not believe that one man or even a group of men can ever destroy a democracy as long as the people still have the power to choose. Then again, maybe I am naive. Certainly, the Liberal Elite thinks I am. They don’t even support democracy here, but prefer an enlightened group of left leaning judges to write our country’s laws. Surely the Muslims cannot govern themselves without some dictator running things.

    If we succeed in transforming the Middle East (and I believe we will), W. will truly have accomplished the impossible and it will keep future generations throughout the world free and safe. I would say he could win a Nobel Peace Prize, but apparently there is a little know clause in there that states you have to sponsor suicide bombers in Palestine to get one of those. BTW, Arafat was not burried with his medal from the Peace Prize. He left it behind as the trophy for the Suicide Bomber Olympics. Unfortunately none of the contestants have ever been able to claim it, and now their families don’t even get the cash portion of the award from Saddam. Good news is winners still get the 70 virgins from Allah.

    “Bye Bye Boys.”
    “Have fun storming the castle.”
    “Think it will work?”
    “It would take a miracle.”


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram