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