Saturday, September 01, 2007

Peace Enforcement Mission May Become New Iraq Strategy

In an internal assessment given to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, a senior intelligence analyst and a military planner for the U.S. command in Baghdad call for shifting U.S. strategy in Iraq away from counterinsurgency and toward peace enforcement, and they suggest that the Shiite-led ruling coalition is involved in the country's "low-grade civil war."

The Aug. 15 briefing, titled "Resolving the Conflict in Iraq: An Alternative Peacemaking Strategy," offers an unusual glimpse into the intellectual debate within the U.S. military over the way forward in Iraq, and it comes just days before Petraeus, the top U.S. commander there, is scheduled to testify before Congress on the progress of President Bush's war strategy.

It also reveals how military officers in Iraq are wrestling with how to define the conflict -- whether as a counterinsurgency, civil war or some combination of several contests -- all with major implications for troop deployments and strategy. ...

This briefing, provided to The Washington Post by a third party, represents the authors' personal views and is not official policy.

The 19-page briefing casts doubt on a cornerstone of the U.S. approach in Iraq: the assumption that the Iraqi government seeks to build a multi-sectarian society. The report says that the U.S. troop increase this year has reduced violence and led many insurgent groups to seek reconciliation, but that in response the government has shown "little enthusiasm." Instead, it describes elements of the Shiite-dominated ruling coalition as at least tacitly supporting sectarian violence as a way to solidify its power.

"Rather than conducting a counterinsurgency that supports a sectarian driven Iraqi government, the coalition should focus all elements of power on activities that facilitate a long-term peace or we risk becoming/remaining a part of the civil war," the briefing says. ...

The authors argue that a shift in strategy on the ground could help forge a new consensus on Iraq in Washington: "The peacemaking process should be well underway by January 2008 or we may find that we have tactically created the space and time necessary but there has been insufficient progress towards reconciliation and reintegration -- resulting in a total collapse of political support in both the domestic public and the US Congress."

The briefing calls for a shift to a strategy of peace enforcement, starting as early as this month, that would emphasize "balanced targeting" of fighters from all sects and protecting the population from "any and all threats," including, if necessary, Iraqi security forces. It describes the Iraqi local and national police as sectarian and untrustworthy forces that need overhauling or disbanding. ...

The briefing's authors -- one military and one civilian -- emphasized that their unclassified report was intended for internal discussion only. They requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of their positions with the military division that oversees Baghdad, and they said their perspective is drawn from conditions in Baghdad rather than from Iraq as a whole.

A copy of the briefing was given to the U.S. commander for Baghdad, Army Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., and to Petraeus.

The Washington Post article also mentions the new classified Joint Campaign Plan:

A campaign plan adopted this summer by Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker departed from the idea that the Iraq conflict is simply a counterinsurgency that requires wholesale support for the government.

"What we did with the campaign plan is recognize that you can't do unconditional support of the government," said a senior military official involved with planning in Iraq. "There are certain elements that are interested in a sectarian agenda."


Blogger Meatball One said...

Spot on, Effman. That indeed is what appears to be up.

Non-U.S. emissaries of decent civilian rank are descending on Iraq like Russian skanks and Gazprom goons to the Riviera, all under the guise of examining the this' & thats of crap like...hmm - refugee issues.

In fact I believe they are in town to assess the potential for pitching in with killable assets for a peace keeping mission (as opposed to a peace making mission!)But for peace keeping missions to be signed up for there must exist sellable semblances of relative peace!

This is one of the significant (unofficial) reasons why countries such as Sweden are re-examing their current-ish positions of granting blanket amnesty to those lucky Iraqi bastards that pull off sneaking out of McHell and into Fortress Welfare-Ville. They are out to assist the U.S. by independently claiming a state of good-enuff peace in Babylonia.

With this perception in place, ramrodded petro-laws will look reasonably legitimate and Western forces can enter the arena to help offset some of our pain and costs come our most sloppy play in the neighborhood.

Now we understand the raison d'etre of the Surge; it's a masterful kinetic-based info-op (strain: perception management - not actual stabilization, kids!) to create the appearance of stability d'Iraq for consumption by vote-aged western audiences. (Petraeus is the current Mac Daddy of IOs - not Hughes or bullhorn wielding kids in choppers or idiots who drop Allah-defaming soccer balls from the skies on one-legged goat herders.)

Things must appear to be regularized in Iraq (no war - just pockets of pesky turbulance) for Western leaders to pitch a peace-keeping mission to their home audiences, ergo the retraction of blanket refugee status for fleeing Iraqis.

Most Western democracies can't argue their way out of signing onto a peace keeping mission called for by the U.S.- (it's one way these western feudal states secure (earn) their umbrella of military protection from the U.S.) But we have to throw them a decent bone so they can deliver support - thus far we haven't.

Few, if any, nations remain that will stick with, much less sign on to, continued peacemaking in Iraq given current homeland perceptions of intractable war in a distant hellhole. But peace keeping - baby that's where the coalition of the willing is to be found.

Ra Ra Petraeus.

P.S. Excuse the horrible semantics and grammar and spelling and rambling and redundancies and...-
I wrote this comment in meatball character by logging onton my skankanavia VPN using a borrowed and ultra-mini-screened cellphone here in boozeable Dubrovnik. I can only see 3 lines at a time and my short term memory's too debilitated to remember what I wrote 3 lines above.

9/02/2007 7:49 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...



Your analysis here is world-class, needless to say.

9/02/2007 11:29 AM  

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