Who Won Iraq's "Decisive" Battle?

jpeyton

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Great editorial that really targets what every media organization seems to ignore: the internal sectarian/civil conflict in Iraq is a slow, deliberate, guerrilla-style clash that is next-to-impossible to win using conventional military tactics. When a militia, like the Mahdi Army, is so deeply embedded into the community that your friends and neighbors are its constituents, any invading force is at a tremendous disadvantage.

This was proven this past week, when the Iraqi Army, organized/trained/supplied by the US, got its asses handed to them when they tried to take on Sadr's forces. But instead of making a fatal mistake like the Sunnis did in Fallujah (directly challenging the US military all-out), Sadr is smart enough to know that he could grow his influence politically and retain his militia's strength by ceasing aggression and dissolving the Mahdi Army back into society.

Text

By Gary Brecher

What happened in Iraq this week was a beautiful lesson in the weird laws of guerrilla warfare. Unfortunately, it was the Americans who got schooled. Even now, people at my office are saying, ?We won, right? Sadr told his men to give up, right??

Wrong. Sadr won big. Iran won even bigger. Maliki, Petraeus and Cheney lost.

For people raised on stories of conventional war, where both sides fight all-out until one side loses and gives up, what happened in Iraq this past week makes no sense at all. Sadr?s Mahdi Army was humiliating the Iraq Army on all fronts. In Basra, the Army?s grand offensive, code-named ?The Charge of the Knights,? got turned into ?The Total Humiliation of the Knights,? like something out of an old Monty Python skit.

Thousands of police who were supposed to be backing up the Iraqi Army either refused to fight or defected to Sadr?s Mahdi Army. In Basra, the Iraqi Army was stopped dead and clearly in danger of being crushed or forced to retreat from the city. In Baghdad, Sadr?s militia was rocketing the Green Zone non-stop?not a good look for the ?Surge is working? PR drive?and driving the Iraqi Army clean out of the 2-million-man Shia slum, Sadr City. And in every poor Shia neighborhood in cities and towns all over Iraq, new branches of the Mahdi Army were forming up and attacking the government forces.

Then, after four days of uninterruptedly kicking Iraqi Army ass, Sadr graciously announces that he?s telling his men to end their ?armed appearances? on the streets. Makes no sense, right? Nah, it makes a ton of sense, but you have to stop thinking of Gettysburg and Stalingrad and think long and slow, like a guerrilla.

If you want to know how NOT to think about Iraq, just start with anything ever said or imagined by Cheney or Bush. Our Commander in Chief declared a week ago, when the Iraqi Army first marched into Basra, ?I would say this is a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq.? But when the Iraqi Army fled a few days later, he suddenly got very quiet. But anybody could see how deluded the poor fucker is just by all the nonsense he managed to cram into that 15-word sentence. I mean, ?the history of a free Iraq?? That?s like that Mad Magazine joke about the ?World?s Shortest Books.? But that?s nothing compared to Bush?s fundamentally wrong notion that there?s even such a thing as a ?defining moment? in an urban guerrilla war. Guerrilla wars are slow, crock-pot wars. To win this kind of war, the long war, takes patience. Trying to force a ?defining moment? by military action is not just ignorant and idiotic, but risks further demoralizing your side when that moment doesn?t happen, as it inevitably won?t. What happens when you launch premature strikes on a neighborhood-based group like the Mahdi Army is that you just end up convincing their neighborhoods that the occupiers are the enemy, and the Mahdi boys?all local kids you?ve known all your life?are heroes, defending your glorious slum from the foreigners and their lackeys.

By the time a homegrown group like Sadr?s is ready to ?announce itself? on the streets, it?s put in years of serious grassroots work winning over the locals block by block. The Mahdi Army runs its own little world in the neighborhoods it controls. It distributes food to the poor, deals out rough justice to the local crims, and runs the checkpoints that keep Sunni suicide bombers off the block. It?s the home team, the Oakland Raiders times one million, for people in places like Sadr City. You can?t eradicate it without eradicating the whole neighborhood?or making it so rich that people don?t need a gang. That?s probably the only sure way to end guerrilla wars: make the locals so rich they?re not interested in gang life any more, turning them into Sean John Combs-alikes. And that?s not going to happen any time soon for the two or three million people crammed into places like Sadr City. Until then, the Mahdi Army is their team and they?re sticking by it.

By attacking Sadr?s neighborhoods this week, Maliki?s troops pushed the Shia masses closer to Sadr; and by losing, they made the slum people prouder than ever of their home team. That?s what you get when you go for a ?defining moment? in guerrilla war.

To understand what happened this week, you need to zoom out to the big picture, see what Petraeus and Maliki thought would happen, and then forward it to what actually did happen. Iraq right now has four real zones of influence: Kurdistan, which is withdrawing and fortifying itself as fast as it can; the Sunni Triangle, bloodied by four years of fighting the US and ready to be bribed for a while; Baghdad, which is turning into a Shia-dominated city fast; and Basra, solidly Shia. The major action now is Shia vs. Shia.

The Shia are divided into two major factions: Maliki is our guy, but his real loyalty is to a middle-class Shia group that has military and political wings. The political wing is the Dawa Party; the military group used to be called the Badr Brigade, but these days it calls itself the Iraqi Army.

The Badr Brigade has an interesting history. During the Iran-Iraq War, it fought for the Iranians against Saddam, as a big (50,000-man) auxiliary unit. When we disbanded Saddam?s army and the Sunni went insurgent, the Badr Brigade stepped smoothly into the power vacuum and became the core of the new Iraqi Army. So don?t think of this as a real Western-style national army, drawn from all of Iraq?s various groups or any of that crap. The current Iraqi Army is a particular Shia militia that just happens to be willing to wear the uniforms we bought them. They?re not really in it for ?the nation,? much less their American paymasters. They?re there to use their new fancy weapons and big money to push the Dawa Party?s agenda down everybody else?s throats.

And like I have to keep saying over and over, the purely military hardware aspect of this sort of war is the least important factor of all. The Iraqi Army had the weaponry on their side, and they got their asses kicked by the Sadrists, because the Sadrists were defending their home neighborhoods, those stinking slums that mean the whole world to people who live there. Victory in insurgency is a matter of morale, and you build it slowly, the way Mao said, by helping the locals in their dull little civvie lives. Then, when the army comes to try to take you down, they don?t have a chance, because you?ve prepped the neighborhood well, the locals are your eyes and ears, and it just plain doesn?t mean as much to the government troops as it does to your cadre who were raised there. That?s why Hezbollah?s part-time amateurs were able to beat the Israeli professionals in 2006, and that?s why Sadr was ahead of the game when he called the fight off this week. It?s like what Suvorov said: train hard, fight easy.

Truth is, if any group comes out of this looking good, militarily or morally, it?s the Mahdi Army and their leader, the fat man himself, ?Mookie? as they call him on Free Republic: Moqtada al-Sadr. He?s the Dawa Party?s big target in this failed crackdown. The quickest way to understand Sadr?s group is to think of Hezbollah in Lebanon and their leader, Nasrullah. (They even look alike?that sedentary mullah lifestyle, I guess.) Hezbollah built its power by providing social services to the poorest slum Shia communities, and the Mahdi Army works the same way, following the old Maoist line that a guerrilla army should work with the civilians, doing the dull peacetime stuff like public health, building projects, food distribution.

Like Hezbollah, the Sadrists cooperate with Iran, but no way in the world are they Iranian puppets. In fact, it?s ?our? Shia group, the Badr Brigades?the core of the Iraqi Army?that has an embarrassing history of fighting for the Iranians against their own country, Iraq. But that doesn?t mean they?re Iraqi puppets either.

When Iraqi Shi?ites want to insult each other, they accuse each other of being pro-Iranian, and it is an accusation. They buy the idea of an ?Iraqi nation,? as long as it?s their gang running it. One thing you can absolutely count on in the Middle East is that every clan, every sect, is going to look out for itself. The middle-class Shia are using us; Sadr?s using Iran; but they?re both out for themselves. Sadr would probably have been willing to cooperate with us, if Bremer hadn?t pushed him into rebellion in 2004. So it?s a mistake to think of any of these groups as having permanent alliances. They?re practical people.

So are the Iranians. They really know how to play this kind of long, slow war. They can control exactly the level of chaos inside Iraq by feeding weapons and money in when they want to heat the place up, then withholding supplies when they want to cool it down. They?re embedded with every militia, even the Sunni groups, and they use them like control rods in a nuke reactor. The way the ceasefire this week was arranged says it all: a bunch of big Shia politicians flew to Qom, Khomeini?s hometown in Iran, and begged the Iranians to stop the shooting. They talked to Sadr, and Sadr agreed?for his own reasons, not just because the Iranians told him to.

And that brings us back to today?s story problem in ?How to Think Like A Guerrilla.? The question, kiddies, was, ?If Moqtada S. is kicking ass all over Iraq, why does he call off his militia before they can win total ?Western-style? victory??

If you?ve learned your lesson here, you should be able to answer that question now. Sadr called off his boys for lots of good reasons:

1. The first job of a guerrilla army is to stay alive. That?s much more important than winning a Western-style victory. The Mahdi Army is intact, ready for the next round.

2. The next most important job of a guerrilla army is to maintain and grow its support in the neighborhood. Sadr has his own constituency?and I mean that literally, since all the Shia groups are positioning themselves for elections this Fall. By calling off the fight, he spares his people further gore and destruction and comes off as the compassionate defender of the poor. Just in time for campaign season.

3. A guerrilla army facing occupiers with a monopoly on air power is committing suicide by going for total victory on the ground, seizing an entire city or district. Just ask the Sunni, who bunkered up in Fallujah and got slaughtered. By melting back into the civilian population, the Sadrists are now invulnerable to air attack.

4. After four straight days of failure by the Badr Brigade/Iraqi Army, the US was frustrated enough to start committing American ground troops to the assault on Sadr. That would have meant serious casualties for the Mahdi Army, as it did when they took on US forces in 2004. Not that they?re afraid to die for their neighborhood?Shias? You kidding me??but because it would be stupid to die fighting the Americans when everyone in Iraq knows the US just doesn?t figure much in the long term.

Sadr?s not afraid of us, he and his commanders just see us as a dangerous nuisance, like a chained pit bull they have to step around. Ten years from now, every player in the current game will still be playing this slow, shady game, except one: the Americans.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
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While I agree with much of what Gary Brecher has to say, I find it difficult to totally agree with the statement---Sadr won big. Iran won even bigger. Maliki, Petraeus and Cheney lost.

The point is, and I think Gary Brecher did a good job of making it, is that Iraq has devolved from nation into a pile of fiefdoms both large and small. When the inevitable historical trend is that " Iraq", will evolve back into a nation. It may not be an Iraq anyone can recognize, after all, the Iraq we have now was somewhat a nation that should never have been, just cobbled together with the left over bits of the defunct Ottoman empire.

Maybe Europe might be a comparable example after the fall of the Roman empire caused a devolution into feudalism. It took only a thousand years of bumping and grinding to get to some semblance of the modern nation states we have now.

Whats going to happen in Iraq? My only prediction is no prediction. But one thing for sure, the recent Maliki incursion has changed the dynamics of Iraq. Iraq can now lapse back into much of what it was in the last six months if all sides back down, or go off into a new and unpredictable directions if one side or the other pushes to try consolidate gains. Maybe the immediate question is, can Al Sadr make good on his promise to come up with a million man march this coming Monday? Past that, its all clear as mud to me. And lots of mud is the building blocks for a quagmire we have already built.
 

BMW540I6speed

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Aug 26, 2005
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This has demonstrated to the Kurds that they should have an independent country to survive; demonstrated to the Shi'ites that they do control the oil-rich south; demonstrated to the Sunnis that they are "shi'it" out of luck. The central government lost the engagement, clearly shown by the fact that they accepted the cease-fire.
 

Ackmed

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Oct 1, 2003
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Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
 

jpeyton

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Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
You are completely avoiding the topic of Mookie's victory against our puppet Maliki and his Iraqi Army.

"Great good" is a bit vague, especially with 100,000 Iraqi bodies six feet under.
 

Uhtrinity

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Dec 21, 2003
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Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
And yet you can't spell Abrams correctly in your sig ..

Abrams
 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
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Originally posted by: Uhtrinity
Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
And yet you can't spell Abrams correctly in your sig ..

Abrams
Actually I think Abraham is a pet-name they use for that model tank.

How cute.
 

CaptnKirk

Lifer
Jul 25, 2002
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Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: Uhtrinity
Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
And yet you can't spell Abrams correctly in your sig ..

Abrams
Actually I think Abraham is a pet-name they use for that model tank.

How cute.

It could even be one of his 4 buddies in the picture with him, but . . . don't ask, don't tell . . . .
 

Uhtrinity

Platinum Member
Dec 21, 2003
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Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: Uhtrinity
Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
And yet you can't spell Abrams correctly in your sig ..

Abrams
Actually I think Abraham is a pet-name they use for that model tank.

How cute.
Makes sense if you want a religious war, or maybe it was a Freudian slip.

You don't have to be a Bush hater / Anti war to see that this has all been a colossal cluster f%ck.
 
Sep 12, 2004
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Well I guess when you rely on bogus numbers you can make Basra out to be whatever you want it to be:

http://talismangate.blogspot.c...es-and-assertions.html

And, dang, looky here. Seems like the Basra offensive is bolstering Maliki among the Kurds and Sunnis and may be a step towards political reconciliation, something I predicted not too long ago in this forum:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200...raq_boosting_al_maliki

Looks like things aren't exactly going as much Sadr's way as his useful idiots would like people to believe.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: Uhtrinity
Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
And yet you can't spell Abrams correctly in your sig ..

Abrams
Actually I think Abraham is a pet-name they use for that model tank.

How cute.
The amazing part about the signature to me was that someone actually went to the navy/marine corps ball who was under E-6.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
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So are the Iranians. They really know how to play this kind of long, slow war. They can control exactly the level of chaos inside Iraq by feeding weapons and money in when they want to heat the place up, then withholding supplies when they want to cool it down. They?re embedded with every militia, even the Sunni groups, and they use them like control rods in a nuke reactor.
It's great to see Jpeyton & Co. finally admit that Iran plays a very direct role in the violence in Iraq -- by supplying arms, training, men, and money to the Shia and Sunni militias. I see you've moved beyond the several thousand "show us proof!" posts around here. That's great!

It has taken some of you guys so many years to admit it... I'm just so damn proud of you all! Good job guys! :thumbsup:

oh wait, that probably wasnt your intent with this thread, was it?... WOOPS!
 

TallBill

Lifer
Apr 29, 2001
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Originally posted by: palehorse74
So are the Iranians. They really know how to play this kind of long, slow war. They can control exactly the level of chaos inside Iraq by feeding weapons and money in when they want to heat the place up, then withholding supplies when they want to cool it down. They?re embedded with every militia, even the Sunni groups, and they use them like control rods in a nuke reactor.
It's great to see Jpeyton & Co. finally admit that Iran plays a very direct role in the violence in Iraq -- by supplying arms, training, men, and money to the Shia and Sunni militias. I see you've moved beyond the several thousand "show us proof!" posts around here. That's great!

It has taken some of you guys so many years to admit it... I'm just so damn proud of you all! Good job guys! :thumbsup:
lol, which is funny because it's been blatantly obvious for quite some time.
 

blackangst1

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
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Originally posted by: TallBill
Originally posted by: palehorse74
So are the Iranians. They really know how to play this kind of long, slow war. They can control exactly the level of chaos inside Iraq by feeding weapons and money in when they want to heat the place up, then withholding supplies when they want to cool it down. They?re embedded with every militia, even the Sunni groups, and they use them like control rods in a nuke reactor.
It's great to see Jpeyton & Co. finally admit that Iran plays a very direct role in the violence in Iraq -- by supplying arms, training, men, and money to the Shia and Sunni militias. I see you've moved beyond the several thousand "show us proof!" posts around here. That's great!

It has taken some of you guys so many years to admit it... I'm just so damn proud of you all! Good job guys! :thumbsup:
lol, which is funny because it's been blatantly obvious for quite some time.
Well, to most of us.
 
Sep 12, 2004
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Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
Imagine that, a ditto-head completely avoiding the topic of Mookie's victory against our puppet Maliki and his Iraqi Army.
Yeah, Mookie pulling back his men because they were taking a severe beating and had incredible losses while Maliki's forces are still in Basra is a GLORIOUS victory.

The spinmeisters are just out of control on this one. Reminds me of the old Wide World of Sports intro where Sadr would be analogous to the "Agony of Defeat" guy. That guy took a nasty fall yet his supporters would proclaim it a victory because 'Now he gets national TV exposure every week. It's a huge win for him!'

laff
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
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Originally posted by: palehorse74
So are the Iranians. They really know how to play this kind of long, slow war. They can control exactly the level of chaos inside Iraq by feeding weapons and money in when they want to heat the place up, then withholding supplies when they want to cool it down. They?re embedded with every militia, even the Sunni groups, and they use them like control rods in a nuke reactor.
It's great to see Jpeyton & Co. finally admit that Iran plays a very direct role in the violence in Iraq -- by supplying arms, training, men, and money to the Shia and Sunni militias. I see you've moved beyond the several thousand "show us proof!" posts around here. That's great!

It has taken some of you guys so many years to admit it... I'm just so damn proud of you all! Good job guys! :thumbsup:
Yeah one would really have his head in the sand to think Iran wouldn't get involved in a bordering country occupied by it's most hostile adversary who's idea of Foreign Diplomacy is to make provocative threats. It is in their best interest to make it as difficult as possible for us and we are playing right into their hands.
 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
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Aug 23, 2003
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Originally posted by: palehorse74
It's great to see Jpeyton & Co. finally admit that Iran plays a very direct role in the violence in Iraq -- by supplying arms, training, men, and money to the Shia and Sunni militias. I see you've moved beyond the several thousand "show us proof!" posts around here. That's great!

It has taken some of you guys so many years to admit it... I'm just so damn proud of you all! Good job guys! :thumbsup:

oh wait, that probably wasnt your intent with this thread, was it?... WOOPS!
I'm only skeptical about our claims that Iran is on the verge of possessing nuclear weapons. Regarding them supplying Iraqis with weapons and money, that should be obvious to everyone at this point. We willingly removed the biggest roadblock Iranians had in influencing Iraqi politics: Saddam. It shouldn't be a surprise that they're taking full advantage of manipulating the Iraqi political climate to their advantage.

Regardless, we can't do anything about Iranian involvement except give them a stern scolding at the UN. Boo hoo.
 

Red Dawn

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Jun 4, 2001
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Originally posted by: TastesLikeChicken
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
Imagine that, a ditto-head completely avoiding the topic of Mookie's victory against our puppet Maliki and his Iraqi Army.
Yeah, Mookie pulling back his men because they were taking a severe beating and had incredible losses while Maliki's forces are still in Basra is a GLORIOUS victory.

The spinmeisters are just out of control on this one. Reminds me of the old Wide World of Sports intro where Sadr would be analogous to the "Agony of Defeat" guy. That guy took a nasty fall yet his supporters would proclaim it a victory because 'Now he gets national TV exposure every week. It's a huge win for him!'

laff
Until Sadr and the Mehdi Army is totally defeated and disbanded there is no victory for the Badr Brigade.

 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
59
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Originally posted by: Red Dawn
Originally posted by: TastesLikeChicken
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
Imagine that, a ditto-head completely avoiding the topic of Mookie's victory against our puppet Maliki and his Iraqi Army.
Yeah, Mookie pulling back his men because they were taking a severe beating and had incredible losses while Maliki's forces are still in Basra is a GLORIOUS victory.

The spinmeisters are just out of control on this one. Reminds me of the old Wide World of Sports intro where Sadr would be analogous to the "Agony of Defeat" guy. That guy took a nasty fall yet his supporters would proclaim it a victory because 'Now he gets national TV exposure every week. It's a huge win for him!'

laff
Until Sadr and the Mehdi Army is totally defeated and disbanded there is no victory for the Badr Brigade.
Nah. He just needed to have his Mahdi Army humiliated and exposed as the inept thugs that they were, which by extension humiliates him and demonstrates his own ineptnesss. Further highlighting his relationship with Iran erodes his cache as well.

The Basra incursion marginalized Sadr. It yanked his pants down around his ankles and demonstrated that all his bluster is just that and nothing more. Now he can continue to fade away while he cowers in Iran in pursuit of his ayatollah-hood.
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
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Originally posted by: TastesLikeChicken
Originally posted by: Red Dawn
Originally posted by: TastesLikeChicken
Originally posted by: jpeyton
Originally posted by: Ackmed
Imagine that, and anti-war/bush poster, posting yet another anti-war/bush thread.

The fact is, we're doing great good over there. Wouldnt you agree? Oh, thats right, you havent been.
Imagine that, a ditto-head completely avoiding the topic of Mookie's victory against our puppet Maliki and his Iraqi Army.
Yeah, Mookie pulling back his men because they were taking a severe beating and had incredible losses while Maliki's forces are still in Basra is a GLORIOUS victory.

The spinmeisters are just out of control on this one. Reminds me of the old Wide World of Sports intro where Sadr would be analogous to the "Agony of Defeat" guy. That guy took a nasty fall yet his supporters would proclaim it a victory because 'Now he gets national TV exposure every week. It's a huge win for him!'

laff
Until Sadr and the Mehdi Army is totally defeated and disbanded there is no victory for the Badr Brigade.
Nah. He just needed to have his Mahdi Army humiliated and exposed as the inept thugs that they were, which by extension humiliates him and demonstrates his own ineptnesss. Further highlighting his relationship with Iran erodes his cache as well.

The Basra incursion marginalized Sadr. It yanked his pants down around his ankles and demonstrated that all his bluster is just that and nothing more. Now he can continue to fade away while he cowers in Iran in pursuit of his ayatollah-hood.
Hmmm so Maliki adopted the Bush Administrations tactic of changing goals. First it was to disarm the Mehdi Army and when that wasn't doable it was to sign a truce and declare victory. Gotcha:roll:
 

ModerateRepZero

Golden Member
Jan 12, 2006
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Sadr marginalized? :confused:

Maliki publicly demonstrated a huge interest in the clash with Sadr. He sent troops to Basra AND he went down to supervise it in person.

What happened? Troops deserted, and most important, he failed to make a sizable dent in Sadr's influence/militia force. Furthermore, he reversed course a day after promising renewed hostilities and ordered forces to stand down.

So Maliki ended the situation having failed to do what he wanted to do, and he put his credibility/reputation on the line by taking such a personal interest/involvement....Just because Sadr ordered his forces to cease hostilities and signed a truce doesn't mean Sadr is in the weaker position.

Enlighten me on what Sadr "lost" other than casualties?
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
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I think its time for all of us to admit we don't know what will happen next. This is more like a football game early in the first quarter and without a clock. Sure, each side scores some touchdowns and field goals, but no one is keeping score anyway.

I can see some validity to the TLC position that we are finally confronting, militarily, the question of breaking the power of the insurgencies. And now in response, Maliki and government forces are trying to consolidate gains made in Basra. And Al-Sadr and other Shia militias are opting not to fight and instead blend into the civilian background.
The classic guerrilla war response. And while all the sides thump their chest and say they won, maybe all we have is each side lining up to run the next play in the football game.

The semi immediate question is who will be the coach of the Iraqi government team? Maliki was and was somewhat put into the job by various Shia factions including the faction of Al Sadr. And now many of Maliki's former supporters will no longer want him to be the football team coach. But on the plus side Maliki now picks up many Sunni and Kurdish supporters who now short term want him to remain football team coach. But thats somewhat a losing strategy in an Iraq that is 40% Sunni and Kurd and more like 55% Shia.

So semi short term, the test for WHO WON may lie with the political survival of Maliki who just bet his political life. And if Maliki falls, it going to be very hard for anyone to say
the USA is winning.

And at the same time Al Sadr has risked little. And is likely to be a long term player unless he gets assassinated. And then someone even more worse is likely to take over.

And the ultimate lose lose may be an Iraq the descends into somewhat of a more open civil war involving urban combat.

Or Maliki can finally withdraw from Basra, and in weeks it will go back under insurgent control.

Its easy to cheerlead for any side, the question is how the rest of the game will play out. And what tests we use to gage who is winning.

My impression is that someone like TLC is doing too much cheerleading and not enough waiting. To use a base ball analogy, this is not a tie game, the bottom of the ninth inning, bases loaded, and that Maliki has hit just hit a home run. We are just in the first inning and we don't even know yet if Maliki has a stuck out or might get to first base.
Or just might get that Donald Trump---you are fired.
 
Sep 12, 2004
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Originally posted by: Red Dawn
Hmmm so Maliki adopted the Bush Administrations tactic of changing goals. First it was to disarm the Mehdi Army and when that wasn't doable it was to sign a truce and declare victory. Gotcha:roll:
Is that really what Maliki actually claimed his goal was, or is that what the anti-victorians claimed that Maliki said?

Here's what Maliki really said:

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rw...AA-7DA3E4?OpenDocument

Maliki said the goal was to eradicate 'outlaws and criminal gangs who want to disable Basra'.
He also said that there would be "no retreat."

Here's what his military commander said:

'This operation is not against the Sadr movement,' maintained Brigadier Abdul-Aziz Mohammad, head of military operations at the ministry of defence.

'It is against criminal gangs and militias who are acting under the name of religion.'
The Iraqi military is still in Basra (no retreat) and nearly has complete control now (eradicate 'outlaws and criminal gangs who want to disable Basra'). Sadr pulled back because his thugs were getting beaten to a bloody pulp and he couldn't sustain the losses of his men for any significant period. Of course, Sadr used the fig leaf of 'concern for Iraqi more deaths' as his reason for pulling his men back (as if Iraqi deaths meant anything to him in the past when it doesn't suit his purpose) when it's clear it's because his militia was getting owned.

As far as I can see, Maliki has met his goals fairly well, particularly well for his first major military incursion with the Iraqi Army. The military will only get better and continue to improve with time as well. Sadr hiked up his skirt and ran away screaming.

But if people still want to claim that Sadr is the big victor here, go right ahead. I'll continue to chuckle and scoff at the notion.
 
Sep 12, 2004
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Originally posted by: Lemon law
I think its time for all of us to admit we don't know what will happen next. This is more like a football game early in the first quarter and without a clock. Sure, each side scores some touchdowns and field goals, but no one is keeping score anyway.

I can see some validity to the TLC position that we are finally confronting, militarily, the question of breaking the power of the insurgencies. And now in response, Maliki and government forces are trying to consolidate gains made in Basra. And Al-Sadr and other Shia militias are opting not to fight and instead blend into the civilian background.
The classic guerrilla war response. And while all the sides thump their chest and say they won, maybe all we have is each side lining up to run the next play in the football game.

The semi immediate question is who will be the coach of the Iraqi government team? Maliki was and was somewhat put into the job by various Shia factions including the faction of Al Sadr. And now many of Maliki's former supporters will no longer want him to be the football team coach. But on the plus side Maliki now picks up many Sunni and Kurdish supporters who now short term want him to remain football team coach. But thats somewhat a losing strategy in an Iraq that is 40% Sunni and Kurd and more like 55% Shia.

So semi short term, the test for WHO WON may lie with the political survival of Maliki who just bet his political life. And if Maliki falls, it going to be very hard for anyone to say
the USA is winning.

And at the same time Al Sadr has risked little. And is likely to be a long term player unless he gets assassinated. And then someone even more worse is likely to take over.

And the ultimate lose lose may be an Iraq the descends into somewhat of a more open civil war involving urban combat.

Or Maliki can finally withdraw from Basra, and in weeks it will go back under insurgent control.

Its easy to cheerlead for any side, the question is how the rest of the game will play out. And what tests we use to gage who is winning.

My impression is that someone like TLC is doing too much cheerleading and not enough waiting. To use a base ball analogy, this is not a tie game, the bottom of the ninth inning, bases loaded, and that Maliki has hit just hit a home run. We are just in the first inning and we don't even know yet if Maliki has a stuck out or might get to first base.
Or just might get that Donald Trump---you are fired.
I'm not cheerleading. I'm beating down the bullshit that's getting spread in here; everything from the fake numbers and bad math that have been bandied about concerning the desertions, the contention that this will be destabilizing for Iraq, as well as reminding people that Maliki is STILL in control of Basra since a few seem to either ignore that fact or forgot it completely.

I would also like to remind you that you continue to try to make that case that all Shia are somehow unified behind Sadr simply by benefit of the fact that they are Shia and so is Sadr. I believe you are making a major miscalculation is that simplistic assertion. It's not nearly that cut and dried.
 

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