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View Full Version : RAND's commentary "Put Iraqi Insurgents Out of Business"



kaur
02-03-2007, 07:17 PM
http://www.rand.org/commentary/012907CSM.html

Bill Moore
02-03-2007, 08:36 PM
Since bullets aren't working we need to go after the funding according to the author.

The author of this article apparently believes that a dysfunctional government can somehow control large scale smuggling and other assorted funding schemes (criminal, foreign donors, etc.) that support the various insurgencies in Iraq. The world of smuggling networks and associated money laundering schemes are complex and varied and flexible, and still far beyond the ability of Western governments to control, yet we think a struggling Iraqi government can accomplish this?

By all means make every effort to interfer with the funding lines as much as possible, but do not make the mistake of anticipated success with this approach. Globalism has made this approach a futile effort. At best we can disrupt and cause the enemy to adapt.

This is a war about ideas, or actually several conflicts over political and social ideas of what Iraq (or parts of Iraq) should look like, and each is supported by numerous complex networks that at best can be disrupted temporarily. Let's face it, we're not going to control or dictate the ideas that will be accepted there, so we're not going to win the ideology war either. At best we can use bullets to establish acceptable levels of violence in designated areas so a political process that can bring the fighting to a halt can unfold. That too remains a remote possibility, but it is still a possibility if we can keep our Neo-conservatives out of the process and allow the Iraqis to work on the solutions.

marct
02-03-2007, 08:57 PM
Let me add a few comments on to Bill's. Drawing from their 5-point recommendations;



First, create a government-wide employment registry so that the Ministry of Finance pays all government salaries and only to people on the registry. This would centralize hiring and firing, so that only the central government, rather than faction leaders, could give out or take away government jobs. Senior hires should be approved by the unanimous consent of a board composed of all ethnic, religious, and political factions.
Second, give these ministry boards the power to investigate and turn over for prosecution employees suspected of involvement in sectarian violence or insurgent activity. This would make it much harder for militia fighters and insurgents to remain on the government payroll.
Third, accelerate the introduction of electronic bank transfers by the Ministry of Finance to pay government workers. This would reduce the diversion of payroll funds into the wrong pockets.
Fourth, stop gasoline and diesel-fuel smuggling by gradually phasing out subsidies that keep prices so low. Earnings from rising fuel prices should fund programs that help the poorest Iraqi citizens, so that they see themselves benefiting from the higher prices.
Fifth, in addition to more US funds for the Iraqi police, more foreign advisers need to be embedded within their ranks to mentor and monitor their activities. The Iraqi government must commit to disbanding and prosecuting rogue units.Let's take a look at these points.

1. Get real! A "government-wide employment registry" will be a computer database and if anyone is still naive enough to believe that a database is secure, talk to me - I have some prime waterfront acreage for you.

2. Will it? This assumes that the current members of the governm,ent are not already associated with or susceptible to pressure from insurgent groups.

3. I just love this touching faith in the inviolability of computer networks! Talk to the US Admiral who invented computerized banking and see if she will use it!

4. Was this point penned by the current VP? Let me translate this into plain English - raise the prices of basic necessities with he profit going into the pockets of Iraqi and American elites and corporations, and the poor will feel good?!?!? Only a brain dead moron would believe that people struggling to cook and heat their homes will appreciate their hard earned money going into the pockets of elites, and only another brain dead moron would think that this would make sense!

5. The first part makes sense, but the last part assumes that the Iraqi government is "neutral" and not infiltrated by the insurgents / militias.

Whoever came up with this brain fart, and that's really the only way to describe it, should be sent ff to Mosul to work with Rob for a while!

As a final note, the EU is estimating the 5 billion per year are being skimmed out of tax fraud schemes, much of which is being used to support Islamist activities including the insurgencies in Iraq.

Marc

jcustis
02-03-2007, 10:19 PM
I shuddered slightly when I read the brief bio of Mr. Crane, and the fact that he was a member of the CPA in 2003. Hmmm, ever get out of the Green Zone Mr. Crane?

-First, create a government-wide employment registry so that the Ministry of Finance pays all government salaries — and only to people on the registry. This would centralize hiring and firing, so that only the central government, rather than faction leaders, could give out or take away government jobs. Senior hires should be approved by the unanimous consent of a board composed of all ethnic, religious, and political factions. Well duh, did anyone stop to think about the fact that faction leaders are the central government?! That's great that you propose a registry, but we still have the issue of vetting. Who is going to do that?

-Second, give these ministry boards the power to investigate and turn over for prosecution employees suspected of involvement in sectarian violence or insurgent activity. This would make it much harder for militia fighters and insurgents to remain on the government payroll. Are you high? Do you really think this is that easy? Oh yeah, without stepping outside of the Green Zone, you wouldn't realize that people end up face down in canals for this sort of stuff.

-Third, accelerate the introduction of electronic bank transfers by the Ministry of Finance to pay government workers. This would reduce the diversion of payroll funds into the wrong pockets. No comment...Words cannot convey how flabbergasted I am that Rand even printed this bullet.

-Fourth, stop gasoline and diesel-fuel smuggling by gradually phasing out subsidies that keep prices so low. Earnings from rising fuel prices should fund programs that help the poorest Iraqi citizens, so that they see themselves benefiting from the higher prices. C'mon Mr. Crane, where have you been the past three years? Social programs don't come from the government. They come from the tribe and sheiks, if at all.

-Fifth, in addition to more US funds for the Iraqi police, more foreign advisers need to be embedded within their ranks to mentor and monitor their activities. The Iraqi government must commit to disbanding and prosecuting rogue units. All I can say here is that Mr. Crane needs to stay in his lane on this point, and stick to crunching numbers :mad:

...Rubbish.

Is it only me, or do others of you feel that the CPA carries a stink to the name? A stink that folks should keep out of bylines?

SWJED
02-03-2007, 10:41 PM
Jon,

"Can't Provide Anything" does carry some baggage. That said, we had many ORHA / CPA members (some very senior) speak, and take questions, at our OIF seminars (Emerald Express).

Many were as frustrated as you and were quite candid about the problems the ORHA / CPA experienced. Lack of a coherent Phase IV plan, personalities at the very top (read Bremer) and other variables out of the control of the CPA worker bees (the ones who cared and had the experience / knowledge required) were the crux of the problem (s).

Moreover, there were many worker bees that were not the right (no pun intended) people for the job. Junior RNC gofers come to mind here. The CPA was set-up for failure from day one.

Dave

jcustis
02-03-2007, 10:56 PM
PM sent on a glimmer of hope I saw today in the Post. Potential for diverse member material

sullygoarmy
02-05-2007, 06:06 PM
Electronic banking? We have to let 1/3 of every Iraqi battalion on leave weekly so they can hand carry their cash back to their families across Iraq. Don't see electronic banking happening anytime soon.

tequila
02-05-2007, 06:53 PM
You have to have electricity to have electronic banking. Not a problem in the Green Zone, apparently. *sigh*

Jimbo
02-05-2007, 08:24 PM
Sully hit part of the problem. Electricity ain't the problem that you might think it is. The central power grid may not be great by a variety of definitions and reasons, but the locals have many different work arounds out there.

AFlynn
02-06-2007, 01:38 AM
Maybe you could pay them in cell phone minutes. :)

Tom Odom
02-06-2007, 02:25 PM
This amounts to trying to drain the swamp while the gators are latched on to your a$$. It is a one perspective one dimensional equivalent of "can't we all just get along?" or "if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his butt" thinking. The greatest parallel is "all folks want democracy."

Tom