View Full Version : Switching sides?

04-06-2007, 05:04 PM
Recently, however, many Anbar tribes have switched allegiance, with large numbers of military-age men joining the police force and Iraqi army in a bid to expel al-Qaida in Iraq fighters. Suicide bombings are an al-Qaida trademark.


04-06-2007, 11:51 PM
SWJ Blog and WSJ - Iraq's Real 'Civil War' (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/04/iraqs-real-civil-war/) by Bing West and Owen West.

Last fall, President Bush, citing the violence in Baghdad, said that the U.S. strategy in Iraq was "slowly failing." At that time, though, more Americans were dying in Anbar Province, stronghold of the Sunni insurgency. About the size of Utah, Anbar has the savagery, lawlessness and violence of America's Wild West in the 1870s. The two most lethal cities in Iraq are Fallujah and Ramadi, and the 25-mile swath of farmlands between them is Indian Country.

Imagine the surprise of the veteran Iraqi battalion last November when a young sheik, leader of a local tribe outside Ramadi, offered to point out the insurgents hiding in his hometown. "We have decided that by helping you," he said, "we are helping God."

For years, the tribes had supported the insurgents who claimed to be waging jihad. Now, citing the same religion, a tribe wanted to switch sides. Col. Mohammed, the battalion commander, accepted the offer. "The irhabi (terrorists) call themselves martyrs. They are liars," he said. "I lost a soldier and when I pulled off his armor, there was the blood of a martyr."...

04-07-2007, 03:32 AM
Off topic a bit but related - what stands out most in mind about the whole Afghan dust-up, and I think there is some similiarity here to Iraq, is this: shortly after the initial invasion and the talis were being ousted, somebody somewhere interivewed some Afghan man who said he would fight with the Americans if he got some meat to eat every day. It's odd what can linger in a man's mind but I think some of the tribal leaders turning against AQ and outside forces follow somewhat along the same lines, that there is a chance for some peace and stability, something better, the way the current situation is trying to move and with what the Americans are trying to do. This Afghan man had his honor intact IMHO yet it could be directed with material circumstances. I think much of the same can be said about Iraqis.

04-07-2007, 03:38 AM
I think it's dangerous to say everyone always acts rationally; however, Maslow's Hierarchy is eventually proven correct in most cases. As this relates to COIN, maybe those that don't initially think rationally eventually do so when the needs at the bottom of the hierarchy are in doubt. I think this is where the insurgents attempt to exhaust us can come back to haunt them. There's only so long that a man is willing to go without the most basic of needs before he'll side with whoever can provide them. Fortunately and unfortunately, this is where we're at in many places in Iraq today. I say fortunately because we have a window of opportunity in places we're we didn't beforehand to meet these basic needs. Unfortunately though because I'm not sure how big this window of opportunity is.