View Full Version : Can the Anbar Strategy Work in Pakistan?

12-21-2007, 11:22 AM
Can the Anbar Strategy Work in Pakistan? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/12/can-the-anbar-strategy-work-in/) by Clint Watts at SWJ Blog.

... Recent U.S. success in defeating al-Qa段da in Iraq has prompted policy makers and military planners to export this strategy to other theaters, specifically the tribal areas of Pakistan. However, the U.S. should ask itself three questions before continuing: Will the tribes of Pakistan痴 frontier provinces turn on al-Qa段da? Probably not. Unlike Somalia and Iraq, al-Qa段da has operated in the tribal regions of Pakistan for more than two decades and today it is part of the region痴 fabric, not an outsider. Will the ideology of al-Qa段da clash with Pakistani tribes? In the past it may have, but today there is a greater overlap between the Deobandi strain of Islam that the Taliban follows and the Salafism of al-Qa段da. Third, will financial and military inducements to Pakistani tribes translate into pressure on al-Qa'ida's logistics? Unlikely. The tribes in Waziristan have already withstood six years of pressure from Musharraf and al-Qa段da has more than twenty years worth of supply networks in the region.

The U.S. is correct to seize upon any opportunity to dislodge al-Qa段da from Pakistan痴 tribal regions, especially if it involves the use of surrogates. However, it should not use a blanket strategy of alliances with al-Qa段da痴 hosts if the social, cultural and geographic conditions make its chances of success unlikely. If it does, U.S. forces might be the ones entangled, stretched logistically, and in conflict with the local ideology. As al-Qa段da in Somalia and Iraq has learned, this is a bad place to be.

Gian P Gentile
12-21-2007, 12:39 PM
This is and excellent piece because it looks at Pakistan with an objective view that allows for creative approaches to be developed. It rightly warns against taking the Anbar method, turning it into a template for action in Pakistan, and then applying that template dogmatically just because it worked, relatively speaking, in Anbar. Unfortunately we seem to be consumed with the idea of taking things that might be working in Iraq, modeling them, and then turning them into plans of action in other areas. The apparent move to do a sort of Surge 2 in Afghanistan is a good example of this troubling tendency.

Again to Mr. Watts a quality piece and hopefully it will spurn good discussion on this thread.


Cannoneer No. 4
12-21-2007, 01:58 PM
Wretchard blogged this at The Belmont Club (http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2007/12/winning-ways.html)

. . . it's easy to see why the one-size-fits-all strategy is so seductive. Diagnosing the roots of an insurgency take time: it requires a vast investment in learning the language and the culture of the area and probably means making a lot of embarrassing mistakes early on -- mistakes which will be ruthlessly punished by press ridicule, committee investigations and combat loss. Accolades will go to those who, standing on the shoulders of their predecessors, apply the winning solution; but ignominy and ridicule are the most likely wages of the guys who show how not to do it, which is pretty important information in and of itself.

Cannoneer No. 4
12-21-2007, 02:19 PM
Syed Saleem Shahzad in Asia Times Online (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IL19Df03.html)

. . . the real instigator behind the establishment of Islamic emirates in the border areas is al-Qaeda, and it will not sit idly by as the Pakistani Taliban strike deals with the establishment.

< snip >
Al-Qaeda relocated to the Waziristans after the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and immediately focused on the ideological grooming of local youths, besides introducing training programs. In the past few years, scattered Pakistani jihadis have been reorganized in al-Qaeda's camps in the Waziristans. This has led to the emergence of the neo-Taliban, a far different group from the traditional Taliban who took over Afghanistan in 1996. The neo-Taliban are strongly behind al-Qaeda and will not allow its isolation.