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Old 11-04-2006   #1
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Default Life expectancy of an insurgent in Iraq

I'm curious if anyone has any idea what the average life expectancy of a typical insurgent in Iraq would be. I'm not referring to the part timers. The ones the that just want to get into the fight if one erupts in their neighborhood. These poor bastards just die senseless tragic deaths or end up getting permanently maimed for life because they want to fire into the air and brag about it later. I'm just wondering about the hardcore fundamentalist that has been trained, sent up to the FEBA (if you want to call it that), and starts to engage the enemy.
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Old 11-06-2006   #2
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Well, I waited until at least 75 people opened the post. Our intel must be short on this data. So, with that adage, we can't really state that they are easily replacing their losses? That seems to be a constant argument in favor of the insurgents fighting coalition forces. I know there is some documentation out there if someone would point them out to me I will surely read them. Thanks ahead of time.
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Old 11-07-2006   #3
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If we look at Zarqawi's lifespan from the time he first became known, and divide that by a factor of 4, it's probably as good an estimate as any other.

Besides the ones that tried to stand and fight in Fallujah, we'd probably be surprised at the longevity of these guys. Their "engagements" are very relative, as they most certainly don't join the fight and stay engaged for any length of time before it is time for rest and refit.
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Old 11-07-2006   #4
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That sounds like heavy losses on their parts. I'm thinking of the beginning of WWII when the Japanese eventually lost so much of their best pilots that their training kept getting shorter and shorter until their pilots were about useless. Which in turn, resulted in the introduction of the Kamikaze pilots. So, as the hardcore insurgent replacements become less trained and less effective they will step up suicidal attacks and so forth to make up for the shortfall out of even more desperation. That is if we keep up the current pressure or even increase it.
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Old 11-09-2006   #5
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Well, I waited until at least 75 people opened the post. Our intel must be short on this data. So, with that adage, we can't really state that they are easily replacing their losses? That seems to be a constant argument in favor of the insurgents fighting coalition forces. I know there is some documentation out there if someone would point them out to me I will surely read them. Thanks ahead of time.
Since attacks are not on the decline then insurgents are either replacing their losses without much trouble or are getting more effect from fewer people.

Neither option is good.
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Old 11-10-2006   #6
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Or, they are not getting killed like many people think or want them to die… During the war in Bosnia big number of veterans from the first day survived after 3 1/2 - 4 years of fighting which was much worst of what we see in Iraq today.

But, that just my humble opinion.
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Old 11-10-2006   #7
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You bring up a good point with Bosnia. Are we blowing Iraq out of proportion? I read today that up to 150,000 Iraqis have been killed by the insurgents. I tend to believe that a good portion of those killed were members of various insurgencies anyway. But in Bosnia, soldiers were trained to fight and survive in their best interest. These morons in Iraq seem to not care. The objective in a firefight is to die in a spectacular fashion. That's about all. They do things that are really stupid and have caused even unexperienced American forces the ability to chuckle at their stupid suicidal tactics in the midst of frightening firefights. And these are the bad guys that have so-called training.

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By QAIS AL-BASHIR, Associated Press Writer Thu Nov 9, 1:26 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Nearly simultaneous car bombs struck two markets in predominantly Shiite areas of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 16 people.
Iraq's health minister said about 150,000 have been killed by insurgents since the war started, giving the government's first overall casualty estimate.

Last edited by Culpeper; 11-10-2006 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 11-10-2006   #8
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I believe people making big mistakes thinking that jihadi movement is full of “stupid” or “suicidal” people. I truly believe that one should never make mistake of disrespecting his enemy.

But, looking from outside it seams that all of them just running in open doing nothing expect wishing for martyrdom. But, like many knows, Insurgency in Iraq is mix and complex group of people with different ideas and different strategies how to get them fulfill.

I remember watching that PBS documentary about Iraqi Insurgency and short interview with some journalist who was talking about some guy from SA came to defend Falluja and right there and then he ask journalist if he knows to tell him how to use AK!? People like that will die fast indeed and that is exactly what they looking for. But, not all of them.

Take example of Chechnya… Mujahideens there fight to live so they can fight another day against superior Russian force (at least in numbers and material). Growing number of sophisticated attacks in Iraq can show us that not all of them are “stupid” or wish to commit “suicide” and they do planning, strategy and wish to see the end.

Little note on the end, not many Bosnian was trained in fighting before war started, even that they served terms in army. But they did fight on they best to survive and for they own homes and families...

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Old 11-10-2006   #9
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Originally Posted by Culpeper View Post
You bring up a good point with Bosnia. Are we blowing Iraq out of proportion? I read today that up to 150,000 Iraqis have been killed by the insurgents. I tend to believe that a good portion of those killed were members of various insurgencies anyway. But in Bosnia, soldiers were trained to fight and survive in their best interest. These morons in Iraq seem to not care. The objective in a firefight is to die in a spectacular fashion. That's about all. They do things that are really stupid and have caused even unexperienced American forces the ability to chuckle at their stupid suicidal tactics in the midst of frightening firefights. And these are the bad guys that have so-called training.
I'd say that there are two types of insurgents developing. One are ones you are talking about, wishing to die in spectacular way for martyrdom. Other are what you expect from "professional" insurgents. Cool, calculating, willing to learn, willing to pass the knowledge and not risking his life unnecessary.
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Old 11-10-2006   #10
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They lack a single command and control or even leadership. The insurgency is as messed up or even more messed up than the counterinsurgency. The, "cool, calculating, willing to learn...", insurgents are the ones I'm most interested in as far as casualty rate is concerned. For the time being, I'm beginning to think their greatest threat is sectarian and not Coalition forces. It is as if the insurgents are fighting on several fronts. It is actually much worse than the Battle for Baghdad back in Apr-03. They put up a good fight but they were never under a single command and control and were never able to cross communicate between different commands. The ones that stood and fought were the Republican Guards, Saddam Fedayeen, Syrian mercenaries, and an odd and very large group of what appeared to be young Arabic college students. They got slaughtered. This group later became the core of insurgency. Their strategy hasn't changed much. Different groups all acting independently with their own goals. And what about their leadership? Could it be like the Confederacy of the American Civil War? They didn't have the luxury of losing commanders with competent replacements. We may not be making the same mistake of "body count" policy but we may be going to the extreme of not reporting anything as far as the enemy is concerned. This may actually be aiding the enemy with propaganda for recruitment. But even recruitment isn't on a national level as far as Iraq is concerned. It's the Jihad platform and nothing more. Not very effective and causes them to eat their own young. I'm also referring to the Kurds and Shiites that have a bone to pick with the Sunni minority, who are fighting for their lives. With Muslim factions branding each other as infidels.
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Old 11-10-2006   #11
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They lack a single command and control or even leadership.
Which has both it advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious disadvantage is that they can't coordinate forces to launch coordinated actions on large scale. The advantage is that counterinsurgency can't decapitate them by killing couple of people and thus remove entire leadership nor can it infiltrate them all to same level. If you destroy one group there are many more that are still up and running.

Afghan muyahedeen had similar "structure".
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Old 11-10-2006   #12
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Which has both it advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious disadvantage is that they can't coordinate forces to launch coordinated actions on large scale. The advantage is that counterinsurgency can't decapitate them by killing couple of people and thus remove entire leadership nor can it infiltrate them all to same level. If you destroy one group there are many more that are still up and running.

Afghan muyahedeen had similar "structure".
Oh, I agree with you. But this is a classic opportunity for counterinsurgency to take advantage of. Right now both sides are not very well coordinated to deal with the other. Nobody is winning and as such all the insurgency has to do is not lose.

But here is an example of the insurgency taking advantage of the progaganda war. We don't put out any statistics and this is what they throw back at us as a result...

New al-Qaida tape says 12,000 activated

Quote:

By NADIA ABOU EL-MAGD, Associated Press Writer 42 minutes ago

CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida in
Iraq claimed in a new audio tape Friday to be winning the war faster than expected in Iraq, saying it had mobilized 12,000 fighters.
ADVERTISEMENT

The group also said it welcomed the Republican electoral defeat that led to the departure of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and it added that its fighters would not rest until they had blown up the White House.

Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, also urged the U.S. to stay in Iraq so his group would have more opportunities to kill American troops.

"The al-Qaida army has 12,000 fighters in Iraq, and they have vowed to die for God's sake," a man introduced as al-Muhajir said in an audio tape made available on militant Web sites.

"We will not rest from our Jihad until we are under the olive trees of Rumieh and we have blown up the filthiest house — which is called the White House," al-Muhajir said.

Al-Muhajir became the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in June.
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Old 11-25-2006   #13
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They lack a single command and control or even leadership. The insurgency is as messed up or even more messed up than the counterinsurgency. The, "cool, calculating, willing to learn...", insurgents are the ones I'm most interested in as far as casualty rate is concerned. For the time being, I'm beginning to think their greatest threat is sectarian and not Coalition forces. It is as if the insurgents are fighting on several fronts. It is actually much worse than the Battle for Baghdad back in Apr-03. They put up a good fight but they were never under a single command and control and were never able to cross communicate between different commands. The ones that stood and fought were the Republican Guards, Saddam Fedayeen, Syrian mercenaries, and an odd and very large group of what appeared to be young Arabic college students. They got slaughtered. This group later became the core of insurgency. Their strategy hasn't changed much. Different groups all acting independently with their own goals. And what about their leadership? Could it be like the Confederacy of the American Civil War? They didn't have the luxury of losing commanders with competent replacements. We may not be making the same mistake of "body count" policy but we may be going to the extreme of not reporting anything as far as the enemy is concerned. This may actually be aiding the enemy with propaganda for recruitment. But even recruitment isn't on a national level as far as Iraq is concerned. It's the Jihad platform and nothing more. Not very effective and causes them to eat their own young. I'm also referring to the Kurds and Shiites that have a bone to pick with the Sunni minority, who are fighting for their lives. With Muslim factions branding each other as infidels.
Allow me to disagree... Attacks with RPGs, AKs and pick-ups on M1 Abrams columns I see like a desperate move by crazy dictator trying to delay enemy advance and buy more time for himself rather then real defense strategy (ea Hitler's use of kids in defending the Berlin)... What's happened after is more important.

To elaborate my way of thinking, I will remind you of deep and long relations with Ex-Yugoslavian Army (either thru technology or strategic co-operation) and concept of Yugoslavian (next) partisan/guerilla war... Let enemy deep in the country (either Russian forces thru Bulgaria and Hungary or Romania; or NATO troops from Italy and/or Austria or Greece), go low in start, reorganize, and use guerilla war and hidden stash of weapons, fuel, factories, hidden network of fox holes, trenches and bunkers in the middle of the country...

Remember, just before US-led invasion Iraqi generals went to Serbia (then Serbian generals to Iraq) to share knowledge about air defense and how did Serbia manage to shoot down stealth bomber... Also, please have in mind, that Saddam was never a Muslim! He supported Serbia against Bosnian Muslims and Russia against Chechnya Muslims. So, to imply that he is leader or factor in Sunni Muslim uprising, and therefore to use same control and command, or tactical plans, just don't hold water. What US-led invasion faced in start its different animal today. And, they are learning quickly.

Comparing with last year, everybody can see big change in tactics and whole concept of Resistance. "Martyrdom seekers" are less and less out there and more and more real guerilla force with strategic use of suicide (less) and car-bomb or IEDs (more) attacks instead of attacks just for the sake of "martyr" attacks.

Insisting that they lack of "single command and control or even leadership" is proving that they are not that strong or dangerous, it's simple not true. Please look at examples from Chechnya, Bosnia, and Afghanistan (against Russia)... For YEARS fighters there lack single command and control and leadership and yet manage to wage good fights and war. And to win mind you... In those Chechen commanders interviews (so precious from tactical stand point!) Chechen commanders said by themselves that they disorganization help them to win!

US Military its big machine and it's trained and indoctrinated to fight established hierarchy/structure of other armies. You are mentioning Republican Guards, Saddam Fedayeen, other volunteers... But that was then and they failed. MSC or IAI today are different and better organized and motivated. And their strategy did change. They have huge pool of people to recruit from and they are taking from them how much they need in given time. Amassing huger numbers will lead them being easy identified and destroyed faster. Instead, they have lesser but constant force to attack and they go back and refresh they troops when and how much it's needed. This is better for them.

Don't let factors like "they don't recruit in huge numbers" or "they have opposite ideas and strategy" blind you to lessons from Afghanistan, Somalia, Chechnya or Bosnia... All that "factors' was there to but yet they manage to push all that on side for higher cause and they let those differences to lay low until they get rid of joint enemy. What happened after, it different story.


PS. I am sorry for delaying so much to answer you and I do apologize on length of this post.
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Old 11-25-2006   #14
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To elaborate my way of thinking, I will remind you of deep and long relations with Ex-Yugoslavian Army (either thru technology or strategic co-operation) and concept of Yugoslavian (next) partisan/guerilla war... Let enemy deep in the country (either Russian forces thru Bulgaria and Hungary or Romania; or NATO troops from Italy and/or Austria or Greece), go low in start, reorganize, and use guerilla war and hidden stash of weapons, fuel, factories, hidden network of fox holes, trenches and bunkers in the middle of the country...
True though there was division between federal (JLA) and local (TO-Teritorialna obramba, teritorial defence) forces. Federals were supposed to carry on regular fight (withdrawing to Bosnian bastion protected by rough and wooded terrain) while TO would wage guerilla war behind enemy lines, relying on knowledge of terrain and support of population (being locals they would have this).

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Insisting that they lack of "single command and control or even leadership" is proving that they are not that strong or dangerous, it's simple not true. Please look at examples from Chechnya, Bosnia, and Afghanistan (against Russia)... For YEARS fighters there lack single command and control and leadership and yet manage to wage good fights and war. And to win mind you... In those Chechen commanders interviews (so precious from tactical stand point!) Chechen commanders said by themselves that they disorganization help them to win!
Disagree on most points. Chechnya (depending on which war you are talking about) was a para state with all functions of such state. Government, military... so they had central leadership (though rogues did exist). Ditto for Bosnia. It had functions of a state and military (though military was weak). I agree with you an Afghanistan and said so before.

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PS. I am sorry for delaying so much to answer you and I do apologize on length of this post.
Well, sharing a view is always good.
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Old 11-25-2006   #15
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True though there was division between federal (JLA) and local (TO-Teritorialna obramba, teritorial defence) forces. Federals were supposed to carry on regular fight (withdrawing to Bosnian bastion protected by rough and wooded terrain) while TO would wage guerilla war behind enemy lines, relying on knowledge of terrain and support of population (being locals they would have this).

Disagree on most points. Chechnya (depending on which war you are talking about) was a para state with all functions of such state. Government, military... so they had central leadership (though rogues did exist). Ditto for Bosnia. It had functions of a state and military (though military was weak). I agree with you an Afghanistan and said so before.

Well, sharing a view is always good.
Sorry, in my mind was those interviews of the First war and commanders words that “being decentralize and disorganize” help them win since Russians could not point out they command and control structure and destroy them.

Now about Bosnia… They did have “state” and “leadership” (political) even in start but they did NOT have a control… The way war started, the way all those different groups was organize, lead and fight, was chaotic and left on people/leaders of those groups alone! Only in late 1995. Government was able to put all different units and renegade commanders under one High Bosnian Army Command. If Serbs manage to take out anyone from presidency or Army Command, that would not mean much since majority of Bosnians like only one from them (late President of Bosnia, Alia Izetbegovic) and on Commander of regular Army they look on him like a failure who surrender his all unit (while being General in JNA) and then he slip to Bosnian side.

My “proof” is that all MAJOR victories was made in start of war (when there was no Presidential control over big numbers of separated and independent groups in Sarajevo region) or it was in other parts of Bosnia cutoff from main territory and therefore from influence or decisions from President or Army (Bosnians didn’t have real army units until 1993.)… Successes by the end were made under one Army but thanks to separate influence and charisma of couple of commanders and units.


PS. I see great insight about concept of JNA and TO, and strategic position of Bosnia and resources in such a war... Impressive.
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Old 11-25-2006   #16
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Sorry, in my mind was those interviews of the First war and commanders words that “being decentralize and disorganize” help them win since Russians could not point out they command and control structure and destroy them.
I wouldn't go that far. The thing is that Chechnya had centralised leadership. Dudayev was in charge and recognised as such. Later it did fragment a bit but not to a degree of Afghansitan. I believe this process continued after 1996 when central government was loosing control over rogues and various foreigners.

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Now about Bosnia… They did have “state” and “leadership” (political) even in start but they did NOT have a control… The way war started, the way all those different groups was organize, lead and fight, was chaotic and left on people/leaders of those groups alone! Only in late 1995. Government was able to put all different units and renegade commanders under one High Bosnian Army Command. If Serbs manage to take out anyone from presidency or Army Command, that would not mean much since majority of Bosnians like only one from them (late President of Bosnia, Alia Izetbegovic) and on Commander of regular Army they look on him like a failure who surrender his all unit (while being General in JNA) and then he slip to Bosnian side.
Agree to a degree. I think disorganisation you refer to was result of arming and weapons imbalance between Serbs and Bosniacs. Bosniac presidency was able to exercise control over it's units (with later exception of Bihac and Fikret Abdic). No such control existed in afghanistan and no such control exists in Iraq. Bosnia had somebody who could speak for all Bosniacs and who would be obeyed.

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My “proof” is that all MAJOR victories was made in start of war (when there was no Presidential control over big numbers of separated and independent groups in Sarajevo region) or it was in other parts of Bosnia cutoff from main territory and therefore from influence or decisions from President or Army (Bosnians didn’t have real army units until 1993.)… Successes by the end were made under one Army but thanks to separate influence and charisma of couple of commanders and units.
If you are talking about Serb victories I'd put the sucess on weapons advantage (specially arty and AFVs) Serbs had. And most later Bosniac victories were achieved either with cooperation with Croatia or after NATO airstrikes..

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PS. I see great insight about concept of JNA and TO, and strategic position of Bosnia and resources in such a war... Impressive.
Well, we were one country until 15 years ago (I'm from Slovenia) and I study military matters so this interests me.
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Old 11-25-2006   #17
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Agree to a degree. I think disorganisation you refer to was result of arming and weapons imbalance between Serbs and Bosniacs. Bosniac presidency was able to exercise control over it's units (with later exception of Bihac and Fikret Abdic). No such control existed in afghanistan and no such control exists in Iraq. Bosnia had somebody who could speak for all Bosniacs and who would be obeyed.
Yes and no. There were many groups out of they effective control. In Sarajevo for example, they was numerous "police action" during the war to bring those groups together and only in late 1995. they was put under one command. Similar in other parts of Bosnia. They all recognized authority of Mr. Izetbegovic but distrusted people around him (politician or military). Only Izetbegovic could ask someone to do so and they will obey... There was no other such strong command or authority in those years.

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If you are talking about Serb victories I'd put the sucess on weapons advantage (specially arty and AFVs) Serbs had. And most later Bosniac victories were achieved either with cooperation with Croatia or after NATO airstrikes..
I was thinking about Bosnian victories (in resisting the Serbian advances and conquering towns of Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica and Bihac). Second, some major battles for Bosnia was not achieved with Croatian or NATO help since some of those victories was against Bosnian Croatian forces, with help of Croatia, after they betrayed joint fight against Serbs and start fighting for Croatian state interests. Major forces that succeed in that were foreign and domestic mujahideen units, and couple Bosnian brigades...

Also, talking about major victories on the end, Croatia helped (and only on the Bosnia-Croatia border where Croats need Bosnians) only where Bosnians lack of, which was heavy artillery and tanks... But they were very careful not to help too much. Major battle and victory in Bosnia (Vozuca battle), was fight and win by Bosnian forces and Mujahideen units.

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Well, we were one country until 15 years ago (I'm from Slovenia) and I study military matters so this interests me.
Good to know that, Slovenac. I am Bosnian from Sarajevo (who spend all war there, if you wish to know), and one who was involved in military/police for long time.
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