Thursday, November 24, 2005

The way out in Iraq

How to win the war in Iraq

The war in Iraq is going badly for the USA. After having defeated the Iraqi Army quite easily the Americans have a hard time establishing peace and order in Iraq. A small number (about 20.000 to 30.000) of insurgents keep inflicting losses on American and coalition troops, on the new American sponsored and trained Iraqi Army and on the Iraqi population. What to do?

First we have to check what the goal is of the USA in Iraq. The cause of the war is clear, it is the attack by political Sunni Islam on the USA on 9/11. The Bush administration connected the attack on the twin towers first with the rulers in Afghanistan and then with the rulers of Iraq. Also the Bush administration alleged that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which could be used to attack the USA again.

It is now clear to everyone that there were no WMD in Iraq. There have been elections both in Afghanistan and in Iraq so by democratic logic the problem should be over and the American Forces should be able to withdraw from the Middle East.

But nobody sees it quite so. Not the Americans who dare not to withdraw although they want to, not the new governments and not the Islamists who continue to attack and inflict losses on the American and pro American forces and terror on the population.

The American government has to find a way to convince everyone that they have won and resistance is futile. To do that at home in America is not so difficult, the Bush administration controls most of Mainstream Media there. But they have to convince the Islamists they have won.

I figured out a simple, step by step strategy that might just do it.

If it has not been done yet, get serious about setting up a intelligence organisation in Iraq, concentrating on spying on the Sunni population. 20.000 spies should be enough, for 20-30,000 insurgents. Secondly get serious about training an Iraqi Army that can hold the population centres against Sunni Islamists. About 120.000 men should be enough to hold all cities and towns in Iraq. You can recruit them from the Shia and Kurd ethnic groups. With a 120.000 men one has got enough troops to hold out against the 20.000 – 30.000 Sunni Islamists. Selecting Shias and Kurds will ensure the loyalty of the troops in fighting Sunni Islamists. This will have been done already.

Select about 20.000 men from the 120.000 to become officers, sergeants and corporals, to lead the other 100.000. The soldiers can be taught to march, salute and shoot. That will not take more than 8 weeks and will have been done anyway, by now. Divide them in 13.500 squad sized groups of 7 or 8 men. Equip them lightly, with AK-47s, RPGs and Light Machine Guns (LMG).

Train the 20.000 to be Corporals, Sergeants and second Lieutenants. Select the men for leadership, high morals, perseverance and intelligence. This takes more time. After say four months let the Lieutenants and the NCOs take over the training of the squad men. Let the first 1.000 Iraqi squads go on patrol with American and British troops so they can learn on the job.

If things go well after two months pull out all Western troops out of all cities and towns apart from Baghdad, into deserts bases near the towns, cities AND the highways to the South where the ports are.

The Sunni Islamists are strong in the cities where they can attack the Americans from up close. The American Tanks, Armoured Vehicles, Helicopters, Communication Equipment and Artillery do not give the Americans any advantage in the cities. But in the desert with the free fire zones all around the conventional strength of the American is actually a great asset. Secondly it also means that the Americans are always menacingly nearby and can suddenly pounce on the Sunni insurgents, while the Islamists cannot hurt the Americans. Thirdly it means that the Americans are not hurting the civilian population. Right now a lot of civilians are hurt by American firepower when the Americans are responding to guerrilla pin pricks with their overwhelming but blind firepower. This translates in lots of recruits for the Islamists and has to be stopped. Finally with the Americans out in the deserts they are well poised to keep the Iranian Army from getting any funny ideas about meddling in Iraq.

Create an Iraqi Army Engineering Corps of about 20.000 men. Have them construct new roads, bridges and bypasses in those areas where the roads from the Southern ports are running through or nearby Sunni neighbourhoods and where there is a constant threat of ambush and mines against logistics convoys to the pro American forces in the rest of the country. Supplement the strength of the Iraqi Engineering Corps by letting local construction contractors in on lucrative contracts, to create jobs and a powerful pro American lobby.

Now recruit a second batch of 120.000 Kurds and Shia’s. Hey, throw in some Sunni’s too just to show YOU ARE NOT PREJUDICED.

With the Americans out in the desert and the Iraqi Army in squads in the cities and towns the Islamist cells will start attacking the Iraqi Army squads. In order to get an edge over the Army Squads they will band together in groups of 20-30 men and appoint sergeants and lieutenants to command these groups. To house them, feed them and equip them they will appoint kitchens, safe houses and armouries in neighbourhoods and streets friendly to them. This will be mostly in Sunni neighbourhoods. There will be a maximum of 1,200 of these groups. Make sure you have your spies in there by now, especially in the garages, markets, mosques and coffee houses.

If the Iraqi Army is not strong enough to police the Sunni Neighbourhoods, allow them to pull back into their own ethnic neighbourhoods, which they may defend.
Also make sure to set up funds administered by Kurdish tribal leaders and Shia clergy to pay out considerable amounts of money to the families of killed Iraqi Army personnel. Have community leaders collect money from their ethnic/religious base and add a dollar for every dollar contributed to the funds. Pay out sums of at least 10.000 -20.000 US dollars to the families of martyrs. Also have ethnic leaders and clergy establish funds for hospitals and such. Make available excellent medical and other care for Army wounded. Send American doctors to Iraq and attract the best Iraqi Medical staff to these show piece medical facilities.

Now you take the Iraqi army second Lieutenants that show exceptional ability and promote them to Lieutenant. Form 3 squads into platoons of about 20 men. If losses are heavy pull back out of the Sunni neighbourhoods and concentrate mostly on the Kurdish and Shia ethnic areas. If losses are light keep harassing all known groups of Islamist Insurgents.

Having to oppose the Iraqi Army organised in squads and based on the Shia and Kurd areas and the US Army out there in the desert and on the border the Islamists have to select the most attractive target. Targeting the US Army in the desert will only bring occasional successes and regular losses. So the Islamist forces will concentrate on the Sunni areas and attack the Shia and Kurdish units especially the ones who venture onto Sunni turf. In order to take on the new platoons the Islamists will have to band together in bigger organisations for neighbourhood defence and for attacks on Army strongholds. So they will organise in company sized units and appoint captains to officer them. Also they will be looking for Iraqi and other Sunni Muslims with officer training to command such groups. The company sized Islamist forces will more and more look like regular army organisations. They will need training grounds, arms and munitions depots and hospitals, garages for vehicles, workshops for weapons, communication equipment and tools. There will be a maximum of about 170 of these groups. It will be easy to list them and to follow them. Unfortunately smaller groups will branch off them, which complicates things.

Basically what is happening is that you are dictating the shape that the enemy will take in order for him to be victorious. Because the enemy is not under strong central command there will be no way for him to oppose the shape that his forces are taking. By now there will also be conflicts of interests between company sized Islamist groups which can be used to gain information on the Islamist forces.

Select a company (150-200) sized unit in a particular Sunni neighbourhood in a particular town that is also partly Kurdish or Sunni, with a Iraqi army unit plus a intelligence gathering cell. Invite reporters from American and Iraqi television broadcasters. Make sure everything is known about the Islamist forces. All the names of the warriors. The location of the their houses and infrastructure. The names of their brothers and cousins, their wives and girlfriends. Know their habits. Where they eat and sleep and an exact weapons count. Surround the town using Americans in vehicles and establish roadblocks. Control all roads, paths and fields. Then attack them using both Iraqi Army units with American Special Forces Officers and units of US Army personnel. Do not use vehicles or helicopters but attack through the streets or alleys, the sewers or the roofs, just use any angle to quickly take care of the whole group. Avoiding to use vehicles will enable surprise.

Televise the victory on Iraqi and American national TV. Then do nothing for a while. Keep sending squad and platoon sized Iraqi Army units against the Islamists. Never mind if they are defeated again and again by the Islamists. Presenting a string of small successes to the Sunni Islamists is essential to the success of the strategy.

Now again take the promising Iraqi Army Lieutenants and send them to further officer training. Train about a 150 of these promising Lieutenants to become Captains and form 5 platoons into companies of about a 120 troops. Some of these companies can not be housed in Shia or Kurdish neighbourhoods but will be housed in former Iraqi Army barracks or US Army bases. Also other staff will have to be trained such as logistics, technical and maintenance specialists. For non-combat roles soldiers can be taken that were wounded and are not fit to return to combat duty.

Have the newly formed companies attack or threaten to attack Sunni Islamist’ strongholds. Equip them with some heavy arms, such as combat engineering equipment (Tank dozers, Armoured heavy howitzers, heavy engineers transporters, D-9 Armoured bulldozers). Some of the strongholds will band together and form battalion sized units (600 – 800 men). They will build up arms and munitions stockpiles and all kinds of military infrastructure and bases. Supposing that about 15 of these units will come into existence, comprising about 10,000 personnel it is now time to move in the US Army and have them crush these battalion sized units using heavy fire power and equipment. TV crews must be ready to show large amounts of weapons and men taken, killed or destroyed. This will be the time to declare a full victory and quickly pull out most of the American troops. It will be wise to retain a considerable training unit to train the Iraqi Army up to division levels and also to keep an US Army brigade (3.000) in the desert near Baghdad. The war will continue for a long time between the Iraqi Army and the Sunni Islamists. The main thing however is having declared a victory and gotten the bulk of the troops out without losing face.

The Western media will lose most of its interest. The regime in Iraq will be reasonably secure because it is based on the biggest ethnic and religious blocks in the country and they will have access to the world market for arms. Obviously the Sunni ethnic group will whither and eventually many of them will emigrate to Sunni Muslim countries such as Syria and Saudi Arabia. The latter is contrary to American interests but there will be little that can be done to prevent it. Also the political, cultural and military influence of Iran will increase and although something can be done by keeping strong ties to the Shia leadership and supporting the Iraqi media, this is basically something that American policy have to take in their stride and is food for thought in case of planning of further military adventures in the future.

Important goals for the USA, such as a reasonable stable and peaceful society in Iraq, run by people who are friendly towards the USA and also a little dependent on them (because of American arms and training) will be met by this policy. Also it is a way to get the USA out without losing too much face. It will be problematic that the Kurds and the Shias will form power blocks and perhaps even clash with each other. This may cause involvement of Turkey (Kurds) and Iran (Shias).

2 comments:

nouille said...

Some of us in "America" are capable of reading outside news sources. Unfortunately the man responsible for a lot of this extreme right media is an Australian by the name of Rupert Murdoch.

He owns a HUGE media empire, spanning Australia , U.K. and U.S.

Snouck said...

Nouille,

'ave you read this?

http://www.amconmag.com/2005/2005_11_21/article.html

Snouck