Saturday, December 22, 2007

Latest Iraqi Resistance Stats

The December 2007 report to Congress is here [pdf]. I keep wondering when we'll see the same for Afghanistan, because the information is - however biased by selection and interpretation - a useful antidote to the corporate media. The emphasis is, unsurprisingly, on the (temporary) success of the vicious counterinsurgency strategy over the last year. I daresay the strategy will have produced even bloodier results than in previous years, particularly given the dramatic escalation in the air war over the last year that I discuss below. There has, according to these figures, been a dramatic reduction in all kinds of attack, whether sectarian or resistance, against civilians or troops.

This is the culmination of a number of factors, and these should be a cause for some pain and some triumph. The first is clearly the successful strategy of coopting tribal elements in the 'Sunni triangle', which would once have been the main source of resistance attacks - they are attacking 'Al Qaeda' more and the troops less. The second is the successful strategy of bombing the place to smithereens - it is a weakness of the antiwar movement that we couldn't see this coming and stop it, and we bear some responsibility for it. The defiling of Iraqi cities has undoubtedly destroyed the base and core of several resistance outfits. The geographical mastery of the US, emphasised in news reports during the early months of the occupation, has borne fruit. They have regained a certain intelligence footing and a measure of the enemy that has enabled them to hit hard against the resistance. There should be no euphemism about this: while it isn't a story of long-term defeat, it is a set-back for the resistance. However. The third factor, and very important, is the culmination of success on the part of the southern resistance: it is widely acknowledged that the withdrawal of the British troops dramatically reduced violence in the areas it controlled. Recent surveys from the south of Iraq show that its residents deeply regret the occupation, despite it having been one of the less violent areas of the occupation, and one of the areas least likely to have benefited in any sense by the rule of the Ba'ath party. The occupation could be, and proved to be, much worse than Saddam (how about that, by the way?). The final factor is the success of the strategy of disintegrating Iraq along ethnic lines. People feel far more secure in their own neighbourhood than in anywhere else in the country - what would once have been their own country, from top to bottom. Balkanisation is a disgusting strategy, but isn't always an unsuccessful one. I'm afraid that the reduction in 'ethno-sectarian' violence is actually a result of succesful ethnic cleansig (although, who knows, perhaps the occupiers' death squads have been asked to tone it down a bit). At any rate, here are the relevant tables (click to enlarge as always):

Some reports refer to the resistance holding back and bunkering down during America's recent infliction of airborne death on Iraqi cities, and so one would expect an upturn shortly. But never forget that, as with Vietnam, they can always win if we don't tie one hand behind their backs. They can always inflict genocide, destroy the country, turn Iraqi communities to pink mist and brick dust, disperse chemicals that burn their flesh and lungs and sizzle their bones, send death squads in to drill holes in bodies, shred working class housing blocks with bullets and shrapnel - oh wait... well, let's say they can do much, much more of that.