Iraq: Insurgency in Iraq

Istvan Simon writes: I take exception to Jon Kofas' characterizing my position on Iraq as simply  "dismissing the "insurgency" as unpopular" , and that I demonize the terrorists and so on.  I do not demonize the terrorists, (though I can feel nothing but contempt to a coward like Zarqawi. Sadr is another matter. he is an opportunist, but has more legitimacy than Zarqawi, who has none.)   But I do not delude myself, and in  fact I agree with Jon Kofas that a  logical  and intelligent analysis of our enemies, is the best way to defeat them.

However, I claim, that my  analysis of the Iraqi "insurgency" is valid and based on fact, not  wishful thinking.  It is a FACT that the "insurgency" consists currently of two distinct components. The mercenaries, formerly based in Fallujah, who are paid with the billion dollars that Saddam stole from the Iraqi people, and which was removed from the Iraqi Central Bank  by Saddam just prior to the war. It is a FACT reported by the New York Times, for example, that these dollars fund the so called "insurgency". It is a FACT that has been observed, and reported, that  the attacks decrease to a trickle when the dollars dry up.  So it is a FACT that these are mercenary forces, NOT a popular uprising. Which is NOT to say that those that fought us in Fallujah do not hate us, and see us as  an invading force and enemies of Islam,. It is a FACT that these people are not popular, though they may be popular in Fallujah. Iraq is a country of  25 million people. The "insurgent" forces number at most 15,000 according to the latest and highest estimates. That is a paltry number indeed in a country as large and populous  as Iraq. So their unpopularity is evident from these numbers alone. Equally significant is the ease of recruitment of the Iraqi security forces, in spite of them having become a target of the "insurgents". These are FACTS not wishful thinking, and they are evidence of the rightness of my analysis.

The forces of Sadr are another matter entirely. These forces are not mercenaries, but they have  pretty much deposed their arms now, because Sadr ordered them to do so. And he did so, probably because he realized, or was told by higher authority among the Shiites, that the ballot box is a better way for him to influence political events in Iraq.  Mr. Kofas is right that Mesopotamia has survived many invasions, and that in many cases the invaders were eventually driven out, but that is irrelevant to the current war. Indeed the United States never had any designs in keeping large forces in Iraq, and indeed those forces will be withdrawn by the United States on our own,  once and if the security situation improves. That alone belies the assertion that these forces are fighting to expel us, since all they would have to do is the very opposite, and we would leave on our own. Sistani realizes that, and probably has told Mr. Sadr as much, which explains his change of heart of late.

Which brings us to another important point of my analysis. That our enemies are not fighting the United States, they are fighting the Iraqis -- and their motivation is not to expel  the United States forces, but to escape the verdict of democracy, which undoubtedly would rule against them. Or does Mr. Kofas think for a moment that the
ex-baathists that are behind the "insurgency"  would actually be elected to anything at all in Iraq?

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on: Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: December 5, 2004