Sunday, January 7, 2007

Motley on Muslim sectarian violence

Seton Motley, a local essayist, opines eloquently on the "Three Muslim Civil Wars" at NewsOfTheDay:

.. We have been told, about what are in this one sense three fairly similar situations:

“Iraq is a Muslim sectarian war; we need to get out of there.”

“Sudan is a Muslim sectarian war; for what are we waiting? Get in there.”

And, in Gaza, “What sectarian war?”.

... For the Left, to paraphrase George Orwell, all civil wars are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Let us not forget Somalia. Somalia was nearly overrun by the Islamic extremists, but it was recently saved thanks to some Ethiopian troops backing the official Government. The Islamofascists fought in the Islamic way, retreating with tail between legs out of Mogadishu once a strong force showed up and declaring a desire to set up guerilla (viz. terrorist) warfare. The Arab and Muslim way of warfare involved skirmishing back to the days of Mohammed, and little has changed.

It raises the interesting question - if we know this is their way of war, how to defeat it?

Forceful, dynamic, kinetic warfare - mobility with mass - can defeat the Arab way of war. In both the "Thunder Run" to Baghdad and the toppling of the Taliban showed the similar effect to what just happened in Somalia. The Islamofascist response is to wait for fixed targets and attempts at Government and to engage in terrorism to make the situation ungovernable. The response to that response is to add to mobility and mass the key component of intelligence and surgical strikes - the "clear and hold".

The assumption has been that since such operations won't win permanent peace, it is better to focus on training the Iraqis and letting them lead. Sure, but in the interim, sectarian war ensues. We have been able to 'clear' areas but they do stay 'held' when Iraqi forces are too weak or compromised. A better answer is that we need to both train Iraq's army to stand up and secure areas, while applying US forces to securing the neighborhoods.

The weak prescription for Iraq was proposed by the ISG - negotiate your surrender with Iraq's neighbors on your way out - does little to fix Iraq's immediate security. The strong prescription is to put togeher a strong enough force to pacify Baghdad via the mass, mobility and intelligence model; thus, the proposals for a 'surge'. It will likely have the tonic effect desired, for a time, of clearing the insurgents out and changing the balance of security.

The Democrats want none of such practical considerations of how to win the war and to tamp down sectarian violence. They see this conflict not as between Shia and Sunni but between them and Bush, and no matter how important the mission their number one goal will be to ensure Bush (ie American) failure in this project.

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