Saturday, June 25, 2005

Another Blow for the Insurgency

Generally the terrorists in Iraq have been able to go after civilians since they're soft targets (but it's apparent even amongst their leadership that those are nothing more than a red herring, they don't do anything for the terror cause). But they also occasionally take the risk of pulling off a set-piece battle with stand-up military units, often against Iraqi forces they feel that they can handle. They usually try to mass a large force against isolated Iraqi police units, or training camps.

Not so this time.

The terrorists made the mistake of thinking that they'd be able to go after the Iraqi police ad infinitum, I'm guessing. They also figured that they needed to change tactics, once again, since the civilian bombings have been getting them nowhere. But when you have 10 terrorists killed, 40 captured, and an untold number wounded out of a force of 100 fighters, things aren't looking so good for the insurgency in Iraq. There are a few developments that are important to this:

#1 The Iraqi police held their own, on their own. They required no assistance from the Iraqi military (although they were probably on standby) and were able to completely break the assault force. That's a stunning accomplishment in it's own right, for ANY police force in the world.

#2 The Iraqi police had hundreds of tipoffs from Iraqi civilians that there was an assault coming. That enabled them to prepare for it, and to invite them to their own personal Verdun. The terrorists have already lost the war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. Badly.

#3 The Iraqi civilians actually joined in the fighting, helping the police take out the assault force. This is not only a testament to the fact that the Iraqi police and coalition have won the hearts and minds of Iraqis, but it also tells that the leadership of the terrorist insurgency is broken. They can't effectively mass assaults on anything of worth, allowed their operation to become known to the locals, and didn't realize that they were walking into a trap.

This effectively is a turning point in the war- the more Iraqi police that can stand up to the terrorists, the less effective the terrorist will be in maintaining a large scale presence in Iraq. The Coalition forces have been playing a game of escalation with the terrorists- to see how fast each side can bring their manpower to bear in Iraq- and the Coalition's about to win this. There's the Coalition forces, then the Iraqi military forces (the core of which is at least 1 or 2 regiments strong now), and now the Iraqi police forces. What happens, if by year's end, there are some 500,000 (or more) combined Coalition/Iraqi forces in Iraq? The terrorists don't have more than 30,000 "soldiers", in all, dispersed throughout Iraq with which to combat that. Their time as an effective force is just about up, unless they make drastic manpower changes.

And for a historical anecdote: manpower changes didnt save the Reichswehr in 1918; they didn't save the Wehrmacht in December 1944; and they didn't militarily save the Viet Minh in 1968. Those were military forces on the verge of being rendered broken. I think that's where the terror insurgency is, now. Time will tell how they spend their last gasps- will it be a Kaiserschlact, Ardennes offensive (Wacht am Reihn), or the Tet Offensive? Or will they just pack their bags up, and leave?


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