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05 September 2007

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W. Patrick Lang

chew2

"Kilcullen and all the other good men but wishful thinkers, like Colonel McMasters, have no frigging idea how these local tribal deals can ever lead to building some more stable national society, polity, or reconciliation."

Lawrence's thing led nowhere? Where was it supposed to lead? Where do you want this effort (the war) in Iraq to lead?

Is this library research that you are basing your views on or are you neck deep in a sand dune in Anbar? (I know, damned few sand dunes in Anbar.)pl

chew2

Pat,

I'm neck deep in a sand dune in Venice, CA. -)

Of course my views are based on my historical and other readings.

If I may elaborate. McMasters was reported to optimistically claim that these local ceasefires "might" lead to a "broader working agreement (on a national level)". Kilcullen is implying the same. I'm questioning whether that isn't purely wishful thinking. I really don't think they have a friggin idea how that could occur.

The Brits at one time played tribal politics, perhaps with a modicum of success. But that was another time, and they were purposeful colonizers. We don't have the endurance or mindset to colonize Iraq. Plus that time has probably passed. We can pay those sheiks off, but they won't stay bought anymore. Nor can they keep their bought status a secret anymore.

Certainly the record of tribal rule in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan are not encouraging signposts for future stability and accommodation.

One can recognize the complexity and importance of tribal identity and politics. But I don't think we should think we are smart enough to figure out how to shape it. Or can know whether it can even ultimately be a force for stability and peace on a national level in Iraq. Kilcullun admits that in his conclusion when he warns us that it's up to the Tribes to shape their future. In that he sounds like Lawrence at the end of WWI.

chew2

Pat,

"Where do you want this effort (the war) in Iraq to lead?"

Sorry, I wanted to address this question also.


Realistically, I want to extract our forces from Iraq without leaving a bloody civil/regional war. I don't think much else is really possible. Unfortunately that means we will be stuck there for quite a while.

But I don't wish/or hope that we can use Iraq as our surrogate in the region (e.g. as a counterweight to Iran).

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Arun

FYI - I don't mean to repeat Iraqi resistance group propaganda, but it is of interest, I think; among other things it is anticipating a US withdrawal.

http://www.albasrah.net/en_articles_2007/0907/iraqiresistancereport_070907.htm

Eight Iraqi Resistance groups announce formation of unified front.

In a dispatch posted at 11:39am Makkah time Friday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that eight Iraqi Resistance organizations had come together to form a new umbrella group called the Front for Jihad and Change, according to an announcement on the Internet signed by representatives of the groups.

Mafkarat al-Islam reported the announcement as saying that “Front work is a demand of Islamic law and a necessity in the coming stage which requires a strategic program that assures that efforts be properly made use of.”

The declaration announcing the formation of the new front was signed by the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution, the Army of the Rashideen, the Army of the Muslimeen, the Islamic Movement of Mujahideen of Iraq, the Saraya of the army of ar-Rahman, the Saraya ad-Da‘wah wa-ar-Ribat, the at-Tamkeen Brigades, and the Brigades of Muhammad al-Fatih.

On Wednesday, the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) issued an appeal to the Resistance groups to unite, to adopt a program for their work, and to prepare for the stage after the end of the US occupation. The AMSI warned that the occupation might ”leave by the door, but then climb back in through the window” through its use of local stooges and accordingly urged the Resistance to adopt a unified program of action to forestall such an eventuality.

The announcement of the formation of the Front for Jihad and Change appeared to coincide with the perspective expressed in the AMSI message.

Clifford Kiracofe

For historical context:

Martin Thomas, "Bedouin Tribes and the Imperial Intelligences Services in Syria, Iraq, and Transjordan in the 1920s," Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 38, No. 4. (Oct., 2003), pp. 539-561.

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