Jul 14 2008
While others have been hesitant to call Iraq a victory up until recently, I felt the die was cast months ago (actually over a year ago). When the Sunni Muslims took the extraordinary step to wage war on al-Qaeda, and ally with the Iraq and US government efforts and forces, there seemed little chance of defeat. No insurgency can stand up to a public uprising against it, in parallel with a government crack down – there is no path to victory in those situations.
More to the point, I said last year “as goes Diyala [Province], so goes Iraq”. I felt then Diyala would be al-Qaeda’s last bastion, since it was the location of the second Capitol City of Bin Laden’s modern Caliphate (the first one being Ramada in Anbar Province, which was lost to them in late 2006). Clearly losing two capitol cities within a year to your enemy must be a sure sign of defeat. I had no idea the path would be so long and weave through so many Provinces (then again, a good military effort hides its plans and all I had to view the effort were biased news reports). But it seems I was right in the end.
Here is one of my earliest posts on the matter from June 2007:
As goes Diyala so goes Iraq, the Surrendercrats and the SurrenderMedia. Too bad the GOP had to implode over Immigration. They could have enjoyed the success, but now they are in tatters. And Bush will be looking good if Iraq does rise up against al-Qaeda. Heâ€™ll be looking damn good. As will McCain and Leiberman, BTW.
And here is another post from August 2007:
So Anbar rose up and killed and chased al-Qaeda from its region, with our help. Diyala Province then became the last large sanctuary for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Surge was orchestrated to close the noose around al-Qaeda in Diyala. But it would only really work if, as in Anbar, the local population rose up to kill and chase al-Qaeda out of their Province. And if that happened we had the making of a domino effect that would not only sweep Iraq, but would sweep across the Middle East and the Muslim world. That is why I said, as goes Diyala so goes Iraq and the world.
It was not as crazy a prediction as many like to make it out to be. Once the Muslim Street rose up against al-Qaeda there was not turning back because of the blood feud concept in Arab culture. It was hard to see anything that would reverse that kind of Tsunami change. Here we are, a year later, and we have the last battle for security in Iraq in none other than Diyala Province:
Iraqi security forces are poised to launch a major crackdown in Diyala Province, the Interior Ministry said Sunday, the latest in a series of operations aimed at stabilizing the country.
U.S. and Iraqi officials say a campaign against Al Qaeda in the northern city of Mosul and surrounding Nineveh Province has helped reduce violence there. Other operations have targeted Shiite militias in the southern provinces of Basra and Maysan.
“Soon, the security forces will be in Diyala to play the role they played in Basra and Maysan and Mosul, and Diyala could be the last stage,” Major General Abdul-Kareem Khalaf, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said at a news conference.
Overall attacks across Iraq were down 85 percent in June from a year ago, the Iraqi military said last week.
Iraqi security forces were taking the lead in more than 75 percent of security operations, the national security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, told CNN.
As noted the Iraq government also vanquished the Shiite Mahdi Militia during this period. Well, it is nice to be vindicated after a year of being labelled Pollyannish and overly optimistic. The Surrendercrats and SurrenderMedia are paying a horrific price as their credibility has been destroyed. And now Michael Yon, someone of impeachable stature on the Iraq situation and who at one time claimed Iraq was all but lost, is declaring Iraq a victory:
A new and better nation is growing legs. What’s left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet, the will of the Iraqi people has changed, and the Iraqi military has dramatically improved, so those spectacular attacks are diminishing along with the regular violence. Now it’s time to rebuild the country, and create a pluralistic, stable and peaceful Iraq. That will be long, hard work. But by my estimation, the Iraq War is over. We won. Which means the Iraqi people won.
Yon is very pessimistic on Afghanistan, which is where he and I started with Iraq in late 2006 to early 2007 timeframe. I am not worried. When local populations rise up and the government cracks down, the insurgents have no hope of winning. My guess is that will be the story of al-Qaeda’s demise in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as it was in Iraq (and elsewhere like Lebanon, Libya, etc).
Update: It seems even the Labour Party in the UK is not foolish enough to cut and run from Iraq. If Obama is so enamored by the Europeans, maybe he should take note that the UK is not setting any timetables to remove their troops from Iraq, instead they are staying until the job is done right.