CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Whither the Insurgency? A Ramadan Offensive?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Whither the Insurgency? A Ramadan Offensive?

What actions is the insurgency taking to combat the loss of its key base in Fallujah? This is perhaps an unfair question, as it implies some semblance of centralized command and control within the insurgency. From the actions over the past week, it seems that this article's assessment that the insurgents, " . . . have switched to hit-and-run tactics, abandoning their previous strategy of seizing and holding terrain that could be turned into safe havens." This seems to bode well for the Iraqis and the US. If terrain is no longer controlled by the insurgents, then those who live in that terrain are now free to participate in elections and go on with their daily lives. If hit-and-run tactics are the best that the insurgency can mount, it will eventually run out of personnel, funding, and weapons caches, all of which must come from somewhere. The article goes on to state: "The insurgents aim at dispersing American firepower in what looks like a dress rehearsal for fomenting enough chaos to disrupt the elections scheduled for January 2005." It seems unlikely that the insurgency will be able to significantly disrupt the elections. No doubt it will try, but there are many ways to combat this push: First, for every attack that is prosecuted, one of two things happens. Either the attacker kills himself or is killed in the attack, or the attackers hold some limited objectives for a brief period and then are killed by coalition forces -- like in Mosul. This is an attrition battle that the US and Iraqi government will win. Insurgents must realize at this point that their continued attacks will not break the will of the United States to finish them off -- somehow conducting catastrophic attacks in Iraq prior to the US election was the action needed to shake the national resolve of the Americans. The analogy to the Tet offensive in Viet Nam has been made, and will continue to be made, but it is incorrect. Tet was effective because it happened months before the election. Another possibility is that the insurgency wants to influence the outcome of the Iraqi election, rather than its existence. This would indicate that the insurgents are gravitating more and more toward seeking a political solution. It will be interesting to see if any evidence of this strategy begins to develop. Front page mention to any reader who can find an article detailing who the candidates will be in the upcoming election.

4 Comments:

Blogger someone said...

This is the most recent news I've found about the election lists -- the process seems to be ongoing, so more hats will likely be thrown.

November 16, 2004 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger chthus said...

I don't have an article currently, but here's some information. As the reader aboved linked, Fayrouz tells us 24 of more than 50 parties that have applied have been approved so far, with more likely to follow. January's elections are not for a president/leader (executive branch), but to fill the 275 member National Assembly (legislative branch). Each eligible party will offer up a ranked list of candidates (1, 2, 3...). For each 1/275th of the vote the party receives, their top candidate become a member. For example, a party that gets 5/275ths of the vote (1.8%) would get it's top five listed members on the assembly.

This assembly is then charged with drafting a constitution at a spring convention, shooting to have one drafted by August 15th or so. This will then held to a referendum of popular vote by October 15th or so. If it passes, elections as provided under the constitution are to be held by Dec 15th, 2005, with the elcted govt taking over by Dec 31st, 2005. If the referendum should fail, National Assembly is dissolved and Dec 15th, 2005 will be for electing a new National Assembly, with the whole thing starting over again.

I'm not 100% on all the dates, but that's the gist of it. Articles mentioning candidates are going to be hard because they will be so numerous that few will initially stand out. The benefit of this way is it makes it extremely difficult to stage a big power grab, especially with so many parties.

Here's a site for a yet to be approved party, the Iraq Pro-Democracy Party. http://english.iraqdemparty.org/
It's dates are a bit overly optimistic but it's got good info. Found the link over at IraqtheModel where brothers Ali and Mohammed appear to have started the party, signed on as the #1 and #2 candidates and are also touring the country talking to Iraqis about the election.

November 17, 2004 at 1:49 AM  
Blogger chthus said...

Newsday has come up with a timely article on the elections, with some names, parties, and ploys. It also has Sistani's bid for Shiite dominance, Sadr's complaints about his limited role, and Allawi's potential spoiler role. Bottom line, they just don't have the same number crunchers and numbers to crunch that the US has, so all of their predictions and ploys are likely to be at least as way off as they are here.

http://www.nynewsday.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/
sns-ap-iraq-preparing-for-elections,0,4896047.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

November 17, 2004 at 2:16 AM  
Blogger PureData said...

Like the Sioux without the Buffalo and chased by the US Army that would campaign in the winter, the terrorists in Iraq cannot long survive without a base of operations.

November 17, 2004 at 11:42 AM  

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