Question of the Day: Is Al Anbar a “Success” of the Surge?

Both in President Bush’s speech yesterday and in a number of comments from Democrats (e.g. Hillary), I’ve heard of declining violence in Al Anbar.  Bush, of course, is portraying this as a success of the surge.  But isn’t this really the result of capitulation to the Sunni warlords in Al Anbar?

Am I right in understanding that we changed our strategy in Al Anbar from one trying to bring the population under the control of the Shia dominated security forces and/or central government to one where we allow them complete local control and governance?

Given the almost complete Sunni make-up of Al Anbar, wasn’t the violence there almost entirely against American and Iraqi troops and their civilian supporters?

So, in other words, isn’t any success in Al Anbar actually the result of a partial withdrawal rather than any troop surge?

6 Responses to “Question of the Day: Is Al Anbar a “Success” of the Surge?”

  1. An excellent point Macswain, I think you make. Hmmmmmm.

    Yodaspeak courtesy of The Yoda Speak Generator.

  2. xranger says:

    I believe the change came about because Al Quaeda came in with their draconian method of re-education and governance, and the Iraqis said fuck that.

    Who cares how it happened? The sooner we get more areas under control, the sooner we’re outta there.

  3. At the top level you are right, who cares.

    At the bullshit political level you need to realize that there is an army of sycophants out there claiming that the reason for the success in Al Anbar is the surge. So you should care.

  4. fester says:

    Well, it really does matter how an area comes under control as that implies a lot about the strategic objectives, or lack there-of, of the United States. If the Anbar quiet down, (remember, province wide, it is still one of the most violent provinces in the country according to the Brookings Iraq Index) to levels comparable to the second and third worse provinces, is due to Sunni Arab tribal forces turning on AQI/ISI fighters while on the whole restraining from frequently shooting at US forces because the US is funding them, then there is a problem with the greater strategic objective of maintaining a unified, central government. The Sunni Arab tribal forces are having success when the Shi’ite dominated Army and National Police forces have failed. The success is occurring against AQI/ISI at the cost of further delegitimizing of the concept of an unity Iraqi nation-state.

    If the US strategic objective is to gain a ‘quiet’ “decent interval” in order to facilitate a withdrawal, than the current operational reality of arming and funding Sunni Arab tribal forces that are almost certain to oppose the writ of the Baghdad central government once the foreign tafirkiris are run out of town does not have a great deal of strategic dissonance. The objective in this case is almost entirely a domestic political operation combined with some force protection measures. The cluster fuck in six to eighteen months as the Sunni Arab tribal levies recontinue their fight against the Shi’ite dominated government security forces are an unfortunate but irrelevant feature.

  5. Just A. Citizen says:

    I’m glad to see I’m not alone in thinking that the “success” in Al Anbar shows that success in Iraq means we must leave the country.

  6. Liberal Grace says:

    I’m looking to verify that there has actually been a “surge” in Al Anbar.

    Bush is claiming so. Others are claiming that troops were actually “de-surged” from Al Anbar and sent to Baghdad.

    Any idea of what’s the truth?


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