Barriers to entry in Iraq
Posted by aogSunday, 07 December 2003 at 14:55 TrackBack Ping URL

From the Belmont Club via Winds of Change we have an interesting analysis of the struggle between the North Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap and the French forces in Indochina. It’s worth reading on its own, but I want to cite one key paragraph, one I competely agree with:

Long before attempting Groupment Mobile 100, or even knowing he was going to attack something like it, Giap prepared the ground. He first won the “Battle of the Borders” in which he forced the French to withdraw their outposts on the Vietnam-Red China frontier. This was actually the decisive battle of the Indochinese war. With this, Giap opened a secure supply line to China, which served as an arsenal and sanctuary in which he could raise his divisions and regiments at leisure. From this point on, really, the French had lost the war.

This is a key point to consider. While some may say that other players in the Middle East can’t afford to support an insurgency in Iraq it really doesn’t take that much money. The total spent on the VietCong insurgency was probably not that large yet it caused quite a bit of trouble for the USA. Moreover, the Saudi Entity or other oil regimes might well reimburse Syria for the effort.

What is key here is gaining control of the borders. It’s not required to completely control the borders, but control must be strong enough to create a high tariff barrier to the import of troops and weapons. I’m glad to see rumours of hunter-killer teams on the border. For these teams, the most important task would be to kill the couriers, who are much harder to replace than the jihadi fodder. It’s also one thing to ferry others across the border to their death, quite another to have it be a serious risk to one’s self.

Whatever’s happening, it’s likely to be slow because both sides are playing an attritional game. Who will run out of money and will first, the USA or the Caliphascists?