You can't turn the table if the other guy's got a better grip
Posted by aogFriday, 08 April 2005 at 19:55 TrackBack Ping URL

The Fourth Rail has a good post on what the recent shift in Caliphascist tactics in Iraq means. It’s obvious to us, of course, that chosing to engage the USA military in set peice battles is just short of suicide by soldier. So why would the Caliphascists take this tack? Here’s a key quote from an alleged member of Al Qaeda:

“We are going to use the same method that they used when they attacked Iraq,” said Abu Jalal, who uses a nom de guerre and described himself as a former general in the Iraqi military during Saddam Hussein’s rule.

“The old military officers know very well that the attacks on the bases of the enemy army weaken the morale of the soldiers and frighten them. The soldier feels safe when he goes back to his base. If he is attacked in the place that feels safe, that place is really hell,” Abu Jalal said.

Two things leap out at me from this. The first is the idea that the Caliphascists should adopt the techniques used by the Coalition during the invasion. That is, in effect, an admission that the Coalition / Iraqi Interum Government basically own the country. I doubt that was the intended message.

In this vein, the comment about attacking troops in their bases so that they don’t feel safe, thereby sapping their morale looks remarkably like the Coalition tactics against the Caliphascists. Do they know just how horrible that can be precisely because they’ve been experiencing it?

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Dave Sheridan Sunday, 10 April 2005 at 02:28

I think there’s something else at work here, too. The Caliphacists are taking a horrible ‘hearts and minds’ hit because of their disproportionate number of Iraqi civilian casualties. That’s apparently caused a log of people especially in the Sunni areas to turn informant, too. They’re cooked, because they can’t kill military (ours or IDF) without heavy losses, and the civilians have had enough.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 10 April 2005 at 10:35

It represents some kind of social / political shift that civilian atrocities aren’t effective. Certainly the North Vietnamese didn’t lose because theirs. I suspect that it has only been the staying power of the Coalition that’s made the difference and that, in turn, is due in no small part to Old Media losing its grip on the USA domestic information flow. The Caliphascists have obviously read the NV media playbook and Old Media has done all they can to cooperate.

P.S. The loss of local support also means that they can’t replace their losses either. That’s key because such losses wouldn’t be as significant if they could. Note that the PRC, early on, suffered horrendous losses as well against the Koumintang (e.g., the Long March) but survived because their support meant they could replace those losses.

Dave Sheridan Wednesday, 13 April 2005 at 06:28

In a few years it will be interesting to see how Old Media’s role in Iraq is sorted out. Some of us have a pretty good idea that the hindsight view isn’t going to be pretty. I think you’re right about the playbooks. In the early phase of the war, Western media distortions gave the Caliphascists hope and helped recruitment. In this phase the distortions are getting them killed faster.

End of Discussion