July 05, 2006

Turning On Al Qaeda

Via Captain's Quarters, one of the oddest requests so far of the Long War shows that the President is winning the War on Terror:

Iraq's government is studying a request from some local insurgent leaders to supply them with weapons so they can turn on the heavily armed foreign fighters who were once their allies, according to two Iraqi lawmakers.

Leaders claiming to represent about 11 insurgent groups asked for weapons to fight foreign al-Qaeda elements in Iraq, said Haider al-Ibadi, a Shiite lawmaker and member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party.

"They want to take part in the war against terrorists," said al-Ibadi, who supports the proposal. "They claim they could wipe out the terrorists and work with the government."

Many of us understood months or years ago that as the Iraqi Army matured, it would eventually force the various insurgent groups to the bargaining table. The Iraqi Army is better trained and better equipped than insurgent groups, in what is essentially a war of attrition that insurgent groups cannot realistically hope to win.

At the same time, "red on red" violence has been growing in Iraq for soem time, as native insurgents have increasingly turned upon foreign-led terrorist cells that often target Iraqi civilians.

The Iraqi government should, of course, refuse to arm the insurgents. Arms that target al Qaeda on day could easily be turned back on Iraqi forces the next. Better armed militias are not in the nation's best interests, no matter who they claim to support.

But the request tells us two things:

  1. The native insurgents feel they lack appropriate arms and ammunition. Desert conditions take a toll on even rugged Russian-designed arms, and tend to degrade ammunition. Coalition missions to dry up "rat lines" bring fresh weaponry from neighboring countries may be working.
  2. Foreign fighters and those loyal to them have worn out their welcome among native Iraqis. Even the mostly Sunni insurgency seems intent on driving out al Qaeda. The fact that this new willingness to publicly engage al Qaeda occurred after Musab al-Zarqawi's death is perhaps not accidental.

If talks between the Iraqi government and the various Sunni insurgent groups can reach an agreement and maintain that agreement, the Army can then turn its attention to the sectarian violence in Iraq, and assist in cleaning out and disarming the various militias.

Iraq may not be free of sectarian violence for some time to come, but the fact that the insurgency seems to be losing its desire to fight a losing war is a step in the right direction that even the most diehard liberal will find hard to ignore.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 5, 2006 09:39 AM | TrackBack

An excellent opportunity, it seems, to try out the Freely Elected Iraqi Government's amnesty proposal. The insurgent groups can help fight the foreign terrorists by showing the Iraqi Army where they are. In exchange, the insurgent groups get to join the political process and are not hunted down like rats themselves.

Posted by: Tim at July 5, 2006 11:20 AM

The only similarity between the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq, (besides that an AK is an AK), is that the same people here who wanted the US to fail then, want the US to fail now! There is no Ho Chi Minh trail leading into Iraq with triple-canopy forest cover, and I.E.D.'s can only be used once!

Posted by: Tom TB at July 5, 2006 11:29 AM