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Thursday, May 27, 2004

That "escalating" insurgency

Do insurgencies ever do anything other than escalate? Apparently not. Here is Haroon Siddiqui in The Star:

America's Number 1 problem in Iraq is lack of credibility. This is a bigger problem than the escalating insurgency against the occupation. The first feeds the second.
But of course you can pretty much look at any story in almost any major media outlet and be pretty sure that the insurgency in Iraq is escalating. So how bad is it?
Here are the wounded in action casualties for the last serveral months:
Dec 261
Jan 186
Feb 144
Mar 301
Apr 1099
May 190
There was certainly a spike in casualties in April that coincided with fighting in both Fallujah and Al Sadr's thugs. But now that fighting has stopped in Fallujah, most southern cities and Al Sadr is trying to talk his way out of Najaf why are people talking about an escalating insurgency? How about a sputtering insurgency, a failing insurgency, or a fizzling one?

And how about that Palestinian intifada? Israel's been in the news a lot lately, one would think someone could work in an assessment about whether their tactics are working. There were plenty of stories about how Israel's attacks on terrorist leaders would inflame the Palestinians (as if they weren't capable of inflaming themselves). You might be surprised to know that for all the international hysteria and condemnationIsrael's approach is working:

The army says there were 25 such attacks in 2002, which killed 147 people. Last year there were 20, killing 141. So far this year there have been only two, in which 19 died.

The Israelis are starting to believe that their tactics are working. Palestinian groups fighting them tend to agree.

Terrorists can be fought and defeated. It is not hopeless, no matter how hard the media try to convince us otherwise.

Posted by Kevin Jaeger on May 27, 2004 in Military | Permalink


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Something of the sort is already happening on the ground in Iraq. There are some 8,000 towns and villages in the country. How many do you hear about on the news? For a week, it's all Fallujah all the time. Then it's Najaf, and nada for anywhere else. Currently, 90 percent of Iraqi coverage is about one lousy building: Abu Ghraib. So what's going on in the other 7,997 dots on the map? In the Shia province of Dhi Qar, a couple hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, 16 of the biggest 20 cities plus many smaller towns will have elected councils by June. These were the first free elections in Dhi Qar's history and ''in almost every case, secular independents and representatives of nonreligious parties did better than the Islamists.'' That assessment is from the anti-war anti-Bush anti-Blair Euro-lefties at the Guardian, by the way.

Mark Steyn making much the same point at the Chicago Sun Times. http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn23.html
Not that you would expect the quagmirists to acknowledge it.

Posted by: Jay Currie | 2004-05-27 5:01:25 PM

One of the beneficial side effects of the US occupation of Iraq is that it has taken the oxygen of publicity away from the Palestinians. Not only that but it seems that it also has somehow seriously reduced the PA's cash flow, without which the intifada is lost.

Posted by: Harry | 2004-05-27 11:05:59 PM

I think the war is officially lost when you judge success by the methods Israel uses to continue and expand the occupation of the Palestinian territories. Not sure the 8 Palestinians, including kids, killed last week at a demonstration in Gaza were "terrorists".

Let's differentiate legitemate resistance to the occupation from terrorism.

Posted by: Chris | 2004-05-27 11:33:32 PM

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