Iraqi Update

From Holden:

Though hardly democratic. the spectacle of Iraq’s new national assembly choosing its leaders according to a recognized religious quota makes for good press.

But, really, what is actually happening in America’s 52nd state?

Well, in the north American officials are using the dreaded C-word.

Speaking to the [Knight Ridder News] agency Colonel Anthony Wickham said that in the post election period Kurds had seized all senior positions in this region and that Arabs and Turkomens were arming and could stage an uprising.

“The worst scenario is a civil war,” Wickham said, adding that this would damage the stability of all Iraq.

And the insurgency? With ten American soldiers dead in the first seven days of April, the insurgents keep chugging along and shows no signs of ending hostilities any time in the near future.

Attacks on U.S. forces have dropped 22 percent since the Jan. 30 election, to about 40 a day, about the rate they were a year ago. In March, 36 U.S. troops were killed, the lowest figure in a year, according to icasualties.org, which tracks casualties announced by the government.

But this week, four soldiers and a Marine were killed – and Saturday’s well-organized attack on Abu Ghraib prison, in which 40 U.S. troops and 12 prisoners were injured, suggests that fighters may be shifting to fewer but better executed operations, including ones that directly engage U.S. forces.

[snip]

[T]he insurgency’s trends indicate that even at an average pace, the tough guerrilla warfare seen today is likely to continue for many years. “Don’t expect solutions now. We’re two years into this,” [Col. Thomas X. Hammes, an insurgency expert at the National Defense University in Washington] says. “We’re at the top of the third inning and this is a nine-inning game.” Iraqi targets

[snip]

Overall, analysts point to what seems like a classic insurgency, one that is expected to increase in sophistication by learning from past mistakes and less capable fighters are killed off.

American forces have been responding like a typical conventional force, slowly recognizing the insurgency and gradually bringing in leaders and drawing up plans that can deal with it effectively.

All that usually takes about 10 years to end the fighting, according to Hammes.