11 Point Plan for Victory in Iraq

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 5 months ago

Pat Dollard gives us an interesting rundown of what he calls the 11-point plan for victory in Iraq submitted to the White House, Pentagon and State Department (which he claims has been confirmed by sources both inside and outside the military).  I highly recommend that you spend some time reading the full eleven points, but I want to call out three specific points and comment on them.

1. U.S. troops are to be gradually pulled back from all Iraqi cities and towns and sent to seal the borders with Iran and Syria. The real insurgency is not indigenous to Iraq, but being pumped in through Iran and Syria.

2. Ramadi and Baghdad will be two of a handful of initial principle exceptions, as major U.S supported military engagements are in process in Baghadad (sic) and gearing up in Ramadi.

6. A massive assault is shortly due to be launched on Ramadi, the capital of Al Qaeda, and the remnants of the Sunni Insurgency, in Iraq. Ramadi has degenerated to a sort of post-modern trench warfare, Marines and Soldiers locked away in a variety of new urban outposts, while all the schools have finally been closed and it is nigh on impossible for the average citizen to conduct his daily life. The deadlock must be broken, and Al Qaeda must finally be ejected.

Beginning first with point number six, in my article Watching Anbar, I said:

I have been watching the al Anbar Province for most of the Iraq war, and I beg to differ with the U.S. generals.  I believe that however Anbar goes, so goes the war.  The key to Iraq is the Anbar Province.  While Anbar remains unpacified, insurgent groups (al Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunna, etc.) can continue to split the tribal loyalties in the region with some tribes siding with the insurgents and others siding with the government in Baghdad.  This is done not only by propaganda, but by intimidation of the tribal leaders and violence perpetrated on their people.

This is a clever way to effect force multiplication.  The insurgents not only have their own military and personnel assets with which to conduct guerrilla operations, they coax and cajole others to join them in the fight.  This way, tribes fight tribes in internecine war throughout the Anbar Province, ensuring that the insurgents are free to continue their guerrilla operations against coalition forces.  This tactic was successfully used by the Viet Cong in the war in Vietnam.

Being freed to continue guerrilla operations, in addition to attacks against coalition forces, the insurgents can conduct death raids against Shi’ite elements, ensuring a response by Shia militia, which ensures a counter-response by more insurgents (including some tribal elements), and so the cycle goes.

Really, this description is somewhat incomplete, and in recent article The Covert War with Iran, I filled in the blanks.  Not only is AQI and AAS fomenting a sectarian war by attacking the Shi’a, but Iranian intelligence assets are doing so as well by directing death squads to do the same to the Sunni.  Ramadi is home to all manner of rougue elements, and must be pacified for OIF to succeed.  It is one side of the fulcrum, the other being Baghdad.

While much was made of the tribes taking up the war against AQI and AAS, I was skeptical, calling the tribes “recruits” and saying that if they end up being useful, it will be only after a protracted time.  Dollard echoes this concern in point number seven of the plan, saying “We will be “firing? most of the Sunni Tribal chieftans who we had been relying on as our major allies in fighting Al Qaeda in Al Anbar. The young chieftains were just absolutely no match for the superior Al Qaeda warriors, and outside of Ramadi their roles will be replaced by the new Baathist Generals brought into the mix. Al Qaeda had been going in for the kill on the Sunni tribes in the last few months, and we are employing such aggressive action to turn it around.”

I had been hopeful and patient with the advent of the tactic of combat operation posts, but with war of terror being successfully waged on the local population, and with the only way to defeat this vicious enemy being to bring immediate security to the cities, it’s simply going to take more than the tribes to pull off security in the al Anbar Province.  Ramadi certainly needs to be an exception to the pullout of troops.

Regarding the highly important point number 1, the border insecurity has been a theme with me for months.  But echoing again with the ideas I expressed in The Covert War with Iran, regime change will be necessary; since this is a regional conflict, it requires a regional solution.  Unless Syria and Iran are taken on and the essential nature of those regimes modified, terror will continue to be fomented by them inside Iraq.

The plan appears to track with and address many of the concerns I have discussed at length, except for these two: (1) treating OIF as part of a regional war (the plan only goes to the point of border security), and (2) the size and length of the surge.  More troops are needed, and that for a protracted period of time.

  • http://www.fumento.com Michael Fumento

    “The real insurgency is not indigenous to Iraq, but being pumped in through Iran and Syria.”

    Sorry, but from everything I’ve personally seen and heard while my boots were on the ground in Anbar, this is utterly false. The TOP leaders may be foreign, the best fighters (and probably all the best snipers) may be foreign, almost all the suicide bombers may be foreign, the best weapons and IEDs may all be foreign. But this jinn was let out the bottle the day Bremer dismissed the Iraqi Army and to this day the grunts remain Iraqis. Without them, all the foreign influence and more wouldn’t matter. I think the above sentence provides comfort to some in that it indicates “if only we sealed the borders” (which we cannot anyway, insofar as we cannot seal the border with Mexico) but it’s dangerous because it misplaces priorities.

  • Herschel Smith

    Thanks for the insight Michael. On this point, I trust your accuracy on this, and it sounds right anyway. I am not sure to what degree Dollard exactly parroted the written plan versus paraphrased in his post, and could not comment on this particular issue since I only copied his paragraph. The actual plan might have been worded differently, indicating the support for the insurgency was being pumped in across the borders. I don’t know.

    I have long been an advocate of closure of the borders with Iran and Syria, while admitting in later posts that this is impossible. Ergo, my advocacy of cross-border incursions to destroy insurgent safe havens and training grounds. If they have to worry about their own safety where they are, they are less likely to cross over and stir up trouble.

    I recall your post (from Iraq) on the mini-Ho Chi Minh trail. I am supposing that the rogue elements who crossed were specifically the suicide bombers and other bad guys (snipers, jihadists from around the globe, etc.). There are certainly indications that this is happening:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021901168.html

    Now. The real question is this, I suppose: assuming that the support (jihadists, foreign snipers, weapons suppliers, and particularly the suicide bombers who have wrought such havoc in the last several days) dried up, to what extent would the insurgency dry up too? This question goes to the heart of my article on Haditha, where closure of the city to infiltrating elements has brought relative security:

    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2007/02/16/security-and-wham-getting-the-order-right/

    On the issue of the border with Mexico, I have to say that I think it is possible to close the borders, assuming the right investment (fence, Kanine units, electronic surveillance, the right manpower, and the right ROE). It will not happen because Bush believes in America as a ‘state of mind’ rather than a location. There isn’t the political will to do it. As I said in a comment on an earlier post:

    “On the issue of illegal immigration and the border with Mexico, it really is very easy to solve, logistically and strategically. The border is not secure and illegal immigration is a problem for one simple reason: the political will to end it does not exist in the U.S. at this time, and probably never will. If the U.S. enacted federal laws to put CEOs in prison (who were found to have hired illegals) for mandatory terms without the possibility of parole, no matter how large or small the company or corporation, and then actually did begin sending them to federal prison, the hiring of illegals would desist and there would be a flood back across the border. The incentive being removed, part of the problem would be solved. Next, rather than put Guardsmen on the border with no ammunition, send more of them to the border and give them orders to arrest those who violate our borders and shoot those who resist. Finally, construct a fence from California to Texas with electronic surveillance and regular Guardsmen/dog patrols. Again, the political will does not exist, because companies are benefiting from the use of illegals to perform labor. The costs associated with medical care, uninsured motorist premiums, welfare, education, etc., for these low-skilled and low-paid workers goes to the public, and so given the size of this corporate welfare program, you can see why there is no chance at doing this. Couple this with the fact that most immigrants, because of the type of government in which they were raised, will vote socialist (i.e., for Democrats in larger numbers than Republicans), and you have two very big reasons the border will never be secured: 1) Republicans, and 2) Democrats. It is a political problem, not a logistical one.

    As to the very long border(s) with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Iran, I understand the issue and perhaps have not been detailed enough in my thoughts. I still believe, like General Patton, that fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity. Put a gaurd tower at a location, and the innovative illegal will find a way around, over or under it.

    The solution I attempt to point to is to launch offensive operations to deny the insurgents safe haven. It would prove to be far easier, my argument goes, to make the insurgent worry with his own safety in his supposedly safe staging areas in Jordan and Syria than to stop him once he attempts to come across the porous border.

    And … I understand why this is so politically difficult to swallow. It means war, but in the end, Syria is at war with us now, along with Iran, by the use of proxy fighters, as I have argued in previous posts.”


You are currently reading "11 Point Plan for Victory in Iraq", entry #466 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iran,Iraq,Syria and was published February 19th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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