9 years, 7 months ago
In Al Qaeda, Indigenous Sunnis and the Insurgency in Iraq, we outlined a schema for the insurgency in the Anbar Province in which, in spite of the use of the term al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) or al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as a surrogate for the combination of the insurgency, terrorist elements, foreign fighters and criminals, we showed that the insurgency was primarily indigenous Sunnis. To be sure, there are these other elements, and their presence has made the counterinsurgency more difficult.
The presence of terrorist elements and global and religiously motivated fighters – who do not wish to provide governance or welfare for the people – has caused the necessity to militarily defeat the terrorists while at the same time defeating the insurgents and providing for the security of the people. It was ultimately and finally necessary to settle with the insurgency (not the terrorists), and so the twists and turns of this strategy involved hard and lengthy negotiations (over several deployments of Marines) with the insurgency to effect their reintegration into Iraqi culture and society. This all constituted the greatest counterinsurgency campaign in history. Surely, it is a victory that was fraught with problems and obstacles never seen before in history. And while saying that a significant part of the battle was with fighters other than AQI carries heavy political baggage in the U.S., it doesn’t make the assertion false. In fact, recognition of this fact only serves to fill out the almost incredible picture of the campaign the U.S. Marines have waged in Anbar.
The so-called “Anbar Awakening