Did the U.S. Turn Over Anbar Too Soon?

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 2 months ago

In Human Events Rowan Scarborough is asking the question “did we turn over Anbar to the Iraqis too soon?” (or better, he is writing about others posing the question):

Within the Marine Corps there are worries that the U.S. has turned Iraq’s Anbar Province back to the locals too soon and too fast.

Officers who spoke with HUMAN EVENTS say the Sept. 1 transfer should have been delayed. The Pentagon first needs to fully understand the consequences of Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s ongoing campaign to shut down quasi-official Sunni citizens groups who helped America fight al Qaeda.

“My biggest concern is the Iraq government is now taking a very hard line against the Sunni ‘awakening’ and the Sons of Iraq,” said a Marine officer who did a seven-month tour in Anbar and asked not to be named. “The problem here is, the harder line they take will push the Sunnis back into the insurgency.”

[ ... ]

The Sons of Iraq have grown in political power and are at odds with of Iraqi Islamic Party which won the sparsely attended January 2005 elections in Anbar and is part of the Maliki government.

“A lot of the security in Anbar is provided by the awakening Sons of Iraq and there are political clashes between them and the Iraqi Islamic Party,” Parker said. “Even in the hand-over ceremonies they were sniping at each other.”

The change in power also came without any assurances that there will be new provincial elections in Iraq. The Iraqi parliament has yet to agree on a new election law, a stalemate that is denying Sunni outsiders a chance to get their people into power.

“There are a lot of political questions that are still unresolved,” Parker said. “That is the questions I would have in handing over Anbar.”

The Captain’s Journal has addressed the recalcitrance of Prime Minister Maliki (and the majority Shi’ite party) in their rejection of the Sons of Iraq (formerly concerned citizens).

Maliki obviously has a large degree of confidence in the ISF and the idea that the Sunnis will willingly roll over. TCJ is not as confident. But regardless of the outcome, Maliki’s actions are immoral and thuggish, and if Iraq is still peaceful once the “Shi’ite majority” has accomplished this disarmament and imprisonment of the awakening, it will be in spite of and not because of Maliki’s actions. Maliki may yet prove himself to be the most stolid dunce and inept stooge on the planet.

The U.S. Marines performed heroically to hand over a stable Anbar Province by defeating the indigenous insurgency and coupling with the Awakening to defeat al Qaeda and other foreign fighters (such as Ansar al-Sunna). Today Anbar is a law abiding Province that is seeing its people placed under arrest and rejected at the national level because they are the minority sect.

It was the responsibility of U.S. forces to battle the insurgency and then drive al Qaeda out of the Province in defeat and humiliation. Maliki and the Shi’ite majority now have a chance at real reconciliation and peace. If they knowingly ruin this chance by cranking up a war with the Sunnis, it is most certainly not the responsibility of the U.S. forces to take sides in such an internal power struggle.

While thuggish and brutish, the Jaish al Mahdi is comprised mostly inept fighters and stooges for Iran. If Maliki believes that the Sunni minority is incapable of sustained and bloody resistance, he is badly mistaken. The ISF is only a little more capable than is the JAM. In the end all the U.S. can do is give the Iraqis a chance. Like children who will make their own decisions in spite of parenting, there is nothing that can be done if they decide not to take advantage of the hard-won opportunities. If they don’t learn the lessons the easy way, then they will learn the hard way. We have turned over the Anbar Province at just the right time after honorable service by U.S. warriors, and the U.S. Marines must now move on.


You are currently reading "Did the U.S. Turn Over Anbar Too Soon?", entry #1310 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iraq,The Anbar Narrative and was published September 21st, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

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