Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Iran controls Iraq

Michael Hastings does an interview with Col. Douglas Macgregor that has much interesting material. Regarding our new COIN generals, Macgregor explains why they like COIN so much:
What the generals have today Afghanistan and Iraq, they like. There is no maneuver. You move in, you have a very weak adversary, you set up a base, and you do operations from the base. Your enemy has no armor, no artillery, no air force. You are able to go where you like and do what you like. There are no high risk maneuvers. There are no exceptionally agile or dangerous enemies that can put your forces in complete risk. This is not 1950—the 8th Army is not in danger of being overrun by the North Koreans or the Chinese. The generals are much more comfortable with static light infantry warfare against a weak adversary that drags on for years because it is low risk for them.
From that point of view Iraq was really low risk, Afghanistan is worse, if only because of the terrain. What's the same is the total lack of any technological challenge to the occupations. Both the Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban make use of very primitive armaments. The US has evidently been successful in convincing any prospective nation that might want to up the ante, a la Hezbollah, with more modern and effective armaments. But just that lack of support means that the Taliban, with a little help from some friends, could make things much more difficult.

And why the Saudis are lacking in gratitude to their big christian brother, despite our victory in Iraq:
If the United States advanced the border of Iranian strategic power to your border, would you be grateful? Since we have no influence over Iran, who does? If you are looking for an opportunity to influence your security—the Iranians don’t invade overtly. They develop fifth columns in your Shiite populations and eastern Saudi Arabia is heavily Shiite. The deal involves tanks, BMPs, a lot of armaments. These are the things we’ve been selling the Saudis for years, and it looks like we’re being edged out of that market. This has nothing to do with Russian success. It has everything to do with our behavior in the region. People don’t understand that something that everybody in the Persian Gulf understands, in Saudi Arabia understands that is, Iran controls Iraq, not the United States or its forces.

Anyway, it's a good interview, so read it already.
(h/t NewsHoggers)


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