From someone experiences in negotiating with insurgents and who has been trying to bring peace to war-torn areas for decades. There’s some practical, hard-earned observations here.
A lifetime in peace negotiations has given me considerable exposure to insurgency movements. The past never fully predicts the future, but it often offers useful pointers. Here is what we can say about those fighting against the United States in Iraq and what patterns of the past suggest we can expect:
- The majority of those fighting the American forces see themselves as patriots and lovers of their homeland, fighting for the future of their sons and daughters.
- The doctrine of resistance is guerilla warfare, whose aim is never to engage and defeat a standing army
- Guerilla warfare succeeds not by defeating an enemy militarily but rather by turning the broad population against the enemy.
If these patterns hold true in Fallujah and other locations of pitched battle in Iraq, the outcome is likely to look like this:
- Just enough resistance will be invested in a given hotspot to attract heavy attack and serious damage from the Americans.
- It will be discovered in the days following "victory" that most of the insurgents fled prior to or during battle and are continuing their struggle from multiple other locations
- Enormous attention will be given in Iraq and abroad to the damage caused by the Americans and the suffering imposed by them at the site of battle.
- The extremist wing of the resistance will retaliate against any persons thought to have cooperated with the invading Americans.
- Voices of moderation will fall silent.
- Internal conflict among Iraqis will increasingly become a major factor.
- It will be deemed necessary by American leaders to throw yet more soldiers, weapons, and money into the fray
- Return to step one, at a more murderous and destructive level than ever.