Australian Intelligence (solution?) from Iraq

May 30th, 2007  

Topic: Australian Intelligence (solution?) from Iraq

I came accross this article today. I do not agree with the journalist's opinion in the first sentence of the third last paragraph, however the rest of the article grabbed my interest - and squared somewhat with my own interaction (brief as it was) with Iraqi's.Any opinions or comments?
Still a way out in Iraq

Ian McPhedran
May 30, 2007 12:00am
IT was a tense stand-off late in 1999 in the middle of a road near Batugade on the border between East and West Timor, writes Ian McPhedran.
Shots had been fired. Some Indonesians, disguised as militia, had been wounded or killed by Australian troops and an all-out war between the two countries was a very real possibility.

But thanks to a level-headed, Indonesian-speaking Australian Army major, David Kilcullen, the potentially explosive situation was defused.
The now 39-year-old Lt-Col Kilcullen is based in Baghdad as the senior counter-insurgency adviser to the Commanding General, Multinational Force Iraq.

The anthropologist, who wrote his PhD thesis on Islamic extremism in Indonesia, is arguably the most influential Australian in Iraq.
Kilcullen argues passionately and with considerable insight that the insurgency can be contained using traditional counter-insurgency methods, rather than overwhelming force.

And he says religion is often overrated as a factor.
"Insurgents in both Afghanistan and Iraq are not particularly religious," he says.

Kilcullen believes a deep, situation-specific understanding of the human, social and cultural dimensions of a conflict is needed.
The Iraqi town of Ramadi west of Baghdad is known as one of the most violent places in ultra-violent Anbar province.

What Kilcullen described nearly a year ago as a "black rat hole" and a "dark insurgent sewer" has been transformed.

Religion was a cynical cover for carnage. Torture was by electric drill, execution by chainsaw and children were tricked into becoming bombs.
Attacks are down from 100 a day to less than four, tribal and community leaders are government allies and local imams are preaching against the insurgents.

Police recruits are up from 200 a few months ago, to about 5000 today.
OBVIOUSLY there are still threats as al-Qaida's death squads retreat into even darker corners under the weight of the American surge.
But Kilcullen is adamant the picture is rosier than a year ago, for one simple reason.

Local units, including Iraqis, made minimum-force sweeps of the town, clearing out insurgent cells.
Then they establish a permanent presence with US and Iraqi police and military units.

This strategy is what many experts have been calling for since May 2003.
Unfortunately, under then US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his neo-con warriors, the strategy of trying to hit harder than the bad guys took too long.

Kilcullen says Ramadi provided clear proof insurgents were not all religious zealots. He said that in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the insurgents set themselves up as a model of religious rectitude, but the facts contradicted their claims.

The Taliban are world leaders in opium production, in a country where more than 70 per cent of Afghans believe the production of narcotics is un-Islamic.

Kilcullen saw Iraqi insurgents break down in bitter tears when they realised the leaders they thought were true Muslims were habitual criminals with links to organised crime, murder-for-profit gangs and the old Baathist oligarchy.

In any conflict where there are religious differences, religion is likely to become a political rallying point.

While the Kilcullen doctrine appears to bear fruit, it also makes a strong case for not getting involved in conflicts such as Iraq in the first place.
It is clear the concept of trying to out-terrorise the terrorists does not work.

IN Ramadi, the humane approach to counter-insurgency, backed by a big stick, does work. That a bright and humane Australian officer is exerting considerable influence on strategic decision makers in Iraq is a very positive development.

As the coalition begins to draw up withdrawal plans, the more voices of reason, the better. David Kilcullen knows what he's talking about and we can only hope the Americans are listening.

IAN McPHEDRAN is defence reporter,00.html#
May 30th, 2007  
Very interesting, this is what I was trying to get across in some earlier discussion on the topic of current vs future strategy in Iraq.

This is as it states, classic anti insurgency tactics.
Cool to see it backed by atleast SOME numbers.
I will refer to this article as ONE source in the future.
May 31st, 2007  
Interesting stuff Padre... its got me brainbox whirring...

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