Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Battle for Baquba

It has begun...

Thoughts flow on the eve of a great battle. By the time these words are released, we will be in combat. Few ears have heard even rumors of this battle, and fewer still are the eyes that will see its full scope. Even now—the battle has already begun for some—practically no news about it is flowing home. I’ve known of the secret plans for about a month, but have remained silent.

This campaign is actually a series of carefully orchestrated battalion and brigade sized battles. Collectively, it is probably the largest battle since “major hostilities” ended more than four years ago. Even the media here on the ground do not seem to have sensed its scale.

The metasticized cancer is surge-ically being removed and its influence upon Mesopotamia sent into remission.

On Baqubah:

Baquba has been an important city in this fight for several years, and for various reasons. It’s critical to keep in mind that AQM and others had the specific goal of starting a civil war, and this was plainly clear by early 2005. When the Golden Dome was obliterated in Samarra in 2006, and blood gushed into the streets, the politically inconvenient truth about the malignant potency of Al Qaeda was undeniable. In a perverse anniversary commemorated earlier this month, the two lone minarets left standing in Samarra after the 2006 bombing, were unceremoniously flattened in attacks that resulted in reprisals nearby in Babil Province and as far removed as Basra.

At least part of the reason we are not seeing even wider-spread open-necked reprisals for the recent bombings (though the reprisals have been serious) is because our current leadership under Petraeus is adroitly pushing political buttons behind the curtains. Based on things I saw, heard, and even videotaped while out among Iraqi tribal leaders in Anbar, unseen hands are reaching out and finding peace with tribes where others found war. Based on what I see all around Iraq, and not just in Anbar, I believe intuitively that most of this war can be ended through smart politics.

Smart politics is not transparent. The best politician leaves no traces of his handiwork in the resolution of complex issues, because if the resolution is to hold, the local parties must be able to claim responsibility with confidence, even to the extent of believing they did it themselves. Further, success in complex negotiations involves compromise, which (after open hostilities) can be perceived as caving and taken as indication of undue influence from outsiders. That kind of perception gets people killed over here.

Smart politics leaves more people standing with their heads, and so discretion has to be seen as vital to the war effort. Reports claiming that no political progress is happening here because the Iraqi parliament seems stalled are tantamount to claiming that when the US Senate bogs down the stop lights don’t work on Main Street USA. At the same time, no one is interested in going for the broomstick once they’ve seen the man behind the curtain, so smart politicians don’t let that happen, especially when the stakes are this high.

Hat tip for the Michael Yon dispatch: skye

Further reads:
Bill Roggio:
"Offensive Operations" underway
Battle of the Belts
The Battle of Baqubah II
Also blogging:
Flopping Aces
Midnight Blue

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

This won't get much MSM play nor will the Desm talk about it either because it proves that they lied about Al Qaeda not being in Iraq.

The stregth and numbers in Baquba proves that their presense there has dates back to well before March 2003 and the invasion.

So much for the liberal lie that WE brought Al Qaeda to Iraq!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Skye said...

Michael Yon would disagree, in this referenced article he mentions his believe that al-queda did not have a presence in Iraq prior to 2003.

I have to disagree with that belief. Al queda prior to 2002 had the luxury of worldwide sponsorship and tacit support of several nations across the globe. They had no need to concentrate their forces in one area. They believed the US would not dare hunt them down - up until 9/11 they attacked American interests abroad and the twin towers 1994) with impunity. Well, the misunderestimated our President's response. We denied them easy access to funding - until the NY Times f'ed that up. We chased them where they felt protected - The Philippines, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes, there are more al-alqueda in Iraq today than 2002 - They have no where else to hide.

zarqawi understood the pivotal importance of Iraq in their struggle to establish a worldwide caliphate as described in a recovered letterhttp://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,Defensewatch_021704_Letter,00.html from 2004:

If, God forbid, the government is successful and takes control of the country (IRAQ), we just have to pack up and go somewhere else again, where we can raise the flag again or die, if God chooses us.

Liberating Iraq was a stroke of strategic genius in combating terrorism. It brought the supporters of this worldwide network into a small place which make them easier to kill.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 4:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Although I admire Michael Yon extremely for the work he is doing and the word he gets out, I agree with both Mike and Sky that Al Quaeda was there before 2003, and I especially agree with Skye's last paragraph.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

What? I thought the surge had failed and the war is lost?

That's what Harry Reid said! And now we're learning that it's only just begun?

Someone should tell your friend Ken Hoop. You're kind and thoughtful comment got his attention (and I couldn't help but poke fun at you):


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 6:20:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

True diplomacy requires a certain lack of ego. If one person keeps rushing in front of a camera to claim credit even at the risk of destroying what is accomplished, then no one ever deals with that person for they are pegged as a glory-hound. Which is the antithesis of the usual politician we see shaking hands in front of all the cameras.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 9:34:00 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

This was indeed a brilliant move, if we wanted to fight Al-Queda we apparently went right to where they were hiding, because we have indeed found the rats nest!

We have to keep doing good things for the Troops and thier families, and grit our teeth sometimes about the bad stuff, and do everything we can to support our Troops during this seemingly deadly time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 2:58:00 PM  

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