2004 October 22 Friday
Iraqi Insurgency Has Lots of Cash And Members
The insurgency in Iraq has as many as 20,000 members depending on how they are counted.
When foreign fighters and the network of a Jordanian militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are counted with home-grown insurgents, the hard-core resistance numbers between 8,000 and 12,000 people, a tally that swells to more than 20,000 when active sympathizers or covert accomplices are included, according to the American officials.
In recent interviews, military and other government officials in Iraq and Washington said the core of the Iraqi insurgency now consisted of as many as 50 militant cells that draw on "unlimited money'' from an underground financial network run by former Baath Party leaders and Saddam Hussein's relatives.
Their financing is supplemented in great part by wealthy Saudi donors and Islamic charities that funnel large sums of cash through Syria, according to these officials, who have access to detailed intelligence reports.
The government of Saudi Arabia is of course not doing enough to cut off these flows of funds. Saudi Arabia is where the largest portion of Al Qaeda terrorists and money comes from. That is why we invaded Iraq. Make sense?
Foreign money is more important than foreign fighters. But domestic insurgents are the biggest problem.
Despite concerns about foreign fighters, American officials said the most significant challenge to the stabilization effort came from domestic Iraqi insurgents, and not from foreign terrorists, despite the violence of attacks organized or carried out by foreigners.
The foreign fighters, Baathists, and other factions pay criminals to plant bombs and kidnap people. Saddam let 90,000 prisoners go right before his government fell. Many of these are still on the loose and are available for hire. Iyad Allawi's government has been locking up some of them. But US forces clearly would have benefitted had the US systematically tried to round up and lock up all the common criminals soon after the invasion. But it was hard to plan for an insurgency that the Bushies didn't foresee happening in the first place.
Iraqi security services have been infiltrated by insurgents. (same article here)
The defense official described a country where a fearful citizenry doesn't fully accept the concepts of Western law and order and remains unwilling to take their future into their own hands, where police are often corrupt and the security forces are "heavily infiltrated" by insurgents.
In some cases, members of the Iraqi security services have developed sympathies and contacts with the guerrillas; in other cases, infiltrators were sent to join the groups, the official said.
The people of Iraq are reluctant to commit to the American and Iraqi government side because it is dangerous for them to do so. They do not know whether the US-supported faction will come out on top. If the US-supported faction loses power then some day any Iraqis collaborating with the US or the current Iraqi government could end up getting killed by the new regime.
The big wild card continues to be whether the new Iraqi military, police, and intelligence services will become serious threats to the insurgency. As long as that does not happen the insurgency will go on until US troops leave. If you were an Iraqi citizen would you bet your life on the US side prevailing?
According to some finanical analysts, one of the reasons the Bush administration invaded Iraq, was the
fear that both Iraq as well as other Muslim countries were talking about pricing their oil in euros
instead of dollars. Given the accumulating foreign trade deficit and the fact that the world is flooded
with dollars, the alarm bells must have started ringing in the brains of both Bush as well as many other
As the saying goes, "Money is the Source of all Evil", but one of my undergraduate teachers
re-formulated that saying as follows" "Evil is the Source of all Money." This is the reason we have
1000 dead per year (10,000 casualties if we count the wounded and psychologically damaged),and this
is only in Iraq. And Randall Parker is reporting that there are as many as 20,000 insurgents in Iraq
altogether (both Iraqi and foreign fighters, as well as local sympathizers),
but in a country with population 20,000,000, this is only 0.1 % of the population.
This means that the fence-sitting Muslims elsewhere are just trying to figure out who is going to win the
fight. If the US retreats under fire, the statistical probability is very high from the sociological
point of view, that a lot more people will join the insurgents. The US walked into the trap of the century.
Saddam publicly pretended to have weapons of mass destruction, in order to give Bush a puclic excuse
to invade Iraq, but the Osama and Saddam also gave a private reason to Bush for invading Iraq: the threat
that they will ultimately price the Iraqi and Saudi oil in euros.
From these financial considerations, it seems that the war will expand after the elections, in such
a way that the Viet Nam situation will look like a trivial street fight in New York (I am not underestimating
the New Yorkers who are very tough people, but you get the idea.)
If we want to save the kids from the coming military draft and getting
mass-executed in a "death march" in the deserts of Arabia after they surrender,
then we must start a Bronx Project for alternative energy. Until there is a solution to the
energy dependence problem, we are stuck in this perpetual war.
1) The BIO-DIESEL FUEL is real, it is not science-fiction, it is made from vegetable oils, and
it costs only slightly more than the current price of gasoline. And the price can be lowered with more work.
Please see the web sites. The US can become independent from foreign oil if the US farmers and the oil
companies decide to work together.
@) The NUCLEAR ENERGY is coming back with a vengeance: the newer reactor designs
such as the Integral Fast Reactory, are 100 times more uranium
fuel efficient, and they burn all the long term nuclear waste as their own fuel, leaving
behind only short term low level waste which has half life about 300 years, making Yucca Mountain
storage unnecessary. This is only one of the designs, and building 1,000 is feasible due to the
lower fuel consumption and small amount of waste that is generated, so that this energy can be
used to charge fuel cells for vehicles, or even to make diesel fuel from garbage.
"Officials Fear Iraq's Lure for Muslims in Europe" is posted here.
Addendum to my above comments for alternative energy: The price of diesel fuel obtained
by processing coal, is only slightly higher than the current price of regular diesel fuel,
and the technology we are talking about, is not esoteric like nuclear energy. The US is the
Saudi Arabia of coal, and if we make a national decision, if we combine biodiesel with coal based diesel
fuel, we can make the US totally independent from foreign oil imports within less than 5 years,
PROVIDED that we make a decision to do that.
Please read this article:
Sheesh Invisible Intelligence....."save the kids from the coming military draft and getting mass-executed in a "death march" in the deserts of Arabia after they surrender"? Whomever paid for your education appears to have wasted some serious money. Seems you can't read, hear or comprehend. There will be no draft. The military needs commited, trainable folks; not riff-raff. You see the US military as Vara's legions marching through the Teutoborg Forest? Large eye-roll.
I don't want a government financed War on Energy because I've seen the results of the wars on poverty, crime, drugs and illiteracy. Government can only throw money into Congressmen's pork barrels where conniving theives pocket every cent. Want an energy policy? Tell the Democrats to stop blocking legislation and every attempt to build energy infrastructure.
You are saying that I cannot read or write, but your sentences are so mixed up that your own ideas
are not all that clear, I suspect. One moment you are saying that you don't think there will be a
draft, and that the US military wise enough to prosecute this war without falling into traps like
Vara's legions marching through the Tuetoborg Forest, and another moment you are saying that you
don't want a government financed war on energy because wars result in misery. I do not suggest
that the government should declare war on foreign countries for oil, that's not what I mean,
and I hope that's not what you mean... But UNLESS there is a
government backed movement, a major project like the Manhattan Project to save us from energy imports,
I claim that this war will get worse. Since you insulted me personally by questioning my literacy,
and since I am a disciple of Hermann Hesse as far as literacy is concerned (he was a high school
dropout, but a wise person), I am challenging you as follows: I am betting
that this war will escalate to dimensions worse than Viet Nam, namely, the first global guerilla
war in world history, where more Muslim countries will get involved other than Iraq, and that
the US casualties will approach Viet Nam. If I am wrong, I am stupid, but if the war
escalates beyond the US casualties in Viet Nam, then you will take back the personal insults.
So far, the war is being prosecuted in a rather unwise manner ALREADY, and we have not only
approximately 1,000 dead, but 10 times as many people who are wounded or psychologically damaged,
and the total casualties are thus approaching 10,000, per year. We cannot continue this war
for another 5 years at this casualty rate, and I am saying that this war is almost certainly going
to escalate beyond Iraq. The US dollar is already plunging due to the price of oil, and this
can lead to a disaster, thanks to the collusion of all the corrupt people who either intentionally
neglected or sabotaged a decent national energy project. Even the inflexible French already have
80 % of their electricity derived from nuclear energy ( with technology borrowed from Westinghouse! )
Invisible Intellect, consider your statement "....."save the kids from the coming military draft and getting mass-executed in a "death march" in the deserts of Arabia after they surrender".
There is no coming draft. Bush said it, Rumsfeld said it and the the US Congress voted almost unanimously against the DEMOCRATS DESIRE FOR A DRAFT. GET IT? NO DRAFT.
Now, with regards to your "getting mass-executed in a "death march" in the deserts of Arabia after they surrender". The US military, unlike the Kerry campaign, are competent war fighters. Do you actually believe that our military leaders would let our soldiers go on a death march? Think just how ridiculous that statement is.
We don't need an Energy Manhatten Project funded by the taxpayers. We need to let the free market do what it does best; and that is reasearch, development and marketing of products that the market wants. All the government can do is throw tax dollars around willy-nilly which will guarantee wasted money.
Dear very briliant Lugh Lampfhota,
Your absolute certainty that the draft is impossible, is certainly connected with the assumption
that the war will not esclate to proportions beyond Viet Nam. You were evading my question by
not answering whether you agree or not with my speculation that the war will expand a lot further,
increasing the need for both more hardware, and more soldiers, a lot more. Perhaps, with your
free-marketism, you might (correctly) argue that if the defense budget gets increased to 20 % of
the GDP, then the $2 trillion per year would be enough to buy more hardware and to hire more
professional soldiers. This is one area I agree with you that the draft can be avoided in that manner.
But I suspect that if the war escalates beyond Viet Nam proportions (my speculation you evaded to
answer by saying you agree or not.. at least say that I am stupid as usual, I will accept that answer,
but please don't evade the questions in an unsportmenlike manner, then the draft will be likely..
Here is an article about the preparations for the draft... No matter what the politicians say to
reassure the public (no sane politician in power would say BEFORE the elections,
that the draft is coming) the Pentagon is preparing for the draft possibilities:
And as for the free market for energy research, I wonder if the World War II Manhattan Project
should have been decided by the Corporate America... Maybe they should have decided if the
nuclear bomb is profitable or not... The freedom of the free world was at stake, because Hitler
had a secret nuclear bomb project (which he actually neglected by not funding this research
thanks God), but had Hitler started the war 5 years later, then for sure he was going to get the
bomb before us...
If you wait until the price of oil goes to $100 per barrel and stays there for 3 years, then
maybe there will be major decision in the free market, but it will be TOO late. Free market often
decides on the basis of short term vision for profits, it worries for example that the price of
oil might fluctuate downwards while they are developing the new energy at the embryonic stage...
And without serious commitment, we are in deep trouble with the Middle Eastern oil.
For example, all the big military companies like Lockheed, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop,
etc, were barely subsidized by the government after the Cold War until 2001, these companies
were pork barrel projects, and some of these were VERY poorly managed, but they still manufactured
and maintained some decent hardware for the war after September 11, 2001. Without these "parasite
pork barrel military companies that waste tax dollars", we were not going to have any readiness.
And despite the current spending, the US military is a mile wide and an inch deep. Maybe we should
have left ALL the defense of the U.S. to the private sector? Brilliant idea you might endorse with
Invisible Scientist -
Whoa! Calm down there Tex! It's the nature internet discussions to attract the occasional name-caller. It happens. What you don't do is fly off the handle. The only discussion worth having is a calm and rational one. Flame wars cannot be won. They just escalate until someone get's called a Nazi and then everyone loses, THE END.
You said it yourself though. The Bad Guy/ Total Pop ratio in Iraq is 1-to-1000. Those are really decent odds. If 999 out of 1000 Iraqis aren't trying their damndest to see us leave, I think we're in pretty good shape - especially when the new Iraqi Army and Iraqi PD fully deploy. You've seen Stage 1 in Sammarra; Stage 2 is playing out in Sadr City right now; and I expect Fallujah to follow. Sure there will be spies and defectors, but the Iraqi forces will be much better at policing themselves than we are at policing them. Iraqi recruits don't like getting blown up by the Reaper's dozen any more than the normal person does, so I expect them to fall on collaborators like rabid hyenas on a chubby ground squirrel. The worst mistake the Iraqi resistance ever made was to kill Iraqi police. You'll see.
I think that Lugh Lampfhota does have a point though. Your first post about the Arabian death march was both polemical and stupid. It will never happen. You may be bright in many respects I'm sure, but here you've gone too far. Will the war escalate? That's possible, especially if Iran ever gets feisty, but that does not mean there's going to be an Arabian Death March. Trotting out such phrases is almost as bad as calling someone a Nazi. It's neither well reasoned nor well considered. The US Military is not that inept.
As for the draft, I REALLY doubt it. The US Military is emphatically against it. The US public is emphatically against it. Congress voted it down 402-2 (even the sponsor abstained). Neither Bush nor Kerry would sign it. If it ever gets to the point where the existing Army/Marines absolutely cannot handle Iraq, something may be done but it will not be a draft. They'll either step up recruiting and training, pull forces from elsewhere (like the remaining 20,000 stationed in S. Korea), or pull back from Iraq.
Lugh's second point, that free markets is the better method for energy independence, is at least arguable. It does not deserve to be shot down as callously as you did. Free markets have created some truly amazing things. Their list of successes in the 20th century far exceeds the list of government ones. Even the Defense Dept and the CIA have switched from internally developing technology to adapting civilian tech to their use. Why? Because civilian tech (a product of the free market) is better and cheaper. If the markets aren't working at the moment, its because of a failure in pricing signals. If the military budget for Iraq was paid with a gasoline tax, you'd see alternative energy investment like you would not believe.
Besides Invisible Scientist, all the nuclear powerplants in the world cannot power your car. The internal combustion engine cannot be replaced for many years. Even if a better engine were made today the cars on the road will last for a decade or more; AND Saudi Arabia will always be the last oil producer to stop producing. As the cheapest provider of oil in the world any reduction in the total size of the oil market will only made Saudi Arabia's slice of the pie larger.
The picture is not as simple as you think.
Iraq is NOT Vietnam because a) our goal is to establish an elected government in Iraq b) the professional military is far more competent than the drafted military c) Congress is not a fickle Democratic entity d) America is on to the media's treason e) The forces of chaos have no Soviet Union, China nor North Vietnam providing support f) the forces of chaos are not fighting for a state, they are fighting for chaos g) America learned from Vietnam and will finish this war.
The SSSI is charged with preparedness and after 911 our nation faces risks that many thought were obsolete after the demise of the Soviet Union. What happens if one or more of our cities are nuked or some virulent biological agent is released across the nation? Might we need doctors to treat the wounded or soldiers to clear rubble and stop looting? Could a draft be effective for these tasks?
Modern combat soldiers have to master 12 skill sets that require at least four years to master. That means that draftees would JUST be trained when their conscripton ended (unless of course we were engaged in a global war on the order of WW2). Congress would have to authorize a draft and the vote early this month was 498-4.
The Manhatten Project, the Man-to-the-moon project and DARPA projects in the 1970-80s were pure defense projects that were vital to national defense. No company could justift R&D without the possibility of return on investment. Energy projects, while they have defense implications, are principally civilian endeavors. The free market is rightfully the entity IN A FREE SOCIETY that should do the work.
If you do not think the US government can fight poverty, crime, drugs, and illiteracy then do you think the US government can transform other societies in a positive manner? After all, our intervention in Iraq was sold in large part as an effort to spread democracy in the Middle East as part of a massive social engineering project.
BTW, I'm glad the government fights crime. Are you opposed to the government fighting crime?
A good energy policy would cost far less than the Iraq Debacle.
To clarify the misunderstanding,
I did not shoot down the free-marketism of Lugh, I only complained against his total opposition
to a government backed program that will accelerate the R&D and implementation of alternative
energy. My whole point is that the free market sometimes does not act fast enough because
the short term profits are not on the horizon immediately, whereas in the case of energy, we
have a national security situation. The cost of invading Iraq is already higher than
what an Energy Manhattan Project would cost (BTW, Lugh misspelled Manhattan as Manhatten, twice.)
What I was saying is that if the price of oil does not go up much higher and stay there for
a long time, there will not be a free market mobilization, and this nightmare will continue
militarily, and I do not agree with your optimism that the situation will get better in Iraq
in terms of US casualties, I don't think we are finishing off the insurgents.
Also, you wrote that "all the nuclear reactors in the world cannot power a car", but in my
previous messages above, what I was saying that the nuclear plants will only generate the
heat to transform coal, vegetable oils, garbage, etc into diesel fuel and gasoline, as
well as the possiblity of charging the fuel cells of the new cars.
Also I mentioned biodiesel, and coal based liquid fuels. In retrospect, the reason the
September 11 attack occurred was due to the excessive dependence on Middle Eastern oil ( which
indirectly caused the US to support unpopular regimes over there, etc... )
And of course, my using the word "death march", was not polemical, but intended to be funny,
but if this war escalates into Viet Nam proportions (and I think it will exceed Viet Nam),
then the cumulative casualties, will be worse than a death march, both militarily and
psychogically, since instead of galvanizing the US public opinion, there will be
disunity as a result.
But also, if there is a devastating nuclear of biological terrorism in the US, then the
only kind of draft is not the old fashioned way of recruiting random people, but it can
be spending 20 % of the GDP on defense, since this would be tantamount to taxing the nation
excessively to build more hardware and to hire more professional soldiers, and this "taxation"
would be equivalent to making the Americans work by force to defend the US. This would be
a less visible form of draft. What I am saying is that without a major increase in the
defense budget, at least $1 trillion in a couple of years, this war cannot be prosecuted. And all
of this war is due to oil dependence. The free
market did NOT anticipate this, because, perhaps,
the free market is not so free, after all...