If there has ever been a time when your support is crucial for the success for your troops it is now. Through different outcomes and events in theater, your troops are taking action that will make a difference in the near future. If you have been on the fence or have wavered, you had better cinch up and get on the team for the win. Support your troops!

Geopolitical Diary: Al-Sadr’s Calculus

Some 25 U.S. troops in Iraq were killed in a single day this weekend,
making it the third bloodiest since the war began. Also, Muqtada al-Sadr
announced he was ending his boycott of parliament and that he was
therefore rejoining the political process. There is not a direct
connection between these two events, but there is a connection
nevertheless.

To begin, the deaths of the U.S. troops did not occur in any one sector,
but in several. Twelve of the 25 were killed in the crash of a Blackhawk
helicopter northeast of Baghdad. Some were killed in Anbar province by
Sunni insurgents. Five were killed in Karbala, in Shiite territory. The
geographical diffusion of the deaths is important: The United States is
increasing the tempo of its operations around the country. Troops are
moving around, they are holding meetings (as was the case in Karbala)
and carrying out patrols. In the current phase of operations, as more
troops move into Baghdad, the increase in troop strength is less
significant than the increase in the tempo of operations. As the U.S.
military becomes more aggressive, it will incur more casualties.

From the standpoint of al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army, there are three
considerations in all of this.

First, the United States is clearly targeting al-Sadr and his
organization. He cannot be sure that it won’t be successful in that
mission. If the U.S. military is prepared to take casualties, al-Sadr
has to calculate that he can be, at least, badly hurt. The more damage
the United States does, the less leverage the Mehdi militia has among
the Shia.

Second, there is the potential for the opposite outcome. Assume that the
United States surges the operational tempo, goes after al-Sadr, fails to
take him out and takes massive casualties in the process. It is not
inconceivable that domestic American politics will force the United
States to reverse course and begin the withdrawal process that is being
discussed by the Democrats.

In both of those cases, rejoining the political process makes sense for
al-Sadr. If things go against him, being part of the political process
in Iraq prior to becoming desperate allows him to negotiate a place for
himself and his faction while still at full strength. If, on the other
hand, U.S. troops attack and fail to destroy him, while taking massive
casualties, his involvement in the political process puts him in a
position to become a defining character in postwar Iraqi politics.

The third consideration involves the chance that al-Sadr could deter an
American attack. After all, if he is now being a good citizen,
participating in the government, the United States is going to find it
much harder to justify launching an offensive against him. The United
States cannot simultaneously demand that al-Sadr reach a political
accommodation and try to destroy him while he is in the process of doing
so.

In a way, al-Sadr is playing directly into the Bush administration’s
hands. U.S. President George W. Bush is hoping to revive the political
process in Iraq by using the threat of attacks to motivate cooperation
from the various factions. But al-Sadr is only partially playing into
Bush’s hands, because Bush is still running the huge risk that
casualties will break the back of American will. Bush is on politically
thin ice. If casualties were to rise to Vietnam levels (several hundred
in a week) for an extended period of time, his runway might turn out to
be too short. In that event, al-Sadr would have snookered Bush — by
showing himself capable of dominating the Iraqi political process and
giving the Americans the worst possible outcome.

An uptick in American casualties and al-Sadr announcing that he is
returning to parliament are, therefore, linked together. As the U.S.
strategy unfolds militarily, al-Sadr’s political strategy shifts to
avoid and take advantage of the new dimensions.

Comments

  1. Keep the pressure on guys–you will prevail. As for al-Sadr–squash the little fellow. Stay tough Marines, my prayers are with you constantly.

  2. Good analysis, Maj. I vote for taking the bastard out whether he appears to be re-entering the political process or not. That’s a shortterm “save his butt” maneuver in a very long war. Take him out. We cannot afford to temporarily halt the militias; they must be taken out.
    We’re with you and all our armed forces. Attack!

  3. Very informative read Maj. Take al Sadr and his militia “worms” out as soon as possible. Then bring any insurgents found anywhere.. down with deadly force. We are proud of all our troops. With you 100%. Thank you all and Semper Fi!

  4. OOOH RAAAH,
    STAND BEIND OUR TROOPS,OR FEEL FREE TO STAND IN FRONT OF THEM.HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I SAID THAT????
    I STILL LIKE MARTY’S SAYING,PULL OUT THE TROOPS AND SEND IN THE PEACE CORPS.
    SEMPER FI BROS AND GALS.

  5. I prefer a weapons free option. Do what the ground troops are asking. Let us win. Put enough fear in the enemy and they will stop. Turn our troops loose. The Japanese feared Marines because the Marines are all business. Ain’t taking anything away from any service. Marines just train different and kick ass. Marines also take care of their own. Son told me that he is taking extra training to teach his fellow Marines. His point is that he wants them all to come home. I support that. Until we break the enemy’s back we can’t secure Iraq. Turn em loose or bring em home.

  6. Yup, Al Sadr need to go, should have been gone a long time ago and would have been if our guys had been able to take the gloves off. That time is now!

  7. I was just about to comment that the title was borrowed from Big Bro Jim I. but now I see he’s here. Still saluting at 23;00 hours.

  8. KAREN I,MAJOR P.
    I ALSO SALUTE YOU, IF I LEAVE ANYONE OUT FORGIVE ME, I CANT REMEMBER ALL THE NAMES I HAVE COME UPON. AS LONG AS WE ARE TOGETHER AT 2300 HRS. I KNOW YOU THE FEW THE PROUD WILL BE THERE WITH ME,,LETA I DIDN’T FORGET YOU , OR MO.

  9. MAJOR P,
    I’M ALWAYS THERE,
    BUT PLEASE FOLKS LETS NOT FORGET OUR HIDDEN HEROES.. THE K-9S.. AND THEIR TRAINERS. DOG COOKIES,PULL TOYS,FRIZZBIES TENNIS BALLS, YOU KNOW DOG STUFF.
    THEY NEED OUR LOVE TOO.
    CAN YOU SMELL AN I.E.D.?

  10. I REALLY LIKE THE RESPONSE I GET GET FOR MY 2300 HR SALULTE.
    BUT YOU PEOPLE IN CALIFORNIA MAKE ME STAY UP UNTIL 0200 HRS. SO I HAVE AMENDED MY SALUTE..THE RULE IS ANYTIME YOU DECIDE TO GO TO BED,SALUTE AND GIVE A PRAYER TO OUR SERVICE MEMBERS. NOW DO WE HAVE THIS STRAIGHT?(MUST BE THE SARGE IN ME)

  11. Big Bro Jim are you saying this war if going to the dogs? HAAAAAAAHAAAAAA. Good point though. Dogs do so much for us. We should take notice of their contributions. Good post. Good post from all OMV readers. God bless all.

  12. We won a victory never seen before. We took down Irag fast. We have not lost. Many lessons were learned by our troops on how to fight an insurgency. Excuse my spelling. We are using tactics learned in Stan,Iraq, and Somalia. Some things work and some things do not. Sending Kurds to Baghdad is a risky move. A third element to a situation that could explode. Let the Shia and Sunni have their war. If they can’t agree on Allah or the Madhi then let them sort it out. I want us out of the Turkey shoot in Baghdad unless we are going to take down all the players. I do not support Marines and soldiers being used as cops and targets.

  13. Too bad everything we plan to do is broadcast first! Why didn’t they just do the surge of troops, take Sadr’s sorry ass out and have it over. Now he gets to play politics and hide behind that so we can look like bad guys if he’s taken out after he ‘says’ he’s coming back into the fold. When will the press, public and politicos realize we are at war?!

  14. I find the various elements in play throughout Bagdad to be confusing. I certainly don’t have the Intel or intuition to make an intelligent judgment on the matter. But I do remember an old saying, “Yes, he’s a bastard, but he’s our bastard!”
    I’m thinking that rather then blowing this particular Mutt up; we hang his balls in a vice, and apply a liberal degree of pressure. If he refuses at that point to be amenable to our “mutual interests,” well then… unfortunate events often transpire.

  15. KAREN I.
    NOW THAT WOULD HURT,I WOULD RATHER CHOP OFF A LIMB AT A TIME AND MAKE SURE THERE WAS A DOCTOR THERE TO MAKE SURE HE DOSEN’T BLEED TO DEATH SO HE COULD ENJOY THE PAIN AND THINK ABOUT ALL HIS FUTURE VIRGINS,THEN HANG HIM BY THE GRAPES.

  16. While someone tells him in his own language that he won’t be getting virgins he’ll be getting diseased well-worn prostitutes where he’s going, naked too.

  17. ALSO KAREN I,
    OUR MILITARY HAS BALLS, THIS PUKE HAS GRAPES. SO PLEASE DON’T GIVE THIS A/H CREDIT FOR SOMTHING HE DOSEN’T HAVE.

  18. OH GOOD GRIEF ANITA,
    YOU HAVE NO IDEA OF HOW RIGHT YOU ARE.DIDN’T WE GIVE SUDDAM A YEAR TO MOVE HIS W.O.M.D. TO SYRIA. NO FREAGGIN WONDER WE COULDN’T FIND THEM. DON’T GET ME WRONG THEY ARE STILL THERE AND WAITING TO BE USED.THE MEDIA JUST HAS TO REPORT THE STORMS WE NEVER GET, OR THE OLD LADY THAT JUST GOT RUN OVER BY A BUS. MEDIA,POLITICIANS JUST GO AND DO WHAT YOU DO BEST, AND THAT IS TO LIE,STAY OUT OF OUR TROOPS SAFTEY.
    I REPORT YOU DECIDE.

  19. Big Bro Jim I Thanks for telling me what grapes were, I had no idea. We didn’t have sex ed in our school and my friends didn’t tell me about that distinction.As for the WOMD–Just because they didn’t turn up yet doesn’t mean there aren’t any WOMD.There a millions places where they could be in a hell-hole like Iraq and the thought that they were moved to Syria seems reasonable, too.

  20. IT’S ABOUT TIME WE TOOK THE LEASHES OF OUR TROOPS AND SEND THEM OUT TO KICK SOME ASS, I’M STILL TIRED OF THE MEDIA TELLING US HOW MANY OF OUR TROOPS WERE LOST, HEY MEDIA MORONS HOW MANY BAD GUYS DID WE GET?WHOSE F%&#@*G SIDE ARE YOU ON? THINK ABOUT IT.
    I REPORT YOU DECIDE.

  21. What a true show of troop support it would be to allow our guys and gals to do what they do best WITHOUT limitations. Personally, I would LOVE to see the dogs of war slip their leash and end this thing once and for all.
    Speaking of which, thanks for mentioning the K9s, Big Bro Jim I. I adopted three USMC handlers and their critters through “Any Soldier” and those teams are utterly amazing.

  22. NOW THE POLITICIANS ARE IN FULL SWING.NANCY BLOWSKI, AND JOHN MOTHER ARE OVER THERE TRYING TO,I DON’T KNOW WHAT. STOP THE WAR? IMAGINE OUR TROOPS COMING HOME WITH THEIR TAILS BETWEEN THEIR LEGS KNOWING THEY COULD HAVE GOTTEN THE JOB DONE.
    IT’S NOT BAD ENOUGH THERE IS THE HILLARY AND THE MUSLIM MONGREL BATTLE GOING AT IT HERE AT HOME.
    PLEASE, POWELL AND CONDIE RICE GO FOR IT…SHIT VOTE FOR ME.
    THOSE DAM DEM LIBS HAVE TO BE CUT DOWN… FOLKS WE ARE IN TROUBLE VERY SOON..

  23. THANK YOU FALLEN’ANGEL,FOR THE SUPPORT OF OUR K-9S.. THE FORGOTTEN TROOPS. AND DON’T FORGET THE TRAINERS,THEY EAT SLEEP AND WORK WITH THEM EVERY DAY,COULD YOU DO THAT WITH YOUR SPOUSE…YES OUR HIDDEN HEROES…
    CAN YOU SMELL AN I.E.D.?

  24. The K-9’s and handlers aren’t left out if they sign up on anysoldier.com; pretty quickly they are saying they have enough of everything! and are passing it on to other K-9 handlers.
    The USPS should definitely be running in the black with all the shipping to deployed troops!

  25. ANITA,
    AYE,AYE ,TO YOU.WE DO SEND A LOT OF STUFF TO THE K-9S AND I KNOW THAT THE EXTRA SUPPLIES ARE SPREAD OUT AMONG ALL THE REST OFF OUR SILENT HEROES.BUT IT WOULDN’T HURT TO SPREAD THE WORD.I’M SURE NOTHING GOES TO WASTE. THEY ALL KNOW HOW TO SHARE.
    SUPPORT OUR K-9S,AND THATS AN ORDER!!!!!

  26. ANITA,
    AYE,AYE ,TO YOU.WE DO SEND A LOT OF STUFF TO THE K-9S AND I KNOW THAT THE EXTRA SUPPLIES ARE SPREAD OUT AMONG ALL THE REST OFF OUR SILENT HEROES.BUT IT WOULDN’T HURT TO SPREAD THE WORD.I’M SURE NOTHING GOES TO WASTE. THEY ALL KNOW HOW TO SHARE.
    SUPPORT OUR K-9S,AND THATS AN ORDER!!!!!

  27. ANITA,
    AYE,AYE ,TO YOU.WE DO SEND A LOT OF STUFF TO THE K-9S AND I KNOW THAT THE EXTRA SUPPLIES ARE SPREAD OUT AMONG ALL THE REST OFF OUR SILENT HEROES.BUT IT WOULDN’T HURT TO SPREAD THE WORD.I’M SURE NOTHING GOES TO WASTE. THEY ALL KNOW HOW TO SHARE.
    SUPPORT OUR K-9S,AND THATS AN ORDER!!!!!

  28. OK OK, Big Bro Jim, I get the Msg!! LOL I tell everyone if their Mama’s didn’t teach them to share the military did, especially the Marines, so send alot!

  29. Anita’s right about Marines sharing. I sent a female care package via anymarine female and got a thankyou from one female Marine who took ONE thing out of it.

  30. ANITA.
    YES SEND WHAT YOU CAN.WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND.MAYBE THAT FRUIT CAKE YOU SENT OVER LAST YEAR. I HAVE GOTTEN A LOT OF THANK YOU GIFTS FROM OUR TROOPS.THEY ARE ALL SPECIAL TO ME,BUT THE CLASSIC IS AN IRAQI FLAG SIGNED BY THREE YOUNG LADY MARINES HANGING IN MY OFFICE.
    KAREN I SALUTE YOU ALSO, ALONG WITH ANITA,LETA AND ALL THE REST OF OUR SUPPORTERS.
    SO KEEP GIVING, IT DOSEN’T HURT.

  31. I wanna thank you for being behind the soilders. Because some ppl have to be. They need us at this time. I believe you speak the truth about how they are idiots. No one should ever spit in a heroes face. Even my mom said if that ever happened and she seen it, she would not stand for it. She is a great women. She sends care packages to the soldiers and writes them till they get back safely. And when she sees me all she talks about is her soldiers and how they are and hoping they are doing ok. Thats why i love my mom and i love what you did for your blog. Thanks again. Love you lots,
    Krista

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