Captured documents from an al-Zarqawi safehouse in Yusufiyah reveal al-Qaeda’s changing Iraq strategy. Rather than concentrate their forces in restive al-Anbar Province, where US and Iraqi forces have been hitting the terrorists hard, al-Qaeda plans to cause as much havoc in Baghdad as they can – once again trying to spark sectarian conflict.
Also noted in the 5-page document is this little gem:
The document complains that the losses of American forces in Baghdad “are hardly worth mentioning” compared to American losses in the western provinces. And, in the concluding paragraph, the document says the “rank and file” of the mujahideen in Baghdad know their leadership does not have “a broad view” or “a well-knit plan” and that “this has led to strategic losses for us.”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Except in the case of al-Qaeda, it’s true. While the US has virtually cut off the critical supply lines running along the Euphrates River, the terrorists of al-Qaeda have been forced to go on the run. In the past three years al-Qaeda has tried to evict the American and coalition forces, and failed. They’ve tried to establish a new Islamic caliphate – and failed. They have tried to bunker down in the hills of the Kurdish north, which provides the sort of mountainous terrain al-Qaeda is used to working in after years of being based in Afghanistan – and the peshmerga pushed them out. Former bases of operations like Fallujah and Tel Afar are no longer safe for al-Qaeda. The attempts to cause the Iraqi government to fail have thus far been entirely unsuccessful. Instead of becoming the center of the Iraqi resistance, al-Qaeda is viewed as a bunch of foreign invaders by many Sunni groups.
On every level, al-Qaeda has failed. After 3 years of conflict, including a long occupation of hostile territory in which arms are plentiful, the US has had a casualty rate of less than 2 percent. That is absolutely unprecedented in the history of warfare. That doesn’t belittle the sacrifice of those American soldiers who gave their lives in this conflict, but it also speaks to the level of professionalism and sophistication of the military as a whole. Never in the history of warfare has anything like this been done with such little loss of life. Yet we’re all supposed to believe that the US military is near defeat.
That kind of crude propagandizing may fool the ignorant back home, but it doesn’t mask the reality of the situation that al-Qaeda faces. They were hoping that all they’d need to do is kill a few US soldiers and we’d go home with our tails between our legs. But despite their best efforts to turn Iraq into a replay of Mogadishu, and despite the complicity of the press in achieving that end, al-Qaeda has failed to do so.
Iraq is a quagmire – it’s just not our quagmire. We don’t know what the casualty rate is for al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq, but it’s almost certainly much, much higher than 2%. Al-Qaeda has failed to hold territory for very long, failed to establish their vision of an Islamic caliphate, failed to get the support of many Sunni tribes, and continues to fail at stopping the progress of democracy in Iraq.
And yet we’re supposed to believe that it’s our side that’s losing?