• Hearts, Minds and Dead Sunnis in Iraq

    September 15, 2014

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Iran, Iraq, Military, Syria

    A critical part of America’s plan to resolve all issues left unresolved after nine years of war and occupation is to divide the indigenous Sunnis from the “foreign” Sunnis, i.e., ISIS, and “unite” Iraq.

    As counter-insurgency theory teaches, bad guys can only thrive when they have local support, what Mao called the “water we swim in.”

    There is a familiar ring to the plan.

    Unity Plan, 2006

    In 2006 the U.S. brokered the ascension (remember the purple fingers?) of a new Shia Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, hand-picked to unite Iraq. A bright, shining lie of a plan followed. The U.S., applying vast amounts of money, created the Sahwa, the Sons of Iraq, the Anbar Awakening, a loose grouping of Sunnis who agreed to break with al Qaeda in return for a promised place at the table in the New(er) Iraq. The “political space” for this would be created by a massive escalation of the American military effort, called by its the more marketable name, The Surge. In the end the Shia government in Baghdad ignored American entreaties to be inclusive, effectively ending the effort.

    Unity Plan, 2014

    And so to 2014. The U.S. brokered the ascension (no purple fingers needed this time for visuals) of a new Shia Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, hand-picked to unite Iraq. His play so far along these lines? Asking his military to stop bombing and shelling his own-citizen Sunni civilians.

    Al-Abadi said on Saturday, after he held talks with travelin’ man U.S. Secretary of State Kerry in Baghdad, that he ordered his air force to halt strikes on civilian areas occupied by Iraqi citizens, albeit Sunnis. He also asked his Iraqi security forces to stop “the indiscriminate shelling” of civilian Sunni communities occupied by ISIS.


    The hearts and minds moves by al-Abadi follow several incidents which may yet have an effect for indigenous Sunni feelings toward unity.

    Senior Iraqi officials acknowledged in recent days that shelling by their armed forces has killed innocent civilians in the course of the battle against ISIS. Attacks on Sunni towns have been part of what many Sunnis call a pattern of sectarian bias by the Shiite-dominated security forces. Human Rights Watch reports one Iraqi government airstrike targeted a school near Tikrit housing displaced Sunni families fleeing ISIS. That strike killed at least 31 civilians, including 24 children. Human Rights Watch also reported earlier Iraqi government airstrikes, including six with the type of barrel bombs commonly used by Syrian leader Assad to kill his own people, had killed at least 75 civilians and wounded hundreds more in mainly Sunni areas.

    (Despite the incessant playing of the ISIS beheading videos of three Westerners, no images of the dead Sunni children have made it to American media.)

    Earlier this year the Iraqi Shia government also employed barrel bombs, U.S.-supplied Hellfire missiles as well as some of the 11 million rounds of ammunition the U.S. shipped in, against Sunni targets in Fallujah, itself the scene of some of the most intense U.S.-Sunni fighting during the previous Iraq War.

    Government-backed Shia militias have also been kidnapping and killing Sunni civilians throughout Iraq’s Baghdad, Diyala, and Hilla provinces over the past five months. Human Rights Watch documented the killings of 61 Sunni men early this summer, and the killing of at least 48 Sunni men in March and April.

    Memories are Long

    Many Sunnis see their own government as more of a threat than any ISIS occupation, given the record of the past eight years of Shia control. The Sunnis are also aware that the Shia government purportedly now seeks some measure of unity only after it was prompted by the United States. The Sunnis most clearly do remember being abandoned by the U.S. and the Shia government after they last agreed to break with a foreign Sunni group, al Qaeda, in 2007. You have the watch, but we have the time, says an Iraqi expression.

    Memories are long in the Middle East.

    Any sane human being welcomes a decision to not bomb and shell civilians, particularly if it is actually carried out. However, in the broader strategic context of Iraq, especially vis-a-vis American claims that Sunni-Shia unity is the key to stability, one wonders how much of the statement by the new Iraqi prime minister is based on the need to throw another bone to Americans always ready to proclaim another short term success, even as they speed walk down the road to Hell.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “As counter-insurgency theory teaches, bad guys can only thrive when they have local support, what Mao called the “water we swim in.”

      Better get some FBI guys to check out Michele Bachmann. Her district is a terrorist breeding hotbed.


      09/15/14 3:33 PM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...


      For there to be an insurgency there must be a legitimate government , which is sadly lacking since we destroyed the Saddam Iraq.
      This is not a COIN effort.
      jim hruska

      09/15/14 4:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      The strategy of lumping everyone together as a ‘black hat’ and also bombing civilians indiscriminately must be stopped. How much sense when you have an uprising or guerilla campaign, to go ahead and bomb civilians?? Is that helping one’s cause, or the other team’s?

      Maybe the neo-cons of the Iraqi Shi’a are worried if Kerry’s interactions with the powers that could influence the Sunnis turns out to be effective, there goes the war/financing/fate of certain pipelines?

      09/15/14 10:51 PM | Comment Link

    • chucky please said...


      For anyone abused by DOS this wednesday:

      The memory hole coughed this up:


      “An investigator for the Diplomatic Security Service subsequently launced an investigation into similar allegations against four other members of Clinton’s security detail but was ordered by Kimber Davidson, chief of the special investigations division, and Rob Kelty, his deputy, to shut down the investigation, the memo says.”

      Mr. Kelty is getting his citizen funded salary to attend school. Mr. Davidson was PROMOTED to chief of all investigations. The turd member of this special trio was given the division chief position for the JTTF even after shitting the bed on too many cases to count. If he prosecuted cases in his former shitty life half as vindictively as he persecuted people can’t figure out how this piece of shit wasn’t made a judge. This same special investigations division is full of agents who cheat on their wives, hire hookers, get shit faced, and then turn around and persecute their ‘fellow’ agents for the same crimes or even for no crimes. Soon time to name names. Bizarre how many good people are retiring from this agency leaving behind the saints.

      Rewarding assholes daily…

      09/15/14 11:45 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      chucky please said… “Rewarding assholes daily…”

      while prosecuting whistle blowers with impunity.

      There..fixed it.

      That whole statement should be engraved in Marble above the doors to every single USG agency, embassy, Congress and the White House.

      As for the CIA/NSA..I’d suggest a different set of words, too disparaging even to print here…fukit

      Torturing and Murdering Daily with Impunity
      While Fucking Anything We Can Get Our Hands On

      09/16/14 2:15 PM | Comment Link

    • Darko said...


      King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia conveyed that mgssaee to Vice President Dick Cheney two weeks ago during Mr. Cheney’s whirlwind visit to RiyadhI expect it was the other way around. Cheney explained the King’s role in the pantomime. “Oh, no he didn’t!”Oh, yes he did.

      09/25/14 2:02 AM | Comment Link

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