Editor’s note: Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.
Almost daily attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq are taking their toll.
Is this a quagmire? Has Washington miscalculated the costs of liberating Iraq? Does America have the stomach for a protracted conflict? Has the U.S. become engulfed in an “Iraqifada”?
That’s what some intelligence experts and security analysts are calling the emerging guerrilla war in Iraq – linking it with Israel’s protracted battle with Palestinian terrorists for the last three years.
Those sources interviewed by Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin say America is indeed repeating some of the mistakes of the past – believing it can win the hearts and minds of Iraqis by improving their quality of life and public services.
Israel, which in the years between 1967 and the beginning of the first Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in 1986, is an example of the futility of such policies, says the G2 Bulletin report. Israel spent billions improving the quality of life and public services in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It may have been the humanitarian thing to do, but it had no impact on anti-Israeli Palestinians, who opted for terrorism instead of appreciation, say G2 Bulletin sources.
Experts on military rule of occupied territories agree that a humanitarian approach is a must, but add it should never undermine the military approach to terrorism and guerrilla warfare.
An Egyptian intelligence officer, in touch with Western embassies in Cairo, was among those who reacted to recent scenes of demonstrators chanting anti-U.S. slogans and stoning British troops, while in another neighborhood coalition soldiers were cleaning the streets.
“An army cleaning streets cannot be taken seriously” said the Egyptian officer, who spoke to G2 Bulletin under the assurance of anonymity.
He and others in the Middle East said that if the coalition wants to devote efforts to clean neighborhoods, there is work for 100 years to come available in the decaying neighborhoods of Cairo or Mogadishu or thousands of other communities in the developing world, where neglect is part of the unfortunate way of life.
A former Israel Defense Forces intelligence officer, Lt. Colonel Ret. Simon Mendes, who worked for many years in the civil administration of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, told G2 Bulletin that “an army involved in civil duties and not in military tasks is unacceptable in the Arab world.”
He and others have suggested allowing the Iraqis to solve their own municipal issues. A similar opinion was expressed by former British and French military personnel with experience in North Africa or the Middle East, observing with great concern the situation in Iraq. They expressed concern over the state of coalition forces and their morale.
Counter-terror and counter-insurgency analysts believe the situation in Iraq is steadily moving to guerrilla warfare and especially to the most complicated style of this kind of war – namely urban guerrilla. Analysts say the more coalition troops continue to confront hostile religious, ideological and intelligence elements, the more Iraq will become destabilized. Any military study will show that lack of determination and resolve and too much “political correctness” can cost armies the fruit of their victories, say G2 Bulletin sources.
Among the anti-coalition forces active at this early stage of the post-war are the following elements, according to G2 Bulletin:
- Syrian intelligence and its terror tentacles.
- Iranian intelligence, the Revolutionary Guard, and their controlled terror groups.
- Former members of the Baath police security and secret services.
- Professional Iraqi army officers and others hurt by the May 24 decision to dissolve the Iraqi army and thus terminating their income, pensions, etc.
- Local Shiite clergy, political and militia groups including “newcomers” from Iran.
- Arab Sunni and Arab Shiite Iraqis in Kurdish-controlled areas.
- Agents working for pariah nations with strong anti-American agendas, such as North Korea, which at this time are interested in seeing more American troops pinned down anywhere else but the Far East.
- Pan-Islamic terror groups such as Jamaa Islamiah.
- Wahabi-oriented Islamic terrorist organizations influenced by al-Qaida’s ideology.
- Extreme Muslim organizations based in the West and active in collecting funds and recruiting volunteers to fight against “Infidels.”
- Islamic terror organizations with Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, Jordanian and Sudanese backgrounds.
- Islamic terror organizations from the Gulf region and the Horn of Africa.
- Lebanon-based Hezbollah and its cells in Iraqi Shiite centers.
- Palestinian extremists such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad with a strong anti-U.S. agenda.
All the above-mentioned groups and more have no problem in acquiring weapons, especially light arms and explosives. These are the main weapons used in urban guerrilla campaigns. They also don’t have any problem obtaining portable rockets of various types, mortars and heavy machine-guns. Most of those weapons are stacked away in many Iraqi homes.
Weapons are mainly available in the countryside and tribal areas. A review of hundreds of deserted Iraqi army camps across the country shows that millions of military items, from pistols to main battle tanks, were left lying around at the end of the war. To date, the coalition has not revealed what was collected. A Defense Intelligence Agency officer described the situation as “a real weapon bonanza.” He ridiculed attempts to provide legal shelter or funds to those who surrender their weapons, saying: “For any rifle surrendered, there are probably another 10 stashed away in the basement.”
A few months after the official end of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” there is no sign yet of attempts to create a hostile umbrella organization of anti-coalition and anti-American forces. However, sources in the CIA and the Egyptian intelligence as well as Israelis, British and Jordanians, claim embryonic attempts to form an anti-coalition block have already begun in Iran and Syria.
One of the most dangerous developments in this respect is the disbanding of the pro-Iranian, anti-Iraqi Bader Corps. organization, led by Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. His organization, with thousands of fighters, was allowed by the coalition to re-enter Iraq from Iran under the promise members would leave their weapons behind. Together all these groups total more than 15,000 well-trained guerrillas now operating in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, under the guise of “humanitarian activities.” Hussein Ali al-Bader, a former officer of the Bader Corps., describes his activities in the capital as “operations of a humanitarian militia.”
Funds for this militia come from Iran, and, undoubtedly, the military structure of the group has remained unchanged. Should it decide to undertake any guerrilla or terrorist activities, members will have no problem in acquiring weapons from local resources.
The unfolding security complications in Iraq suggest the Pentagon may have failed to do its “homework,” say G2 Bulletin sources. Apparently the U.S. is still relying on disinformation disseminated by Iraqi exiles and lobby groups active in the years leading up to the war. The Pentagon and the State Department obviously had no doubts about the promises that almost every Iraqi was eagerly awaiting liberation.
A U.S. military spokesperson said foreign nationals, including Saudis, Yemenis, Syrians, Egyptians, Iranians and Palestinians are now active in Iraq. Many sources in Iraq are reporting massive infiltrations of anti-coalition volunteers.
Information coming from CENTCOM indicates another negative development – that the coalition has control of some of the main roads and the centers of large cities, but not the whole country. Very little is known about the situation in the countryside, along Iraq’s borders, in slums, remote dusty towns and even in the outskirts of Baghdad.
Another analysis shows growing problems in the area of intelligence-gathering. This does not include electronic or satellite intelligence, but rather the most important asset in counter-terrorism, namely human intelligence. Currently the coalition does not have a viable network of informants and agents. Without this kind of intelligence, it is almost impossible to conduct so-called “surgical operations,” including killing of guerrilla leaders and carrying the war into the areas where organizations and various groups are deployed.
An Israeli officer observing the situation in Iraq told G2 Bulletin the photos of dozens of handcuffed Iraqis, lying on the ground or being loaded onto trucks on their way to interrogation “is an indication the main intelligence response of the coalition is of a peripheral nature, hoping to find the needle in the haystack.” The officer said whatever success Israel has been demonstrating in her war on terrorism is based on years of experience and a reservoir of human intelligence. In a conversation with G2 Bulletin, the officer used the example of U.S. errors in 1993 in Mogadishu, when an attempt to extract a warlord was based on a poorly informed cab driver and lack of other intelligence, including a lack of understanding of the terrain and the firepower of the enemy.
A former British officer with experience in northern Ireland and the Persian Gulf and now a security consultant to some of the Gulf states, evaluated the situation by saying: “When I don’t see focused operations, such as the Israeli tactics in Gaza, or the former SAS operations against the IRA, I come to the only possible conclusion – that the strong side in the conflict, which should be pro-active and maintain the initiative, does not have enough intelligence to conduct ongoing aggressive operations and, therefore, might lose control.”
A number of experts and analysts have suggested several ways of operating in an environment that seemingly will demand the long-term presence of coalition troops and planning of strategy and tactics suitable for the Iraqi reality.
- Separation of civil, political, humanitarian and military goals. They cannot be interwoven and directed by the same officials and commanders.
- A military de facto government apparatus should be implemented without delay.
- Defining assets and infrastructure elements to be defended and safeguarded.
- Establishing Iraqi police and gendarmerie units including paid militias under the control of the coalition headquarters. Such forces could be used for policing and promoting local humanitarian and municipal goals.
- Developing an effective wide-range intelligence network and shaping concepts for immediate reactions to info. This should include the CIA, DIA and FBI experts.
- Increased deployment of Special Forces.
- Creation of new special units trained for the Iraqi environment. (Such units were developed during the Vietnam War and are the most successful counter-guerrilla force in the Israeli and other active armies combating terrorism).
- Aggressive strategies and tactics to secure Iraq’s borders. Full control by the coalition on all border crossings and ports of entry.
- Strict restrictions on political anti-coalition activities.
- Developing a concept of aggressive air patrols over areas known to harbor guerrillas.
- Developing special relationships with tribal leaders.
These recommendations might be essential as long as the final goal of pacifying Iraq has not been achieved, say G2 Bulletin source. Without such definitions and actions, it will be impossible to talk about “bringing the troops home before Christmas.” It will also be impossible to convince friendly nations to join the coalition and to accept missions beyond the traditional U.N.-inspired theories of buffer zones, separation of forces, humanitarian help and food distribution.
In conclusion, it is obvious that further deterioration in Iraq will indeed force the U.S. and its fighting men and women to face the inevitable eruption of an “Iraqifada.”
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