Iraq, getting better or worse?

Update 01: See Dan Darling’s response here at Winds of Change.

As you can tell from my postings, I haven’t made much commentary regarding the situation in Iraq. This is chiefly because others (see the links on the right) already do a great job at analyzing the situation and the situation in Iraq is at many times too fluid and opaque for me to make heads or tails of it.

Here’s an example, which I pointed out in a comment at WoC, both from October 23, 2005.

This is a comment by Dan Darling, in a posting discussing the Iraqi Referendum:

I actually think that violence has been going down (at least from where it was when the insurgents started mounting attacks in a big way in April) for a longer period than that, particularly with regard to the number as well as the scope of mass casualty terrorist attacks in the country.

That said, a drop in violence is still a drop in violence, as is the fact that a lot of Sunnis are now engaged in the political process, even as an opposition force, rather than operating outside of it. As I think Eric has noted in the past, there are definite fault lines between the various insurgent groups, some of which are far more open to political participation than others.

And over at Global Guerillas, John Robb mentions, while discussing a recent halt in Iraqi oil exports:

On a side note, the US military’s inability to reverse neither the Iraqi insurgency’s tempo of operations nor its rate of innovation has created a stressed system that may result in a moral turning point. As one analyst suggested to me, it is only a matter of time now before Iraqi guerrillas overrun a US fire-base. The loss of life and drama from that event could cause a rapid collapse in our moral cohesion.

So, which is it? To be fair, Dan Darling mentions that the insurgents seem to shifting from targeting Iraqi civilians to U.S. military. Regardless, Dan Darling points to a drop of violence and possible political engagement with certain segments of the insurgents. John Robb blatantly states that the tempo of the insurgents haven’t decreased, that they have crippled Iraq’s oil operations and that it was only a matter of time before the insurgents overrun a U.S. firebase.

So, which is? Is it either/or? Or perhaps oddly, are the insurgents becoming more political open as their tempo of operation increasing? What is going on there in Iraq?

PS: From my understanding, Firebase (FB) is a temporary forward encampment providing artillery support.







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