U.S. Arming Likely Enemies

An Act of Desperation Shows Dishonesty and Disaster of Iraq

The U.S. military has decided to provide arms to Sunni Arab groups some of who have been suspected of involvement in attacks on Americans. This act of desperation shows the deceit in any claims of success of the “surge.” The DoD would not be taking this risky approach if the U.S. military strategy was working.

On June 11th the NY Times reported, “With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.”

The Times reports, “American commanders say, the Sunni groups are suspected of involvement in past attacks on American troops or of having links to such groups.” The U.S. military now plans to provide weapons, arms, money and fuel to these groups.

The Department of Defense seems to be repeating a mistake made too often in U.S. foreign policy — provide arms and ammunition to people who then become enemies — indeed the hall of fame of enemies armed by the U.S. includes the recent additions of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Unless perpetual war is wanted it seems absurd to arm your future enemies.
ABC News quoted an anonymous DoD source explaining the risky choice: “This may blow up in our faces, but it can’t get any worse than its been.” Indeed, it can: U.S. weapons could be used against U.S. troops. The U.S. could be providing weapons that will fuel the civil war — the US has already been funding the Shia’a side. Or, the Iraqi government may find itself at war with large well-armed groups of its citizens. NBC’s concluded his report quoting critics inside the military who fear this could backfire if these Sunni fighters turn against the United States.

A similar strategy, less than a year old in Fallujah is falling apart. DoD is calling the “new” strategy the “Anbar Model” because it was used with tribal chiefs in Anbar for the last nine months. But, on the same day that the plan to arm Sunni’s in Baghdad was announced, the Washington Post reported that the Anbar tribal coalition was falling apart.

Why is the Anbar Model failing in Anbar? The Post reports, “Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, 35, a leader of the Dulaim confederation, the largest tribal organization in Anbar, said that the Anbar Salvation Council would be dissolved because of growing internal dissatisfaction over its cooperation with U.S. soldiers and the behavior of the council’s most prominent member, Abdul Sattar Abu Risha. Suleiman called Abu Risha a ‘traitor’ who ‘sells his beliefs, his religion and his people for money.’” Risha is very close to the U.S. military.

The Post goes on to describe the central dilemma: “Should the United States be sponsoring profit-oriented tribal groups that involve themselves in sometimes fragile alliances and that could turn against U.S. troops?” The Post quotes Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as asking whether the U.S. should be trying to pay for tribal loyalty: “The question with a group like this always is, does it stay bought?”

Now, the Pentagon plans to expand this policy into turbulent areas in Baghdad. The Times reports: “the areas include parts of Baghdad, notably the Sunni stronghold of Amiriya, a district that flanks the highway leading to Baghdad’s international airport; the area south of the capital in Babil province known as the Triangle of Death, site of an ambush in which four American soldiers were killed last month and three others abducted, one of whose bodies was found in the Euphrates; Diyala Province north and east of Baghdad, an area of lush palm groves and orchards which has replaced Anbar as Al Qaeda’s main sanctuary in Iraq; and Salahuddin Province, also north of Baghdad, the home area of Saddam Hussein.”

Why is the Pentagon risking providing arms to potential enemies? Last week the former Iraq war commander, retired General Ricardo Sanchez said in an interview the U.S. can forget about winning in Iraq. As Jawaharlal Nehur, the Indian statesman said, “A man who is afraid will do anything.” And, the Pentagon is afraid.

Kevin Zeese co-directs Popular Resistance and is on the coordinating council for the Maryland Green Party. Read other articles by Kevin, or visit Kevin's website.

2 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. atheo said on June 12th, 2007 at 7:36am #

    Kevin! What a disappointment you are! Why should Sunnis be “likely enemies” of the US? Likely enemies of Israel, yes, but there is no logic in your position for Americans. Our “enemies” are the dual citizen neocons in charge of the pentagon, please keep that straight.

  2. sharon said on June 15th, 2007 at 7:36am #

    Jawaharlal Nehur might have added, “A man who is insane will do anything.”

    Actually, you can see this disconnect from reality at work almost any day of the week: In your workplace, in the educational system, in private life–the adoption of absurd strategies or the spontaneous irruption of destructive and self-destructive behaviors–seemingly for no reason at all, with no basis at all.

    It’s less disturbing that we see such strategies pursued in Iraq than that we see these strategies pursued everywhere.

    We see that the the economic system is foundering, or educational system is failing to educate, or that the society at large is more and more cumbered with the impoverished and the lawless. In response to this, some project is initiated, whose basic premise is that the use of coercive power (and large expenditures) will bring intractable realities to heel.

    The whole society is encased in monolithic structures that don’t work and which have a structural disconnect from reality. These structures are headed and controlled by people who are heavily invested in this disconnect–because these structures confer power and prestige upon them–people with a deep implicit belief that these vast structures, mere empty fabrications of diseased minds, may be maintained by force of will and money. (I mean all of the social, economic, and political structures of the whole society.)

    To be brief, these structures are headed and controlled by people who are insane, more or less by definition, since this what is implied by absolute belief in a delusion.

    The continual emergence of insane behaviors and insane strategies is precisely what you would expect. The delusional structures collide with reality, and the collision demands some further elaboration of the delusion, some further application of coercive power to enforce the delusion.

    We seem to have reached the point where insanity requires neither apology nor explanation, and is unresponsive to reason and objective reality, and the disbelief in the latest deluded project is merely heresy–since there can no longer be even a pretext that it is supported by fact or reason.