Mission Accomplished…Again! And this time we won for reals!
The trendline is clear, even brutally clear: The COIN strategy is working exactly as planned. Barring any significant changes, the Iraq war is, for all military intents and beyond all argument, over; and it has ended in victory for the United States and for a free and democratic Iraq.
What remains is mopping up… which will surely be deadly and surely result in the killings of many innocent civilians and of many American, Coalition, and Iraqi security forces. But the mop-up will not change the final result; the insurgency has been broken.
As al-Qaeda is driven out of Iraq, the ruling Shia see less and less reason to support or tolerate the “death squads,” which also kill Shia who don’t conform to the militias’ crabbed vision of Islam. More Shia will join “Mosul awakening” or “Basra awakening” type organizations and begin informing on militias and their murderous activities.
The major Shiite parties, DAWA and SCIRI, will find it much easier to cut the militias off at the knees than continue funding them and then apologizing for their activities; to the extent the militias will continue to exist at all, they will likely transition to launching occasional attacks on rival Shiite parties in advance of elections, as is the Arabic way of democracy: The days of a hundred throat-slittings a day of randomly selected Sunni Iraqis are gone, and they’re not likely ever to return… they were situational, caused by Shiite overreaction to al-Qaeda depredations.
The question now changes to the larger geopolitical conundrum: How to use Iraq as a model for transforming the Middle East and the larger Non-Integrating Gap. In the future, no matter who is president, we shall require Gap countries to become more or less democratic states that are basically secure and basically free; and we shall require them to enter the global grid of communications, capitalism, and political moderation.
Onward to Iran, United Federation of
Planets Gap Countries! And set your phasers to dumb…