Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Gauging the Strength of the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq

Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia: Gauging the Strength of the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq

Michael Eisenstadt provides an admirably analytic comment on the insurgency. His major conclusion, based on historical comparisons, is that the insurgency could grow much larger. This is certainly correct.As I have told many different audiences, in Lebanon, the successful and hugely popular resistance to the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon consisted of a full time cadre of 500 or less. Much of the effective strength were effectively reserves. People who would close their shop or office to go on operations for a few days. Thus, the resistance was like an accordian. While the standing strength at any one time was relatively modest, the working strength was much, much larger. The parallel to Iraq is clear. The standing strength may "only" be 10,000 but the effective strength in terms of possible support may be ten times that number. This is important, obviously, because the draft constitution seems likely to stoke recruitment for the resistance.

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