Iraq Prognosis 5

Juan Cole’s Informed Comment is probably my favourite blog. I had the privilege to meet Juan over dinner last year. I have a healthy regard for my own powers of reasoning, but I came away from meeting Juan with the thought: “Wow! I wish I was as smart as him”.

So it is perhaps strange that (I think) this is the first time I have linked to his blog, and it’s to a piece not by him but that somebody has sent him. It seems to me such a good prognosis of the military situation in Iraq I thought it was worth calling your attention to it.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Guest Comment: Iraq Prognosis

A canny Vietnam veteran wrote me the below but requested that it be posted without attribution. I thought it well worth sharing.

As I see it, these are some of the things we can expect in the next seven months in Iraq:

1. The last of the “surge” forces (American), will arrive by mid June;

2. About 1400 British soldiers, well trained and adept at urban conflict, will leave the South of Iraq. As one can see by reviewing’s latest listings, 13 (at least), British and/or Polish troops stationed in the South have been killed, almost all by hostile fire. Ths is a increase in British hostile fire losses, and comes when the prospect of Iraqi or American troops entering the fray in the south would pose a dilution of the surge forces. No Americans have really ever been stationed in the south of Iraq, among predominantly Shia populations. The methodology the UK forces have used has been learned in Northern Ireland, and is much more sophisticated than any approach Americans have used. As a result, units which may have been in Iraq previously, but are now peopled by a fair number of new grunts, will cut their teeth in the southern Iraq. Because of much more heavy handed approaches, lack of sophisticated skills in urban war, and an increase in various Shia militia more radical than Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, the Americans will cause one incident of cause cel’bre in the South;

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5 thoughts on “Iraq Prognosis

  • writeon

    Recently I read that the Pentagon has become concerned that the ability of the the United State's military could be curtailed because of the dramatically rising cost of oil and the coming "squeeze" on physical supplies as oil production starts it's long decline. The United State's military is probably the single largest institutional consumer of oil on the planet and as such is accutely aware of the strategic importance of oil in relation to America's national security.

    The world currently consumes about 85 million barrels of oil every day, day after day, all year round. The United States uses about a quarter of all that oil. The Pentagon swallows over a million barrels of oil a day, perhaps as much a two million barrels. All those men, all those planes and ships gorge themselves on oil.

    For years the entire Middle East has been regarded as a area of unfulfilled potential. If only the region could be opened-up to foreign investment, far more oil could be produced; oil that would power our economic growth and perhaps more importantly, our position as the primary militarty and economic power on the planet.

    Iraq is regarded as the real jewel in the region. They are those who believe that Iraq contains fantastic ammounts of untapped oil. Perhaps only 10% of Iraq has been properly surveyed. There are those who believe Iraq contains two hundred billion barrels of oil, some believe in contains over four hundred billion barrels of oil. A prize of almost unimaginable worth.

    If these numbers are accurate, Iraq is the most important country in the world, a key to wealth and power for decades to come. The country that controls Iraq's oil will literally control the world.

  • writeon

    The point, which I should have made more clearly, is, that if one truly believes that those numbers are potentially accurate, because one has to/is forced to believe them, then one will remain in Iraq for a long, long time.

    These huge numbers are probably an aluring desert mirage, but if Bush/Cheney and the Pentagon believe them, then I pity the future for ordinary people in Iraq.

  • Craig


    I don't disagree at all with your basic argument; whatever new oil law the puppet government passes, will require a long term commitment of US troops if the oil companies are to invest.

  • writeon

    I read today that Iraq is supposed to have 115 billion barrels of proven reserves, whatever that actually means.

    I do feel sorry, which given the circumstances is a rather inadequate word, for the Iraqi people though. The truly horrendous level of destruction and the staggering death toll we've rained down on them, is almost unthinkable.

    I really wonder about the health of our collective morality and level of civilization, that we've allowed this to happen in our name. What does it say about our culture that we haven't, for whatever reason, risen-up and chased our lying, bloodthirsty leaders from power? Is our ingnorance an excuse? Is our apathy and powerlessness enough of an excuse?

    On the other side of the scale there's the nature of the rape of Iraq. It's so bad, that we should have done something about it and at the very least held Blair it account. Can he really be allowed to just wash his hands clean of all the blood and walk away free? If this happens, what does it say about the kind of people and culture we've become? What has happened to our humanity and our values, if this man gets away with it and the killing just goes on and on?

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