How U.S. Strategists Missed Opportunity to nip in the bud Insurgency in Iraq

By Con George-Kotzabasis 
 The following was written on August 23, 2003 and is an extract from my book, Unveiling The War Against Terror, published in Melbourne on May 9, 2004. under the title How to Legitimize the Interim Government in Iraq and How to Trap Terrorists. It’s republished here for the purpose of higlighting the serious errors committed by the Bush administration in the initial stages of the occupation of Iraq. But despite these errors I was unshakable in my belief that the U.S. would defeat the insurgents as presently is happening under the generalship of Petraeus.

As events have shown, the Americans implemented at the beginning of 2004 two of the proposals below–though not quick enough and not in the form I suggested in regards to the second, i.e., the formation of an elite National Guard–(a) the establishment of the Interim Government and (b) the arming of Iraqis. But to my surprise and chagrin, they did not implement the core of my plan, i.e., to make Iraqis the owners of oil (They did this too late, under Article 108 of the Constitution of Iraq, voted by Iraqis in 2005, “Oil and gas are the ownership of all the people of Iraq in all regions”, without however making them direct equity holders and paying them dividends in advance, as I had suggested), that in my opinion if they had done so (a) would have prevented the insurgency and (b) would have captured or killed the foreign jihadists.

Paradoxically, it could be Iraq, allied with the American Coalition Forces, that would be instrumental to the defeat of global Islamist terror. By the capture or killing of a substantial number of Jihadists who, at the end of the major combat operations against Saddam Hussein, were able to infiltrate into Iraq, with the aim to fight and destroy the American infidel occupier, with the help of local remnants of Saddam’s supporters and Islamist fundamentalists. It’s for this reason of the utmost importance, that the Coalition Forces do not prevent the infiltration of terrorists into Iraq, from neighbor muslim countries, as the distinguished war historian John Keegan suggests in one of his recent articles, but, on the contrary, facilitate their entry into the country and trap them.

The set up of this trap will be accomplished by two imaginative strategic moves, as will be explained below, with which the American led-coalition in alliance with the future Interim Government of Iraq and its military forces, would achieve its three major political and military objectives. First, the formation of a legitimate democratic government in Iraq. Secondly, the substantial defeat of global terrorism. And thirdly, the quick withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq. Hence, the Bush administration at one fell swoop would succeed in keeping the promises it made to the American people and to the world at large, about the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq, and about the war against global terror.

The two-pronged stratagem will involve the following: The first one will entail the hastening of the formation of an Interim Government ( IG ) in Iraq by its present Governing Council. At its formation, the IG will make the following historical announcement to the Iraqi people. That the latter will be equity holders in the major wealth of the country, i.e., its oil production. Each Iraqi household will be a recipient of an annual dividend from the profits of oil. That this is not a promise for the future but a real offer, will be exemplified by the immediate payment of the dividend to each Iraqi household, whose amount will be assessed from the flow of oil profits issuing from future sales. This advanced payment will be funded either by a newly-established financial institution of the UN, or of the IMF or the World Bank.

The equity of the Iraqi people in the major resource of the country will effectively demonstrate the bona fides of the IG to Iraqis, and will immediately confer unassailable legitimacy to it. It will blot out all internal initial opposition to the IG as being a quisling governing body of the Americans, as well as take the wind off the sails of all the jaded “unembedded” commentators, who claim that the US invaded Iraq for its oil. In the same announcement, the IG will inform the Iraqi people of the formation of an elite National Guard, whose objective, among others, will be the safeguarding and protection of this national property of the people from any incendiary acts of sabotage against its producing facilities perpetrated by either external or internal enemies of Iraq.

The Americans will have nothing to fear from the formation of the National Guard. As the latter will be mainly enlisted from former members of the Republican Guard, who were nurtured on secular principles, and whose loyalty to Saddam arose only from the fact of their elite status given to them by the latter. Moreover, the members of this elite overwhelmingly have enormous respect of American military power, and of the personnel manning that power. Therefore, as an elite corps, they will be proud to serve as equals with their American counterparts, in defense of Iraq’s national interests.

The second prong of the stratagem will be a proclamation made by the IG to the Iraqi people ( And this act will sound the clap of the trap that will catch the Jihadist terrorists en masse. The proclamation will be made in the following terms: That any one who harbors, aids, and supports Iraqi and foreign guerrillas will be considered to be an enemy of the State and of the Iraqi people. And will be dealt with the ultimate punishment, as that to be meted out to the terrorist guerrillas. At the same time, the IG will issue an order, not only to the National Guard and the adjunct security forces of the country, but, also, to its Coalition allies in Iraq, to commence a relentless punitive campaign against the guerrillas and those who harbor and support them, and pluck them out of the soil of Iraq, root and branch. This order of the IG will bestow legality to the actions of the American led-coalition already taken against urban guerrillas, as they will be seen by Iraqis to have the imprimatur of their Government. Furthermore, that the American Command Centre and its ground forces will be abiding to, and executing, this order of the Iraqi Government, will have a tremendous psychological impact upon the Iraqi people. Because of the primary status that pride has in Arab culture, this will be a proud moment for all Iraqis.

This order of the IG, will accomplish two strategic tasks. First, it will make a strong impression on the Iraqi people, that the American led-coalition are not an occupier of their country, but a defender of their interests. Secondly, and more importantly, the fear that will instil on people in Iraq who aid and support guerrillas ( this time fear will be on the side of a good cause, unlike Saddam’s fear ), that they will be treated as traitors and hence punished accordingly, will induce them to stop sheltering the guerrillas and abandon them. Once the terrorists are abandoned, by their current and would-be supporters, they will be consigned to the “furies” of their fate. As they will be forced to operate “in no man’s land” , where they would be easily captured or killed by the National Guard and the Coalition forces.

This trap sprang on the Jihadist terrorists will be a devastating blow on global terrorism. It will demoralize active and would-be terrorists on such an immence scale with the outcome of drying up the well from which fundmentalist mullahs get their deadly recruits. And providing these mullahs are severely dealt with by the Coalition against global terror, wherever they happen to be, in the East or in the West, the black veil of death will enshroud the heads of terror. The Bush administration’s total war against global terror, not only will be justified, but it will also be a glorious total victory against it, morally, politically, and historically.

The above is an extract from my book Unveiling The War Against Terror written on August 23, 2003. My proposal was sent to the WhiteHouse on the same date.


Bush not the only problem

By Owen Harris, On Line Opinion, October 26, 2007

A reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

The respectable Australian commentantor on international affairs Owen Harris writes, “the US and the American people are experiencing a crisis of confidence” and “anti-Americanism is at all times high”. In my opinion the first issues from the US’s involvement in the war of Iraq and due to the initial serious tactical errors committed by it in the aftermath of the fall of the Saddam regime and on the up till now irresolution of the war. This “crisis of confidence” however, is momentary because it’s precisely related to the unresolved war. And the signs are favorable. As Americans have corrected their mistakes and are implementing a new strategy under their capable commander General Petraeus they seem to be winning the war—as I always believed that they would—and according from reports on the ground are “crippling al Qaeda”. Hence, the restoration of “respect and credibility” to the US depends on the defeat of the insurgency in Iraq.

The second issue, anti-Americanism is not new. It was always there although in a milder form—it goes with the trappings of being the sole superpower—and it was exacerbated as a result of the “mishandling” of the war and the bad publicity of the liberal media against the Bush administration.

To be respected and credible a superpower must implement its foreign policy with wisdom and resolve and undeviatingly from the main threat it faces. The US has not lost the capacity to do so. Once the powerful blast of the trumpets of US power flatten the walls of Jericho, the Iraqi insurgency, the benign prestigious hegemony of America will continue to play its historical role as the axis of world order and peace.