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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 16, 2005 / 7 Iyar, 5765

U.S. position in Iraq improves even as violence surges

By George Friedman


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Three processes are under way in Iraq. First, Sunni insurgents are waging the fourth major, sustained offensive since the fall of Baghdad. Second, the Iraqi government has been issuing detailed information about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Finally, the United States has launched a counterattack — dubbed "Operation Matador" — against insurgents in western Al Anbar province, which borders Syria.

Though the violence and death tolls on all sides are mounting, with a series of deadly bombings and other attacks, it appears — through the swirling dust and the fog of war — that al-Qaida in Iraq is in an increasingly untenable position.

Although the Sunni insurgency has been constant, it is useful to view it in terms of four phases. Prior to the current phase of insurgent operations, there was the offensive of fall 2003, the offensive of spring 2004, and the pre-election offensive. Each of these represented an intensification of operations by the guerrillas. It is true, if you look simply at the count of individual incidents, that the flow of battle seems steady. But individual incidents tell you nothing about the magnitude of the attacks or the capabilities displayed. Nor do they tell you about the political purposes of the actors.

In that sense, the current offensive represents a distinct phase in the war. The guerrillas are mounting more sophisticated attacks than in the past — albeit fewer — but their political purpose is clear-cut. The strikes are directed partly against the Iraqi government and partly against the Sunni political leadership. The guerrillas want to force the Sunni leaders to remain in opposition to the new Shia-dominated government. The campaign of violence is designed to illustrate what might happen to them if they participate in the new political process.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government began releasing information on May 9 as to the sources of the guerrillas' financing. Reuters quoted President Jalal Talabani as saying that al-Zarqawi's funding came from al-Qaida, as well as from Wahhabis in unnamed countries — clearly, Saudi Arabia. Talabani, a Kurd, also asserted that al-Zarqawi is isolated and poses no real threat to the government. Other Iraqi ministers echoed a similar line.

This sudden flow of information obviously originated with U.S. intelligence. It was designed to rattle al-Zarqawi and his followers by revealing how much is known about them, and also asserted that they are isolated. Obviously, that assertion by itself achieves nothing. However, coupled with a major U.S. offensive that appears to have captured a large number of guerrillas and possibly some senior leaders, the message is clear: U.S. intelligence has penetrated al-Zarqawi's ranks and is breaking the offensive.

At least, that is the perception the Americans are trying to deliver. Whether it is true is another matter. Several times in the past, it appeared that the guerrillas' security system had been broken. Several times in the past, the guerrillas managed to repair the breaches and move on — sometimes more intensely than before.

Breaching the security system and breaching it in such a way as to make it irreparable are two different things.

In speaking of the Americans, let's take a close look at the tactics being used against the militants (and anyone else looking for a fight) in western Iraq. This counteroffensive, which closely follows the capture of al-Zarqawi's lieutenants (and who might have spilled details about their leader's location and defenses) is designed to put pressure on militants in Iraq and possibly include the capture of al-Zarqawi.

All told, it appears that the United States is trying to make the best use it can of limited intelligence. Operational code names sometimes provide certain clues. Who could forget "Operation Snipe" in 2002? The name of the current offensive, Operation Matador, hints that U.S. forces are attempting to lure the jihadists into the open — probably by waving at least a portion of the U.S. force structure tantalizingly before them — and then bringing their superior fire power to bear once the militants have been flushed out. The tactic here would be either to present such a tempting target that the guerrillas could not resist mounting an attack, or else to pose such a compelling threat that they could not decline combat.

No matter what the outcome of Operation Matador turns out to be, the underlying fundamentals paint a grim picture for the Sunni insurgents.

At bottom, both they and the United States are fighting for the minds of the Sunni elders and for the Iraqi government, with the elders representing a key battleground. The Iraqi government is secure (although individual members of it may not be); it is the Sunni leadership that is up for grabs. And that is bad news for the guerrillas. If they win the Sunni leadership, they do not win the war — they simply get the chance to continue fighting. But if they lose the Sunni leadership, they lose the war. Therefore, the guerrillas are in much the same position as the United States was in Vietnam: They cannot win, but they can lose. That is a bad basis for any war.

Meanwhile, the United States is applying increasing pressure to jihadists in western and central Iraq, squeezing their supposed travel routes in and out of Syria. Their room to maneuver is getting tighter.

Though the war will not end for a long time, it is apparent that the underlying reality is improving for the United States, even as the surface situation — surging violence and guerrilla attacks — deteriorates.

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George Friedman is chairman of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., dubbed by Barron's as "The Shadow CIA," it's one of the world's leading global intelligence firms, providing clients with geopolitical analysis and industry and country forecasts to mitigate risk and identify opportunities. Stratfor's clients include Fortune 500 companies and major governments.


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