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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Underestimating General Petraeus

Welcome to the MSN messageboard members, kick back, browse through the site and hope to see you here more often.

News article by AP that seems to be the talk of the day tells me a few things, one of the major things it shows me, a person looking in from the outside, is that al-Sadr underestimated General Petraeus and his new strategy and relied too heavily on OUR media, believing what he read, then figuring out that wasn't such a smart move.

I will show you some excerpts then explain what I mean with that last paragraph.

BAGHDAD - The renegade cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged Iraqi forces to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerrilla fighters to concentrate their attacks on American troops rather than Iraqis, according to a statement issued Sunday.

The statement, stamped with al-Sadr's official seal, was distributed in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Sunday — a day before a large demonstration there, called for by al-Sadr, to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.

"You, the Iraqi army and police forces, don't walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your archenemy," the statement said. Its authenticity could not be verified.

In the statement, al-Sadr — who commands an enormous following among
Iraq's majority Shiites and has close allies in the Shiite-dominated government — also encouraged his followers to attack only American forces, not fellow Iraqis.

"God has ordered you to be patient in front of your enemy, and unify your efforts against them — not against the sons of Iraq," the statement said, in an apparent reference to clashes between al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fighters and Iraqi troops in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad. "You have to protect and build Iraq."

Unknowingly al-Sadr has just played right into General Petraeus' plans and I will explain why.

When the President announced the new strategy that General Petraeus was implementing in Iraq, I did a number of posts, showing the news that was coming from the "so called" surge, al-Qaeda sending commands to their people to leave, as well as arresting over 400 members of the Mahdi army, one of the most violent militias in Iraq, and al-Sadr running like a wimp and hiding out in Iran.

The thought process was that the Iraqi forces along with the US and coalition forces would clear then leave as they had done before, but the new strategy changes that to clear and hold, which is something al-Sadr did not count on, which is why todays AP article is important.

As I showed you on March 11, in a post called "What If", the difference in our previous efforts and this one was noticed by Wapo as well as some very very early successes.

al-Sadr miscalculated....pure and simple.

He thought that if he ran and hid in Iran, (layed low) that the Iraqi forces with the US and coalition forces would clear areas then move on, but he underestimated General Petraeus and his new strategy and instead the General has our forces clear the area, then introduced our forces to the population as their new neighbors..... and we stayed to keep it clear.

This wasn't what al-Sadr counted on, by any means.

So now, after retreating, hiding in Iran and understanding that his new strategy was backfiring, al-sadr now is issuing his orders.

Problem is, now he has played into General Petraeus' hands completely.

We would rather them come after OUR troops, who are more than ready, willing and able to take al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army on, in fact, our troops overwhelmingly state that they would prefer a head on, toe to toe fight, than watching the killing of innocent Iraqi citizens then being forced to "react".

In the meantime, al-sadr with his miscalculation has lost quite a bit of ground and now the areas that we (the Iraqi forces, the US and coalition forces) have cleared and taken control of, those Iraqi citizens no longer want al-Sadr and his army there.

He lost ground and there is no way to gain it back, thanks to General Petraeus and his new strategy using counterinsurgency.

As usual, Captain's Quarters explains it perfectly:

The Mahdis have a big problem, though, and that is that they relinquished momentum to the US and Iraqi forces several weeks ago. They have been pushed farther to the margins in Baghdad, and the residents there do not want to see them return. Sadr's flight and apparent refusal to return publicly makes them look weak and craven. The Iraqi forces present an even more difficult problem politically, as they are primarily Shi'ite and have growing support from the populace -- and no matter what Sadr orders, it will be difficult to attack Americans without engaging the Iraqis as well.

Sadr has proven himself an adept politician, but a lousy general. Having him switch back into that role is a victory in itself for the American forces. Najaf residents recall the disastrous campaign Sadr staged there earlier in the Iraq war. His declaration in that city will likely result in more skepticism than enthusiasm, especially since Sadr keeps mailing in his orders from Iran.

Read the whole thing....

I fully admit that this is the type of strategy that should have been implemented years ago, it wasn't, it was a mistake and no one is questioning that.

It IS being implemented now, it has seen tremendous success and al-Sadr has just given us the opportunity to fight this fight on our terms finally and if I had to place a bet, I guarantee you my money would be on General Petraeus and our troops, 100%.

I think al-Sadr's miscalculation, in this instance, will be his and his army's undoing.

Let the defining fight in Iraq begin......