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About the Insurgency Abu Musab al-Zarqawi De-Baathification

About the Insurgency

» Iraq Insurgency Goals
This Q&A from the Council on Foreign Relations examines the various goals galvanizing the insurgent groups. (May 20, 2005)

» Iraq Insurgency
This site, from, has detailed analysis of known insurgent groups operating in Iraq.

» U.S. Military Is Split on Insurgency Strategy
This Los Angeles Times article describes the split: "On one side of the strategy debate is a growing cadre of military intellectuals and counterinsurgency experts who advocate an on-the-ground effort to deal with the insurgency, military analysts say. This group includes, along with Marine units such as those in western Iraq, mid-level officers such as Col. H.R. McMaster, commander of Army forces in Tall Afar, where a counterinsurgency campaign has been cited by President Bush as a model for the country. On the other side are senior officers, including those at the U.S. Central Command, who believe a reduced American presence will force Iraqis to take up the burden of fighting the insurgency." (May 13, 2006)

» Is There a Rift in Iraq's Insurgency?
Also from the Council on Foreign Relations, this Q&A looks at the reports of divisions among the various insurgent groups, U.S. attempts to exploit the rifts and whether any of the groups can be talked into ending their resistance. (Jan. 12, 2006)

» In Their Own Words: Reading the Iraqi Insurgency
Here, the International Crisis Group closely examines insurgent Web sites, Internet chat rooms, videos, tapes and leaflets to understand their motivations. Among the group's conclusions: The insurgency is becoming dominated by a few large groups with sophisticated communications strategies; it is becoming unified around a Sunni identity -- "virtually all adhere publicly to a blend of Salafism and patriotism"; there are no signs that insurgents are ready to join the political process or negotiate with the U.S.; the insurgents are acutely aware of public perceptions; and they are increasingly optimistic about victory. (Feb. 15, 2006)

» Iraq's Evolving Insurgency: The Nature of Attacks and Patterns and Cycles in the Conflict
In this analysis for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Anthony Cordesman examines in detail the insurgent attacks and concludes: "If the December 15, 2005 elections produce an inclusive national political structure that gives Iraq's Sunnis incentives to join the government and political process, many current Iraqi Sunni insurgents are likely to end their participation in the insurgency and the more extreme elements will be defeated." (Feb. 3, 2006)

» Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Iraq
According to Rand's Bruce Hoffman, the nature of the Iraq conflict is not so much a traditional insurgency, but more a netwar, "the concept of warfare involving flatter, more linear networks rather than the pyramidal hierarchies and command and control systems (no matter how primitive) that have governed traditional insurgent organizations." (June 2004)

» Building Iraqi Security Forces
Testifying before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, Naval Postgraduate School Professor Kalev Sepp explored how Iraqi security forces can help combat the insurgency. "… [S]izeable and effective Iraqi security forces will be a necessity," he writes. "These forces will need to provide internal security against insurgents and criminals, and external security against the threat of large-scale military invasion, primarily from Iran…"(March 14, 2005) [Note: opens as a PDF file; Adobe Acrobat required]

Abu Musab al Zarqawi

» The Short, Violent Life of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
"He was a ruthless self-promoter who, U.S. officials claim, killed or wounded thousands of people in the past three years -- in suicide bombings, mass executions, and beheadings that have been videotaped. He developed a mythic aura of invulnerability. But he was not the terrorist mastermind that he was often claimed to be," writes Mary Ann Weaver in this profile for The Atlantic Monthly's July/August 2006 issue, which was edited for the Web on June 8, 2006 after Zarqawi's death. Weaver explores Zarqawi's past, his experiences in Afghanistan and in a Jordanian prison which shaped his world views and his contentious relationship with Osama bin Laden.

» Iraq's Insurgency After Zarqawi
What are the implications of Zarqawi's death? Who makes up his network? What will the post-Zarqawi insurgency look like? And who will take his place? Answers to these questions and more from the Council on Foreign Relations.

» Zarqawi's Life After Death
In this New York Times article, republished in the International Herald Tribune, former Clinton administration national security officials Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon argue that by using Iraq as a base to launch destabilization efforts against other Middle Eastern countries and by exploiting Sunni-Shiite tensions, Zarqawi may leave as great an impact as bin Laden. But they also suggest Zarqawi's most significant lesson may be "the mirror it held up to our own misunderstandings of the jihadist threat."

» Grisly Path to Power in Iraq's Insurgency
Craig Whittock writes of Zarqawi: "He is the most wanted man in Iraq and at the vanguard of a new generation of Islamic radicals who have confronted the United States and its allies since the invasion of Iraq 18 months ago." (Washington Post, Sept. 27, 2004)

» The Web as Weapon
In this article which is also accompanied by a video clip, staff writers Susan B. Glasser and Steve Coll report, "Never before has a guerrilla organization so successfully intertwined its real-time war on the ground with its electronic jihad, making Zarqawi's group practitioners of what experts say will be the future of insurgent warfare, where no act goes unrecorded and atrocities seem to be committed in order to be filmed and distributed nearly instantaneously online." (Washington Post, Aug. 9, 2005)


» Out On the Street
"The United States' de-Baathification program fueled the insurgency. Is it too late for Bush to change course?" asks Jon Lee Anderson. (The New Yorker, Nov. 15, 2004)

» Debaathification
In this backgrounder, the Council on Foreign Relations examines the reasons why the United States decided to dismiss Baath Party members from the civil service and army, and the arguments for and against reinstating them. (April 7, 2005)

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posted feb. 21, 2006

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