debkafile’s military sources: For Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Diyala, US troops in Iraq “made a deal with the devil”

Monday, June 18, the day before US and Iraqi forces launched Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Baquba to crush al Qaeda sanctuaries in Diyala, the US Iraqi commander Gen. David Petraeus was quoted as saying: “Stabilizing Iraq could take as long as a decade. In fact, typically, I think historically, counterinsurgency operations have gone on at least nine or 10 years. The question, of course, is at what level.”
The general went on to praise as “a stunning reversal” US-Iraqi military successes in breaking al Qaeda’s former domination of the western Iraqi province of Anbar. But in the next sentence, he remarked “The fact is that as we go on the offensive, the enemy is going to respond. That is what has happened.”
Tuesday, more than 10,000 troops with heavy armored Stryker and Bradley vehicles and air support embarked on the Baquba operation in hopes of the success achieved in Anbar, yet with no illusions about vanquishing al Qaeda once and for all.
What has happened before is that US military successes in Anbar province and sections of Baghdad have driven al Qaeda to set up base in other parts of Iraq. Some have even returned to their old haunts when the American forces moved on and left Iraqi forces behind to hold the sanitized locations.
The truck bombing which murdered 87 people, injured 214 and ravaged the Shiite Khillani mosque in central Baghdad Tuesday is not the last.
This deadly cycle goes on revolving even after Sunni insurgents groups and tribes, including the Baathist 1920 Revolutionary Battalions, have joined US-led combat against al Qaeda, as they did in Anbar and Baghdad. Their cooperation is extremely valuable because, having fought for many months alongside al Qaeda, they are familiar with its tactics, the way its fighters move about, their responses, and often their hideouts. The trouble with these Sunnis is that their allegiance to the US-led anti-terror effort is very ad hoc; they are committed to ousting the Americans from their country as well as al Qaeda, regarding both as foreign invaders.
The United States is therefore in the position of providing Sunni insurgent groups with arms and money to buy their help for beating al Qaeda in full knowledge that one day those American arms will be turned against American troops. US officers in Iraq have been quoted as admitting: “American forces have made a deal with the devil.”
Since the 30,000-strong troops surge President George W. Bush promised Gen. Petraeus and the generals fighting in Iraq is complete, no radical change in the current military and political situation in Iraq is to be expected, however successful Operation Arrowhead Ripper and other offensives may turn out to be. And time is running out. In the fall of 2007, the first US troops are expected to withdraw from Iraq. The Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda will still be there.

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