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22 March 2009

War Fighting Factors in Iraq and Afghanistan

from SWJ Blog by Bing West

...the 2007 surge strategy in Iraq has gained mythic status that endangers clear thinking about Afghanistan. In Iraq, the Sunni tribes came over to the American side - to the strongest tribe - starting in late 2006 in Anbar. That change in attitude, called the “Awakening”, provided the bedrock upon which General Petraeus anchored his winning strategy. Had the Sunnis remained as uncooperative in 2007 as they had been in 2004, the situation would have been dire. Shortly before al Qaeda killed him, I asked Sheik Abu Risha Sattar, who led the Awakening, why the tribes hadn’t awakened earlier and saved bloodshed on both sides. “You Americans couldn’t convince us,” he replied. “We Sunnis had to convince ourselves.”

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