Leadership: Being Nice To The Enemy


January 29, 2008: U.S. troops in Iraq have quickly come to realize that the Provisional Security Forces (PSFs, or local Sunni Arab militia) are the main reason for violence against U.S. troops dropping 50-90 percent in Iraq (depending on the area). The main PSF tactic was to establish many roadblocks, but within their own neighborhoods. Since these guys knew everyone who lived in the area, they could quickly spot someone who had no business there. They would also spot anyone who appeared to be on their way to plant a roadside bomb, and either tell the guy to forget about it, or tell the Americans, who would take care of it. Any locals who were on their way to set up an ambush (AK-47 and RPG fire is a common experience for convoys, but causes fewer casualties than the bombs), would also be warned off.

The U.S. troops responded by being friendly with the PSFs. This often took the form of gifts, like barbed wire, obstacles and other useful items for the roadblocks, to food, soft drinks and cigarettes for the PSFs themselves. Any gadgets the troops had, they would share with the PSFs, who appreciated getting all these goodies. Army and marine medics would treat the PSFs, and their families. Despite the fact that many of the PSF guys had previously took part in attacks on coalition and Iraqi troops, the Sunni Arabs were eager to have some peace, and the economic growth they see in the rest of the country. So the goodies the U.S. troops give out have even more meaning, as sort of a down payment on the future.


Article Archive

Leadership: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close