Winning: Timing is Something


December 4, 2007: U.S. military leaders in Iraq are debating whether they should declare victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Major strides have been taken against the organization, but the group has not been defeated…yet. This kind of talk helps reduce the Al Qaeda's standing in Iraq and worldwide, but a small group can still carry out catastrophic attacks.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has lost thousands of members over the past year. The group is fragmented and has lost the support of the local populace and Al Qaeda senior leadership. AQI is unable to gather large forces any more, mainly because Iraqi and American military forces and Concerned Local Citizens confront and defeat it.

Already, the group relies on regional commands and soon those commands will fragment. This has already occurred in Anbar Province. Areas of AQI activity remain isolated in the country. Being isolated, AQI becomes easier to target. Militarily, AQI is staring directly at defeat. The 2006 US Army Counterinsurgency Manual states, "Victory is achieved when the populace consents to the government's legitimacy and stops actively and passively supporting the insurgency." In the past month, the Concern Local Citizens program has exploded. Starting with the Anbar Awakening, it is now over 67,000 strong consisting of Sunnis, Shiites, and Former Regime members.

The debate over whether to declare victory, however, continues. First, it adds to the rhetoric of progress in Iraq. From this rhetoric, the media-sensitive Al Qaeda will suffer further reduced morale. At home, the debate will help direct the focus on developments within the country.

The caveat remains; AQI is still a viable terrorist organization. It does not take a lot of manpower or funds to conduct a major attack. The reduction of violence allows the populace to become less vigilant. Improved infrastructure creates more targets. If victory were hastily declared, a major attack would greatly reduce public support. AQI has survived a number of large-scale operations and could continue to survive.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has not been defeated, but its end is near. Start planning your AQI Victory party now. -- Jonathan Henry


Article Archive

Winning: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 



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