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05:05 PDA Bulletin -- The Vicious Circle in Iraq

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  • Charles Knight
    US Locked in Vicious Circle in Iraq The American effort in Iraq may be locked in a vicious circle, according to a new report -
    Message 1 of 1 , May 17, 2005
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      US Locked in 'Vicious Circle' in Iraq

      The American effort in Iraq may be locked in a "vicious circle,"
      according to a new report - http://www.comw.org/pda/0505rm10.html -
      that surveys Iraqi public opinion data and interviews with Iraqis.
      The report concludes that U.S. military actions meant to quell the
      insurgency have increased its recruiting base.

      "A paradox haunts our counterinsurgency effort," says the report's
      author, Carl Conetta. "U.S. forces have succeeded tactically again
      and again, but insurgent activity remains four- or five-times as
      great as it was in early summer 2003," he explains. The report seeks
      clues in Iraqi opinions about the occupation, how they vary, and what
      influences them. "Public discontent is the medium in which the
      insurgents swim," says Conetta, "and without it, they could not
      persist."

      Strong majorities in the Sunni and Shi'ite community oppose the
      occupation – and significant minorities have registered support
      for attacks on U.S. troops. "What drives these attitudes more than
      anything else," says Conetta, "are nationalism, the coercive
      practices of the occupation, and the collateral effects of military
      operations."

      According to one poll reviewed in the study, 22 percent of Iraqi
      families have suffered serious effects of violence since the war
      began. The report finds a correlation between Iraqis' experiences of
      violence, negative appraisals of U.S. troops, and support for
      insurgent attacks. Moreover, the pattern of coalition military
      activity corresponds with variations in these attitudes, which peak
      in Sunni areas and Baghdad.

      Reviewing postwar U.S. military activity, the report estimates that
      as much as 80 percent has focused on Baghdad and Sunni
      areas. "Initially these operations aimed only to assert coalition
      control in tribal areas, apprehend former regime leaders, and locate
      their possible supporters," said Conetta. "But a series of mistaken
      and overzealous engagements in summer 2003 involving Iraqi tribes,
      police, and former military personnel may have pushed the insurgency
      over the tipping point."

      "Vicious Circle: The Dynamics of Occupation and Resistance in Iraq"
      was released on 17 May 2005 by the Project on Defense Alternatives, a
      policy research effort based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and
      Washington, DC.

      Report abstract and Executive Summary:
      http://www.comw.org/pda/0505rm10exsum.html
      Full report: http://www.comw.org/pda/0505rm10.html

      _____________________

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