Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A little more on that NIE

FP's Passport Blog:
A few thoughts on the hoopla over the recently declassified National Intelligence Estimate's key findings:

First, the intimations that the New York Times (or their sources) failed to understand the main thrust of the document were proven wrong. A basic rule of writing is that your most important points go up top. And right in the third sentence, it says that the jihadi movement is spreading both numerically and physically. The "Iraqi jihad" is the document's first reason why. Even the editors of the Wall Street Journal couldn't say anything positive about the document itself, instead applauding President Bush for declassifying it and attacking Nancy Pelosi for demanding a closed House session on the document.

Second, to borrow from our friends at WSJ, "If this is the kind of insight we pay our spooks to generate, we're in more trouble than we thought." All of the NIE's conclusions could easily be drawn by anyone who follows U.S. foreign policy in the media or, as they say in the intel community, "open sources." Nothing here was shocking.
The NIE did mention that is used "all-source reporting" to make some points.

The White House has refused to release the entire NIE. This issue is not likely to calm down though, not in late September. I would like to see the document just to count the "open sourced" items.

PIPA has an updated poll on Iraq:
Seven in ten Iraqis want US-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year. An overwhelming majority believes that the US military presence in Iraq is provoking more conflict than it is preventing. More broadly, most feel the US is having a predominantly negative influence in Iraq and have little or no confidence in the US military. If the US made a commitment to withdraw, a majority believes that this would strengthen the Iraqi government. Majorities believe that the withdrawal of US troops would lead to a reduction in the amount of inter-ethnic violence and improvement in the day-to-day security of Iraqis. A modest majority, including a large majority of Shia, now believes that in the near future Iraqi security forces will be strong enough to deal with their security challenges without foreign forces. There is little interest in replacing US-led forces with an international peacekeeping force.


Blogger Chuck said...

The PIPA poll isn't saying anything we didn't already know. In fact Bush has acknowledged the Iraqis don't want us there any longer than is necessary for the Iraq government to get on it's feet and take over security responsibilities.

I for one will be happy to see us get out when the Government says they are ready to take control but I assure you the ethnic problems are going to explode.

Arabs never forget a slight and the Shia are just waiting for us to leave and then they will be on the Sunnis like a blind dog on a gut wagon. If the Sunnis think things are bad now, they ain't seen nothing yet.

I personally don't care Shia and Sunnis wipe each other off the face of the earth but what will happen is the Shia will take control of the government and will make an attempt at having a democracy (minus the Sunis) and Iran will try to pull the strings.

Since the Iraqis hate the Iranians even though they are mostly Shia, there will be a war between Iran and Iraq.

All of this is going to happen and I think it will be before 2008.

The only winners in this scenario is the Kurds who will wind up with the whole northern half of Iraq.

5:12 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Except of course that Turkey and Iran do not want an autonomous Kurdish region.

The PIPA poll is highly predictable. But I felt I should link to it nonetheless.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got back from the PIPA release event at Brookings. It was not really anything new, but Ken Pollack and Shibley Telhami did conclude the following based on the poll:

1. Both the Kurds and Sunnis reported an increased desire for a US security presence. This likely demonstrates a fear of rising shias and Iran

2. 100% of sunnis want central gov't to get rid of militias. By "militias," the sunni respondents probably assumed the pollsters meant shia militias. They are extremely afraid of these deathsquads.

3. (Most insightful point - hopefully it's true) Telhami: "Since all groups in Iraq report hating al Qaeda, there is no reason to think that US withdrawal will lead to an al Qaeda takeover. They might exploit sectarian differences, but outright control seems unlikely."


6:03 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

tksharp, did they reference the Sunnis in al Anbar with any specifics? I ask because Colonel Devlin makes it seem that they are close to AQ (politically, socially, etc).

1.) Unfortunately, the Kurds need our security forces the least.

2.) I'd be afraid of those death squads as well. One of the most troubling aspects of this NIE is that it was authored earlier in the year, before Shiite deathsquads extracted their most numerous tolls. Also, just today we heard from CENTCOM that the past week has seen the most numerous suicide attacks in all of the period of occupation.

3.) Can we anticipate Shiit forces pacifying al Anbar on their own? Not likely. What then? Iranian involvement? A constant state of paramilitary war on the borders?

Thank you for coming by. I hope to work on a major post tonight and I look forward to your remarks.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

This is completely off the subject but a couple of weeks ago you posted about the Senate race between Allen and Webb in Virginia.
I was listening to NPR today and they were talking about the accusations that Allen had used the "N" word back in 1978.

I am so sick of the race card I could throw up. People used the "N" word back then and I seriously doubt if there is a Senator or Congressman now serving who hasn't. I grew up in the deep south and that is what we called black people. That doesn't make it right and I along with the majority of southerners have pretty much purged it from our conversations.

What irritates me is the holier than thou attitude politicians and race baiters who dredge up something a person may or may not have said 30 years ago and the media blows it up into a federal case that could have an impact on an election. If the truth were known, I'll bet Mr. Webb has used the word himself if fact I'll give 99 to 1 odds on it.

People are really stupid if the let this non issue influence their vote. I don't care who they vote for but if their vote was cast in response to this, God help this nation. We are headed for the toilet.

I apologize for highjacking this thread but I just had to say it.

7:31 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I think the most troubling aspect for Allen is that he is forced to deny remarks like this time and again. It cannot have a positive impact on his performance.

7:35 PM  

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