Just because there we are listening to the sounds of silence in Anbar Province does not mean we are winning (aka arrived at a solution) in Iraq, says William S. Lind, at DNI to Major General John Kelly, USMC. In 4GW mode the endgame will always be political not overwhelming firepower.
DAVID KILCULLEN: All counterinsurgency solutions are political.
The shitty end of the stick is that there still is no partner for a political solution no central government, no state, only a polite fiction, like the Mexican government, and our actions are empowering the Sheiks to return to feudal power not a state.
But the biggest reason for saying "not so fast" is that the reduction of violence in Anbar does not necessary point toward the rise of a state in the now-stateless region of Mesopotamia. As I have argued repeatedly in this column and elsewhere, we can only win in Iraq if a new state emerges there. Far from pointing toward that, our new working relationship with some Sunni sheiks points away from it.
The sheiks represent local, feudal power, not a state. We are working with them precisely because there is no Iraqi state to work with (the Maliki government is a polite fiction). From a practical standpoint, there is nothing else we can do to get any results. But our alliances with Sunni sheiks in effect represents our acceptance, de facto if not de jure, of the reality that there is no state. READ