The most important result of the reduction of the Fallujah TAZ was the decimation of Iraq's security. From all perspectives, the global guerrilla campaign against the Iraqi security system has been an unqualified success. Here's how it rolled out:
- Pre-action preparation. Hundreds of attacks, including high profile mass assasinations, have shaken the Iraqi security system to its core. The net result: 50% attrition within Iraqi national guard groups.
- Test Failure. In a crucial test of the battle readiness of Iraqi unit, they failed. In the 24 hours prior to the attack on Fallujah, 100 of the remaining 425 men in Iraq's best-trained battalion, normally 850 men, headed for the hills. The only troops that remained were reconstituted Kurdish pershmerga.
- Coup de grace. Since then, attacks on Iraqi forces (mostly against the police, given the national guard has been gutted) have escalated across Sunni Iraq. For example, attacks on multiple police stations in Mosul resulted in the scattering of ~5,000 policemen. The commander was fired and there are reports of policemen switching sides. This was repeated across Sunni Iraq. Total policemen on-hand in Iraq dropped from 84,900 to 43,900 between August and October.
A Systemic Failure
Iraq's security system is currently in free-fall. All the major elements underlying its potential for success have crumpled under pressure from global guerrillas (the total numbers of troops on hand have actually decreased since January 2004 -- see chart):
- A crisis in the state's legitimacy. The interim Iraqi government, due to ongoing attacks on infrastructure, has been unable to deliver the basic services required to legitimatize the government. Iraq is in failure and economic collapse. The net result is that the state is required to rely on market factors to build its security system.
- Market failure. The all-volunteer security model initially worked due to widespread unemployment (estimates are as high as 75%). However, ongoing attacks have distorted the the employment equation. A high probability of death or dismemberment is now part of the job description for positions in the police and national guard. These troops stayed in place as long as things went well. They have since proven they will melt away at the first sign of danger. This market failure has thrown the Iraqi government back onto ethnic loyalties.
- Loyalist paramilitaries. To fill the ranks, the Iraqi system attempted to build on the loyalty of Shiite and Kurdish fighters. However, lukewarm support for the interim government by Shiites (at least until the elections) and the promise of tough fighting has left only the Kurds (reconstituted peshmerga) in the ranks.
Globalization in Free Fall
The systemic failure of Iraqi security, creates the following situation:
- Ethinic passions on the rise. The use of Kurdish fighters in both Fallujah and Mosul has exacerbated the insurgency.
- The US in the hot seat. Left with the security burden, the US is in a tough position. Its firepower intensive tactics (force protection 2GW methods) are causing more damage to the Iraqi government's legitimacy than it provides. Further, we also don't have the troops in country to even approximate what is needed to provide a modicum of basic security.
- Complete system failure. This has set the stage for ongoing attacks by innovative guerrilla entrepreneurs on all other aspects of globalization in Iraq (people, resources, and investment). The economy will remain in failure, as will the state.