Wednesday, September 22, 2021
HomePatriot DispatchesMid-Year Update, Afghanistan and Iraq

Mid-Year Update, Afghanistan and Iraq

But first Libya in one sentence:

NATO forces managed to kill a leading rebel (ally) commander with an errant air strike just this past week.

Afghanistan

The “killing season” in Afghanistan is generally considered to be April-thru-Oct/Nov depending on weather. This is when Taliban generally conduct offensive operations.

I say it this way because app 65% of all battlefield deaths in Afghanistan are from IED’s. (Note: it took a few minutes to get clearance when the field-of-view was clear for several hundred yards, allowing thee bad guys to get away.) Since the Surge began in 2009 these spring-summer months have provided the bulk of US and Coalition military casualties in Afghanistan.

Since the Administration’s announcement of a withdrawal earlier this year, signals have been mixed. In April, the Taliban announce a major offensive, and there was an uptick in casualties that month (46), but since then, number have fallen drastically. Over 50% compared to 2010, in fact, as the July casualties (32) for US forces were the lowest single month since the Surge began in 2009.

Coalition forces casualties continue to run at about 28%-30% of the total death count. Afghan police and military casualties appear to be dropping in areas where coalition forces have handed over control. We need to pay more attention to how these numbers will track in the coming months leading up to our intended departure date.

Are we winning, or is Taliban only standing down waiting for US derparture, as they informally leaked to Al Jazeera in June?

This is the question of the ages, but can only be answered on the ground and in the Pentagon as to how aggressive our forces will be at pursuing Taliban. I think a little of both, as the Taliban surge in April petered out quickly. And in July almost a quarter of US casualties occurred away from major combat operations, among National Guard units, using IED’s. (This bears watching.)

But fewer deaths are good and I think we are winning. I fear a precipitous pull-out which, over a short period time (the Taliban has been through this before when the Soviets left Afghanistan) it took them very little time to get it all back.

Which provides us with a perfect segue to Iraq

(Editor’s note: Fewer deaths are good, indeed, but, if to save them we return the land to what it was before we arrived, leaving all those who died before to have died for nothing, then, in my view, this is a kind of murder. -VB)

Iraq

Iraq has been essentially quiet the past three years. Iraqi civilian and military/police deaths (which can be quantified as political…see my comment above about tribal affairs and violent crime) average about 150 month, compared to 2-3 times that in 2009 and beyond.

But Iraqi Interior Ministry announced that July was the bloodiest month of the year (259 combined casualties), about twice the “expected.”

This may or may not have anything to do with the sudden uptick in American forces casualties there in since April, where US casualties had been in monthly single digits since July, 2009. (11 in April, 15 in June).

What internal police reporting in Iraq notices, but goes largely unmentioned in the American press is the reemergence of Iranian arms moving into the Iraqi theater, and a simultaneous rise of Shi’te militia, particularly the cleric Muqtada Al’Sadr, who fled to Iran when Paul Bremer was still in charge, then was invited to return. He has reestablished a fortress in parts of Baghdad.  They have promised to launch a wave of suicide bombings against American forces to help facilitate Iraq’s decision NOT to ask the US to stay on (Ed: which Obama desperately doesn’t want to happen now that the Debt ceiling deal is working through the Congress-VB).

There can be no doubt that Iraq is “more dangerous” than it was a year ago, and can be expected to continue in that direction in the coming months.

(Ed: two of George W Bush’s acts of Christian charity have come back to bite America on the ass. One, not putting Hillary Clinton in jail back in 2001 when he could have easily done so. The other is not launching an all out assault on Maqda Al’Sadr and Sadr City in 2004, when it could have killed him straight away, just like Osama, and nipped that little piece of Paradise in the bud.- VB)

Conclusion

In Afghanistan, whether due to Taliban strategy or the success of US forces in the field, we expect to see a continuing drop in casualties in the main theaters of combat.

In Iraq we expect to see an uptick in casualties, countrywide, with a few events that may border on newsbreaking, and much of it will be precipitated by the increase of Iranian arms into Iraq. If the US government is dealing with Iran directly to thwart this, we can’t say. Only HuffPo has seen fit to report on it.

And finally, Libya, we expect the stalemate there to persist through the rest of the year, unless NATO forces can succeed in killing all the remaining anti-Gaddafi rebels.

 

8 COMMENTS

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m glad to see casualties dropping, but I’ll acknowledge my inherent skepticism that Obama can successfully prosecute any war, so I am cautious of getting my hopes too high.

    RE: Libya

    What in the world is going on here? Why is this not a bigger deal than it is? The President of America is waging an undeclared war, in violation of the War Powers Act and if you don’t think the War Powers Act is binding, he’s also in undisputed violation of the Constitution.

    Yet, the media and the collective of the American people sit on their thumbs and shrug their shoulders. It makes me kind of crazy that utter and complete contempt and disregard on the part of this President toward the laws of this nation is met with casual acceptance, as if it were no big deal.

    It’s like living in the twilight zone.

  2. SGF: Keeping in mind your frequent visits to the chapel known as “By An Angel’s Kiss”, I don’t want my comments to appearhumorous or oighthearted . I can get facetious and sarcastic at times. Re your *note* on getting clearance to fire, and the asinine nature of warfare these days, the following thingson that and the military in general are printed once or twice by the media and then never spoken of again:

    Giving medals for restraint; conducting ‘sensitivity training’ while on the battlefield; Leon Panetta not knowing who the rebels Libyan are as head of CIA, then getting SecDef job and killing Libyan rebels mmistakenly; George Casey keeping his job for almost two years after he said loss of diversity is worse than loss of thirteen warriors; holding talks, direct or indirect with the Taliban, or anybody remotely connected with them; not mounting airstrikes against Iran having what we are told is concrete proof of weapons supplied to Afghan and Iraqi insurgents. and the list could go on.
    Do they still have a war college? Do they still teach military history at West Point and Annapolis? Is there anybody in Congress anymore who ever served in the military except Purple Heart-winner John Kerry and his good friend John McCain? The Secretary of State of the United States, in the middle of two wars, goes to Saudi Arabia to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood associate mother of her questionably security-cleared top aide?
    Oh, yes, I’m ranting. Sorry for that. There is a whole lot more. Force reduction in the middle of two wars, or three. Defense cuts. Panetta being on the job for two or three minutes and with a straight face certifying that the Military is spot-on ready for no more DADT. Petraeus blaming a preacher in Florida for people getting killed in Afghanistan. I’ll quit now
    Thanks for all you do.

  3. I appreciate greatly the By An Angel’s Kiss features, although every single one breaks my heart. Those of you with military and especially combat experience know what it means when we lose men and women in the fight – that odd mixture of pride, sadness, and a little guilt. Those who don’t have that experience, I doubt you could understand, even if you can mentally grasp it.

    Those of you who remember my blogging debut on Redstate may remember that my biggest issue at that time was the fear that those we lost would have their honor and sacrifice stolen by the surrender monkeys in D.C. Thankfully, I believe due to the wisdom and great big cojones of the then Commander in Chief who ordered the surge, Iraq is very likely to survive as a non-jihadist democracy, at least for the near future.
    Afghanistan on the other hand does not look good. The surge there was for show, not a “gutsy call” but a smoke and mirrors attempt to be able to say “see, we tried”, before giving up. I pray that I am wrong in that assessment.

    • JIC I haven’t said it lately, thank you for your service. And yes, you are correct, we civvies can’t comprehend or understand fully. But I never cease to be stunned by the wonder that is our military and those who comprise it. Each loss is a blow.

  1. I’m glad to see casualties dropping, but I’ll acknowledge my inherent skepticism that Obama can successfully prosecute any war, so I am cautious of getting my hopes too high.

    RE: Libya

    What in the world is going on here? Why is this not a bigger deal than it is? The President of America is waging an undeclared war, in violation of the War Powers Act and if you don’t think the War Powers Act is binding, he’s also in undisputed violation of the Constitution.

    Yet, the media and the collective of the American people sit on their thumbs and shrug their shoulders. It makes me kind of crazy that utter and complete contempt and disregard on the part of this President toward the laws of this nation is met with casual acceptance, as if it were no big deal.

    It’s like living in the twilight zone.

  2. SGF: Keeping in mind your frequent visits to the chapel known as “By An Angel’s Kiss”, I don’t want my comments to appearhumorous or oighthearted . I can get facetious and sarcastic at times. Re your *note* on getting clearance to fire, and the asinine nature of warfare these days, the following thingson that and the military in general are printed once or twice by the media and then never spoken of again:

    Giving medals for restraint; conducting ‘sensitivity training’ while on the battlefield; Leon Panetta not knowing who the rebels Libyan are as head of CIA, then getting SecDef job and killing Libyan rebels mmistakenly; George Casey keeping his job for almost two years after he said loss of diversity is worse than loss of thirteen warriors; holding talks, direct or indirect with the Taliban, or anybody remotely connected with them; not mounting airstrikes against Iran having what we are told is concrete proof of weapons supplied to Afghan and Iraqi insurgents. and the list could go on.
    Do they still have a war college? Do they still teach military history at West Point and Annapolis? Is there anybody in Congress anymore who ever served in the military except Purple Heart-winner John Kerry and his good friend John McCain? The Secretary of State of the United States, in the middle of two wars, goes to Saudi Arabia to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood associate mother of her questionably security-cleared top aide?
    Oh, yes, I’m ranting. Sorry for that. There is a whole lot more. Force reduction in the middle of two wars, or three. Defense cuts. Panetta being on the job for two or three minutes and with a straight face certifying that the Military is spot-on ready for no more DADT. Petraeus blaming a preacher in Florida for people getting killed in Afghanistan. I’ll quit now
    Thanks for all you do.

  3. I appreciate greatly the By An Angel’s Kiss features, although every single one breaks my heart. Those of you with military and especially combat experience know what it means when we lose men and women in the fight – that odd mixture of pride, sadness, and a little guilt. Those who don’t have that experience, I doubt you could understand, even if you can mentally grasp it.

    Those of you who remember my blogging debut on Redstate may remember that my biggest issue at that time was the fear that those we lost would have their honor and sacrifice stolen by the surrender monkeys in D.C. Thankfully, I believe due to the wisdom and great big cojones of the then Commander in Chief who ordered the surge, Iraq is very likely to survive as a non-jihadist democracy, at least for the near future.
    Afghanistan on the other hand does not look good. The surge there was for show, not a “gutsy call” but a smoke and mirrors attempt to be able to say “see, we tried”, before giving up. I pray that I am wrong in that assessment.

    • JIC I haven’t said it lately, thank you for your service. And yes, you are correct, we civvies can’t comprehend or understand fully. But I never cease to be stunned by the wonder that is our military and those who comprise it. Each loss is a blow.

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