Report on Iraq from David Kilcullen

Australian Lt. Colonel David Kilcullen, an expert on insurgency and particularly Islamic insurgency, was part of General Petraeus’ original brain trust at the beginning of the surge.  Now retired and writing under the diminutive “Dave Kilcullen” he has posted a most interesting dispatch on Small Wars Journal 
Col. Kilcullen discusses the rising of the Sunni tribes against al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) after atrocities perpetrated on the local population by AQI – including the torture and killing of children -  broke the camel’s back.  He discusses the tribal nature of Iraqi society and the significance of the tribes organizing against AQI.  He notes there has been some cooperation between Sunni and Shia formations and that what seems to be happening in Iraq is resolution of conflict from the bottom up, rather than what had been expected for the surge, which was resolution from the top down.

I think it is very likely that conflict resolution had to come from the bottom up because it meant that Iraqis make their own history by fighting alongside each other, and then their own accommodation. 

Col. Kilcullen is careful in what he says and he is not declaring victory.  Nevertheless, this is a hopeful analysis by someone who knows whereof he speaks. 

Read the whole thing.
Australian Lt. Colonel David Kilcullen, an expert on insurgency and particularly Islamic insurgency, was part of General Petraeus’ original brain trust at the beginning of the surge.  Now retired and writing under the diminutive “Dave Kilcullen” he has posted a most interesting dispatch on Small Wars Journal 
Col. Kilcullen discusses the rising of the Sunni tribes against al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) after atrocities perpetrated on the local population by AQI – including the torture and killing of children -  broke the camel’s back.  He discusses the tribal nature of Iraqi society and the significance of the tribes organizing against AQI.  He notes there has been some cooperation between Sunni and Shia formations and that what seems to be happening in Iraq is resolution of conflict from the bottom up, rather than what had been expected for the surge, which was resolution from the top down.

I think it is very likely that conflict resolution had to come from the bottom up because it meant that Iraqis make their own history by fighting alongside each other, and then their own accommodation. 

Col. Kilcullen is careful in what he says and he is not declaring victory.  Nevertheless, this is a hopeful analysis by someone who knows whereof he speaks. 

Read the whole thing.