Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 28-May-07
The "Anbar Awakening" may be good news in Iraq.

Web Log - May, 2007

The "Anbar Awakening" may be good news in Iraq.

But you would never know it from the Sunday morning news talk shows.

Several sources are reporting that al-Qaeda is being driven from Anbar Province in Iraq. This is consistent with the article that I wrote two months ago entitled "Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq."

Iraq's al-Anbar province <font size=-2>(Source: PBS)</font>
Iraq's al-Anbar province (Source: PBS)

Iraq is in a generational Awakening era, just one generation past its last crisis war, the genocidal Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. The survivors of a crisis war are so traumatized by the war that they vow to spend their whole lives keeping anything like that from happening to their children and grandchildren. That's why pundits and politicians who are calling the Iraqi war a "civil war" are wrong, as I've been saying for four years. A crisis civil war is impossible in a country in a generational Awakening era.

More and more, we're seeing the Iraqis turn against al-Qaeda, and putting their Iraqi nationalism ahead of their religious (Sunni vs Shia) differences. This is quite consistent with Iraq's history, as I showed in the referenced article: Iraqis have always united when faced with an external enemy.

And that's certainly happening now as the the Iraqis in Anbar Province, formerly almost totally controlled by external al-Qaeda forces, are close to driving al-Qaeda out completely.

What surprised me this week is what the Iraqis are calling it: "Sahwa al-Anbar" or the "Anbar Awakening."

Here's how Joe Klein described it in an article in Time Magazine:

"Some 30 tribes in Al Anbar formed an alliance, the "Anbar Awakening," in September and pledged to fight Al Qaeda militants in the insurgency-plagued province by forming their own paramilitary units and sending recruits to the local police force.

There is good news from Iraq, believe it or not. It comes from the most unlikely place: Anbar province, home of the Sunni insurgency. The level of violence has plummeted in recent weeks. An alliance of U.S. troops and local tribes has been very effective in moving against the al-Qaeda foreign fighters. A senior U.S. military official told me—confirming reports from several other sources—that there have been "a couple of days recently during which there were zero effective attacks and less than 10 attacks overall in the province (keep in mind that an attack can be as little as one round fired). This is a result of sheiks stepping up and opposing AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] and volunteering their young men to serve in the police and army units there." The success in Anbar has led sheiks in at least two other Sunni-dominated provinces, Nineveh and Salahaddin, to ask for similar alliances against the foreign fighters. And, as TIME's Bobby Ghosh has reported, an influential leader of the Sunni insurgency, Harith al-Dari, has turned against al-Qaeda as well. It is possible that al-Qaeda is being rejected like a mismatched liver transplant by the body of the Iraqi insurgency."

Here's another report, based on information from an Arab source:

"Baghdad, 23 May (AKI) - A delegation of Sahwa al-Anbar, (Anbar Awakening) the tribal alliance in the restive Sunni province of Al Anbar, has made an unprecedented visit to Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of radical Shiite imam Moqtada al-Sadr, according to pan Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat. "We have taken this step to place national interest ahead of any differences" said the head of the US-endorsed Sunni alliance Hamid al-Hayas. "This is an effort to bring closer together the Sunni and Shiite Iraqi points of view. We want to deliver a message to all the political groups to put aside their differences and act for the common good" he said.

The whereabouts of Moqtada al-Sadr remain undisclosed, but he was represented in the meeting by three MPs from the 30-strong bloc in Parliament loyal to him and prominent individuals from the Sadr City area.

At the end of the meeting the two sides signs a joint document in which they vowed to fight the terrorism of al-Qaeda. The group has become increasingly isolated within the Sunni insurgency because of its indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been seeking to impose its fierce Salafite philosophies and strategies and consolidate its power over the many resistance groups in the Sunni Arab galaxy, some of whom view foreign fighters and Wahhabis with suspicion.

In recent months the heads of the powerful al-Anbar tribes have coalesced in a big to counteract al-Qaeda in Iraq and have begun a tentative dialogue with some elements in the al-Maliki government about entering the political process.

As well as coming under increasing pressure from US and Iraqi forces in Baquba and elsewhere, the al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters have been increasingly in clashes with other insurgent formations."

Regular readers will be aware that this is exactly the kind of thing that I've been saying ever since I first wrote about it on August 19, 2003, just after al-Qaeda had bombed U.N. headquarters in Iraq:

And in 2004, when some papers were actually claiming that the Iraq civil war had already begun between Moqtada al-Sadr's militias and the Sunnis, I pointed out that this was nonsense. I've made a number of predictions about Iraq, and they've all turned out to be right. You will not find a web site anywhere in the world with predictive success of this one. You will find that every journalist, analyst and pundit who has made predictions has turned out to be almost consistently wrong, and you will find that every prediction that I've made, based on the Generational Dynamics methodology, has turned out to be right.

The fact that the Iraqis are calling this the "Anbar Awakening" is more than just a coincidence. Unless some of them have seen my web site (very unlikely), they have no idea that Iraq is in a generational Awakening era. But the word "Awakening" is a very compelling one to describe what happens. Those old enough to remember America in the 1950s will recall how different the country became in the 1960s, when America's Awakening began: boys grew their hair, girls burned their bras, Martin Luther King led equal rights marches, etc. An Awakening era REALLY is an "awakening," both in America in the 1960s and in Iraq today.

This brings us to the Sunday news talk shows, where nothing about an "Anbar Awakening" was ever mentioned. The Republicans pretty much avoided the subject, and the Democrats described the Iraq war as a disastrous loss.

Actually, nobody that I heard even cares how the Iraq war is going.

All they care about is whether the Republicans or the Democrats are going to gain or lose votes.

Can you believe this? We're in the middle of a war, and we're being governed by a bunch or narcissistic clowns that can't talk about anyone but themselves. "I have the best withdrawal plan," says one. "No you don't, I do. Nyah, nyah, nyan." How did we get stuck with this pathetic bunch of losers?

The big news, of course, is that the Congress voted to fund the Iraq war without deadlines, but that Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama BOTH voted not to fund the troops.

Did anyone ask what effect all this had on the war and the troops. Nooooooo. It was all, Who did better, Republicans or Democrats? Yuk.

But despite all the nonsense, something important did happen this week, because so many leading Democrats voted not to fund the troops and the war.

Here's how George Will, a conservative commentator from the Silent Generation (i.e, he grew up during World War II), summarized the situation:

George Will, speaking angrily about the Democrats' statements, and stopping abruptly at the bottom frame. <font size=-2>(Source: ABC)</font>
George Will, speaking angrily about the Democrats' statements, and stopping abruptly at the bottom frame. (Source: ABC)

"The tail wagging this dog is and all that it represents. happens to be right. That's not a sentence that I use often.

They're right, and I mean they're correct as a matter of constitutional fact -- that the Democrats could stop the war if they chose. They choose not to.

But, a majority of House Democrats, including the Speaker, are now against funding the war in Iraq. That means that they are heavily invested in Petraeus' failing.

Will stopped talking abruptly right there, but you could tell from his face how angry he is. Will is absolutely right in what he says, but if he had continued, he would have said some things that are unacceptable in polite Washington circles or on TV. So I'll finish George Will's thought for him: Having our Democratic leaders heavily invested in General Petraeus' failing in Iraq is something that infuriates me and a lot of other people. This is ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL behavior by Congressional politicians, and, in my opinion, it borders right on the edge of treason. These people have no right to commit their careers on American failure in war.

Senator Carl Levin <font size=-2>(Source: CBS)</font>
Senator Carl Levin (Source: CBS)

There are lots of ways to to oppose the Bush administration without this kind of disgraceful behavior. Carl Levin, a Democrat who is also from the Silent generation, has shown the way in this. He's about as liberal and anti-Bush and antiwar as anyone can imagine, but he expresses his opposition responsibly.

Democratic members of Congress have a professional and ethical obligation to act in America's best interest. So, for example, when Senator Joe Biden goes on Meet the Press and spends the better part of an hour saying one unbelievably stupid thing after another, and says things that imply that he's betting his career on America's loss and humiliation in Iraq, it really infuriates me.

(Incidentally, on Sunday morning's Meet the Press, Bill Richardson was the guest, and Tim Russert challenged almost everything he said. This is in stark contrast to Russert's automatically accepting every stupid, moronic thing that Biden said. Why is that?)

It's worth saying again that many responsible Democrats are not happy with this situation either. Lawrence Kaplan, a senior editor at the liberal, pro-Democratic opinion magazine, The New Republic, wrote an article entitled "Congressional leaders are illiterate on Iraq," in which he basically reached the following conclusions about the Democrats in Congress: They're morons; they go out of their way to avoid learning anyting; they make up any "fact" they want as they go along, since they don't know anything; and they couldn't care less what happens in Iraq, since they just want votes.

I think America deserves better than that.

Ron Brownstein, a liberal Los Angeles Times columnist, made the following remarks in response to George Will's comments, reported above:

Columnist Ron Brownstein <font size=-2>(Source: ABC)</font>
Columnist Ron Brownstein (Source: ABC)

"The war is already very unpopular. It is an extraordinary statement how the world has changed since 2004.

John Kerry voted against funding after he voted to authorize the war. Here are the two leading presidential candidates making the same vote, after voting to authorize the war voting against funding, and yet feeling very comfortable essentially because the country HAS turned against the war in a way that is very difficult to imagine turning back.

Whatever Petraeus comes back with, it's very hard to see that the level of improvement in Iraq is going to be such to meaningfully change public opinion, and I think Democrats still feel that no matter how vulnerable they may be to Republicans' attacks, on not funding the troops, Republicans are going to be more vulnerable for standing with Bush."

What Brownstein's remarks tell us is that no matter how the war effort under General Petraeus goes, the Democrats are going to call it a failure. Words cannot describe how sickening this attitude makes me, when there's so much at stake for our country.

The "Anbar Awakening" development shows how stupidly the Democrats are acting. Failure in Iraq is far from the certainty that the irresponsible Democrats are claiming, and if there is failure in Iraq, then their actions are liable to earn them the blame for the failure.

I will not attempt to predict what's going to happen politically, since Generational Dynamics does not make political predictions, and I dislike them, but I will say this: It is my personal hope that the responsible Democrats do OK, but that the irresponsible Democrats get totally screwed in the next election.

In the meantime, for those of us who are still hoping for America's success rather than failure, let's watch the "Anbar Awakening," and see if it leads to an even better outcome. (28-May-07) Permanent Link
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