Friday, June 22, 2007


In the game of chess one player wins when they capture their opponent's king. However, this does not translate into the real world often or well. It does not follow the leader's die with their organizations nor does it follow organizations die with their leaders. In fact, this is one reason people form organizations – to provide the continuance of an effort or a vision after one's death.

Saddam Hussein's organization survives (hanging on), as does Abu Musab Zarqawi's. The death of Osama bin Laden if he were dead (applies to Zawahiri) would not bring about the demise of his organization, in fact, many argue his death would strengthen Al-Qaida (I am doubtful an organization that can not protect its leader is not worth joining).

So, I am seeing said some criticism is being leveled against Operation Phantom Thunder and its operationlets (Arrowhead Ripper in particular) that top level Al-Qaida leaders have escaped the trap. In fact, The Fourth Rail puts it about 80% of the high level Al-Qaida leadership has left Baqubah.

A couple of things. The force attacking AQ in Baquba is a corps directed force. That, sports fans, is a large number of people. You do not move around that number of men and equipment in an urban (or practically any) environment without notice. In fact, Bill Roggio passes on reports that
Al Qaeda prepared for the assault on Baqubah. "Days before the offensive, unmanned U.S. drones recorded video of insurgents digging trenches with back-hoes," the Associated Press reported. "About 30 improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, were planted on Route Coyote, the U.S. code name for a main Baqubah thoroughfare." About fifteen percent of the western portion of the city is said to have been cleared, and the operation could take up to 60 days.
Source: The Fourth Rail – One week of Operation Phantom Thunder (An update on the Battle of Iraq)
Clearly, AQ saw what was coming, what is hoped though is our guys managed to get a fair amount of low level surprise. That is to say, AQ thought we would be coming next month, they thought we would be coming down Oak St. instead of Elm St. etc.

So the bad guys had plenty of time to leave. If Tony Soprano knew the cops were going to be driving to a place he was going to meet someone the next day to bust him, think he would keep the appointment? Do not underestimate the elimination of middle and lower management. Who becomes upper management after the US Military retires upper level AQ management? There is a lot of institutional memory and skill being wiped out.

In any event, Team AQ just lost its Iraqi capital and is moving it, do you honestly believe that to be a good thing for Team AQ? Ask Jefferson Davis about the fall of Richmond.

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