by Patrick Lang

“Now Sunni Arab leaders were gearing up to try to veto the constitution at the ballot box. “With this result, the Sunni Arabs will be able to defeat the constitution, if there is honesty and an international supervision on the process,” al-Mutlaq said. “I am sure if there is honesty, 95 percent of Sunni Arabs will vote no.” Yahoo/AP

Col. Patrick W. Lang (Ret.), a highly decorated retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, served as “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism” for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and was later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. Col. Lang was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point. For his service in the DIA, he was awarded the “Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.” He is a frequent commentator on television and radio, including PBS’s Newshour, and most recently on MSNBC’s Hardball and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

His CV and blog are linked below the fold.

Whetber the Bush Administration realizes it or not, the best chance it has to salvage its position in Iraq lies in defeat of the constitutional proposal in the referendum this month.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but the reason for this conclusion is compelling. The administration has refused for two and a half years to accept the basic truth that the Sunni insurgencies that afflict the country receive widespread support from the Sunni Arab population in the form of logistics, concealment, transportation, intelligence, etc. Recently government spokesmen have begun to sound as though they might be learning that this is true. I am sure that Ambassador Khalilzad is too sophisticated not to understand this and his recent actions in Baghdad in attempting to have the Shia government modify the constitution in favor of the Sunni Arabs show this.

The Sunni Arabs are supporting the insurgencies because they are unwilling to accept the radical re-distribution of power and wealth on the basis of “one man, one vote” that we are sponsoring. Why are we doing that? It is because we believe, deeply, that justice in voting rights for INDIVIDUALS produces government that embodies a “National Compact” that is accepted by all.

The Middle East is not like that. In the Middle East people self-identify in a number of ways, only one of which is at the level of the individual.

More importantly, people there predominately see themselves as members of COMMUNITIES of various kinds whether they be ethno-religious, tribal, clan, regional or just plain family. A system that strips an indivdual’s community of power and wealth is inevitably going to be seen as HOSTILE and to be defeated.

On Fox News yesterday a former Assistant Secretary of the Army said that political accomodation would not produce an acceptable result in Iraq and that the solution lies in unlimited application of force against the Sunni Arab population until “they give up” supporting the guerrillas. As appalling as this idea is, it has to be acknowledged that an unlimited application of force sometimes produces this result. I could give examples in the history of counterinsurgency warfare. Are we going to do that? NO!! NO!! We are not going to do that. The American people would not allow it.

If that is the case, then the only rational approach is to change the political circumstance that call forth resistance on the part of the Sunni Arabs of Iraq.

The international Jihadis are another matter. …

Continued BELOW:

Intelligence: The Human Factor (Securing Our Nation)

By Patrick Lang

Editor: Larry C. Johnson

The international Jihadis are another matter. They have no goal but the creation of Sharia states. There is nothing to do with them but “hunt them down” as President Bush likes to say.

If the constitution is ratified unmodified, Sunni Arab support for the insurgents will continue. If it is defeated, then it may be possible to convince all concerned that the interests of the Sunni Arabs as a COMMUNITY must be safe guarded if there is to be any chance of a cessation of hostilities against the Iraqi nationalists.

Personal Blog: Sic Semper Tyrannis 2005 || Bio || CV
Recommended Books || More BooTrib <a href="Posts

Novel: The Butcher’s Cleaver (download free by chapter, PDF format)

Drinking the Kool-Aid,” Middle East Policy Council Journal, Vol. XI, Summer 2004, No. 2

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