Sandals on the Ground: Why the Awakening, not the Surge, was Decisive in Iraq
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
Pagination or Media Count:
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether or not it was the Awakening movement or the surge of troops that has proven to be the most decisive factor in the recent operational and strategic successes in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is a relevant discussion because the lessons learned in how and why the violence in Iraq escalated and then subsided may also apply, in general terms, to the war in Afghanistan, where there has recently been a troop surge similar to the one in Iraq. The background of the paper focuses on identifying the critical aspects of the human dimension of the operational factor of space in Iraq that made it difficult for planners to predict and suppress the insurgency. These factors are the sectarianreligious divides, tribal affiliations, and the complex security elements that held Iraq together prior to the 2003 invasion. Next, the paper analyses the relative effectiveness of both the Awakening movement and the troop surge in restoring balance back to Iraqi society. The paper explains why the Awakening movement, not the surge, was decisive in bringing about stability in Iraq, and closes with recommendations on how these lessons may apply to the war in Afghanistan.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare