Has the Surge failed?
Nir Rosen in an article entitled "The Myth of the Surge" in Rolling Stone, asserts that the Surge has not only failed to bring long-term stability, but is going to backfire. Rosen claims the Surge has only managed to "arm both sides of the civil war".
The major ideas of the article are that the Sunnis have benefited from the Surge; that many of the US sponsored militias had ties to the insurgency and al-Qaeda; that the Iraqi National Police is largely Shi'ite; that participants in the Surge see cooperation with the US as an opportunity to achieve Sunni restoration. And all of these claims are to some extent true. From this Rosen concludes that Iraq is an a calm before another storm of ethnic cleansing. But does it follow?
Here are some assertions which are also true. How do we square them with Rosen's thesis? The Shi'ites are no longer helpless; the former insurgents are now in open view, visible to intelligence and some extent under discipline; the killing (which Rosen believes will pick up in the future) has largely stopped; Sunni refugees have returned; business is up. But most importantly, the Iraqi Army which will exceed more then 13 divisions in strength, is multi-ethnic. Does this sound like a nation about to fall apart?
Maybe. But the odds Iraq will fall apart is much smaller today than it was a year ago. All the surveys taken show a remarkable desire among the ordinary populace to keep the country together. The Surge has not yet won. But neither, as Rosen suggests, has it lost.
The key fact which Rosen's article omits is that the Sunnis are attempting to creep back into the national life on American terms. They have decided to attach themselves to the victors in the role of the defeated. To argue that a surrender represents a subversion may have some force, but not much. The Germans and the Japanese did as much.