The capture of Ramadi in Iraq by ISIS not only demonstrated the utter incompetence of the Iraqi government and its laughable army, but is a sad and tragic footnote to the story promulgated during the American occupation about the great peaceful awakening of the local Iraqi tribes.
The story, featured in books and new articles, claimed that peace had come to Ramadi mostly because of the cooperation of local tribes, who got together and kicked the bad guys out of town. Nearly all of those stories emphasized the supposed actions of local Iraqis, seeing their “cooperation” as signs of a new way for Iraq.
That was bullshit. Most of them were as inept then as they are now.
Peace came to the city because U.S. forces killed so many of the insurgents that they were too decimated to mount effective attacks; that was far, far more important than anything the local tribal leaders did. The corruption and general ineptness that had existed before America’s actions in Ramadi remained, just as they remain to this day.
When the war started, many people suggested that Iraq would be best off as three separate countries, one dominated by Shia in the south and east, one by Sunni in the west, and one by Kurds in the north. The U.S. insisted on keeping the country together as one. That hasn’t worked, and we now have the worst version of the separation: an Iranian-dominated Shia province, a terrorist-dominated Sunni west, and an uneasy and besieged Kurdish north.
The ineptness of the Iraqi government and its so-called Army make ISIS look as if it’s a powerhouse. It’s not. But in the calculus of Iraq – and the Middle East – brute force and violence is a lot more important than sharing tea around a campfire. Not admitting that makes you cannon fodder, and worse.