Friday, September 22, 2006

Quietly sympathetic

US Marines in Fallujah, Iraq (Photo: United States DoD)

Support among Iraqi Sunnis for the insurgency has risen to record levels, according to a poll referred to on the evening BBC news in Britain last night. The survey, which was apparently sponsored by the US Department of Defense apparently indicated that 75% of Sunnis questioned now support the insurgency, up from 14% in 2003.

As TE Lawrence recognised 90 years ago, winning this broad tacit support is the key to success in guerrilla warfare. He wrote in Seven Pillars of Wisdom:

"... our rebellion had an unassailable base.... It had a sophisticated alien enemy, disposed as an army of occupation in an area greater than could be dominated effectively from fortified posts. It had a friendly population, of which some two in the hundred were active, and the rest quietly sympathetic to the point of not betraying the movements of the minority." (1935 edition, p.196)

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