The Turks would need six hundred thousand men to meet the combined ill wills of all the local Arab people. They had one hundred thousand men available... The Turk was stupid and would believe that rebellion was absolute, like war, and deal with it on the analogy of absolute warfare. Analogy is fudge, anyhow, and to make war upon rebellion is messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.
Previously, I had likened the upcoming Baghdad operation to the Battle of Hue, but this association is probably not the most appropriate. Hue was a clash of conventional forces in an insurgency or unconventional war that was evolving into the next phase, which was conventional. This analysis is correct even considering the irregular Vietcong units engaged in the city, as they were fighting alongside conventional North Vietnamese forces.
The Warsaw Ghetto battle of 1944, which pitted regular Nazi combat forces against the pitiable Jewish resistance forces confined to the ghetto is probably more apt.
This is not to ignore the obvious disparities. The materiel situation in Warsaw was dire. Obviously, the Baghdad resistance will have been laying in supplies; however, once the fighting begins, they will be cut off.
Although the Iraqi resistance (both Sunni and Shia) is well-armed and organized in the parity of their combat power vis a vis the American forces, they cannot possibly strategically defeat the U.S. forces. The U.S. Army will dominate all the fights, but the war is lost for us before the first shot is fired.
This is not a straight line analogy, to be sure; nothing is.
The German Army could isolate a ghetto and destroy the resistance therein without incurring immediate repercussions, but now the world is watching more closely. The cell phone cameras will capture the level of brutality required to eliminate resistance. Levels of brutality do not equate to the U.S. stated goal of democratization. If the war is for hearts and minds, you don't invade ghettos (enclaves).
From the German side, the battle was motivated by pride and racial hatred. Fighting this battle to eliminate the Jewish pocket of resistance was in no way instrumental, nor could it contribute to strategic victory for the Germans. At that point, the war was lost for them, and the ghetto killing was simply vicious and gratuitous. They won the battle, but lost the war.
The Jewish resistance fighters were ethnically and religiously motivated to fight an enemy that was a foreign invader which was determined to exterminate even the non-combatants within the perimeter. If the residents fought, they'd die, and if they didn't fight, they'd die.
Following are the parallels, as I see them:
- A foreign invading army of occupation
- A resistance movement fighting to evict this threat
- A willingness of the foreign army to destroy parts of the city to eliminate the resistance
- If captured, the resistance were imprisoned with no meaningful future
- A religious and ethnic component
- No strategic value to the battle
- The battle was one-sided, from the military point of view
- The resistance had intimate knowledge of the battle area, and could use this as a force multiplier
So even in losing, the resistance can win. Arrogance and false pride are not the basis of successful military operations.
The residents of Baghdad view their struggle in similar terms as the ghetto residents did. They have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. The world is watching. The Sunnis and Sadr Shias have nothing left but ethnic pride and religious fealty. The U.S. can force a military decision, but that will not change the flow of history in the Middle East.
Conventional combat power is a negative in this equation.