Posted by: Christian | June 10, 2008

Iraqis to Afghanistan?

Now that would be interesting. And I’m not talking about Iraqi insurgents showing up in Afghanistan and offering advice on IEDs and other tactics. I’m talking about pro-American Iraqis. The, uh, New York Sun has the details:

The leader of the tribal confederation that has fought to expel Al Qaeda from most of Iraq’s Anbar province is offering his men to help gin up a rebellion against Osama bin Laden’s organization along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

In an interview, Sheik Ahmad al-Rishawi told The New York Sun that in April he prepared a 47-page study on Afghanistan and its tribes for the deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Kabul, Christopher Dell. When asked if he would send military advisers to Afghanistan to assist American troops fighting there, he said: “I have no problem with this; if they ask me, I will do it.”

Photo, via Spirit of America, of Sheikh Rishawi with his new friends:

Sheikh Rishawi is now spending some time in the United States and getting the same high-level treatment that his assassinated brother got. Left to right is Petraeus, Gates, Bush, the deceased Rishawi, shirt collar open guy and Condi Rice:

Rishawi and Bush

Well, this is all very interesting. But I’m guessing the “inshallah factor” is quite high here. I doubt the Sheikh could spare any significant number of men, especially considering Iraq’s possible trajectories. What he is saying in his special way is that he really, really appreciates the American support he receives and that he wishes for the relationship, in the current state, to continue. Furthermore, the possible uses for Arabic-speaking advisers (even bilingual in English) in eastern Afghanistan would be rather limited. But I’ll leave that to someone with an informed military perspective to fully analyze that.

But I will admit that the possibility of having Iraqis serving in a public affairs and community relations liaison role in Afghanistan would be intriguing (and possibly problematic).


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