Montgomery Meigs: Abizaid and Casey Flipped Iraq's Sunni Tribes

At a New America sponsored discussion yesterday on IEDs in Afghanistan, retired general Montgomery Meigs, chief of the Pentagon’s counter IED task force during the ugliest years in Iraq, gave credit for the big turnaround there in 2007 to two unsung generals: John Abizaid and George Casey.

He said one of the big reasons IED and other attacks dropped so dramatically in Iraq in 2007 was because the Sunni insurgency largely left the battlefield, “the Sunnis stopped putting IEDs out.” Meigs credited Abizaid and Casey’s work with the Sunni tribes in 2006 for the “Awakening” movement and getting the Sunnis to switch sides.

The dramatic drop off in violence in Iraq in 2007 is attributed to a number of factors, including Muqtada-al Sadr’s decision to keep his Shiite fighters sidelined. I think some people also forget that the Sunni insurgents by and large stepped to the sidelines on their own volition long before the “surge” troops arrived in 2007.

-- Greg

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