Saddam Hussein was probably one of the worst leaders of all times. He destroyed his country, he got his kids killed and surrendered in the most pathetic manner and got himself hanged by a bunch of cheering enemies. Militarily he was awful. However his last decision as commander in chief was probably the only good decision that he made and ironically we never were able to overcome the foundation that he laid. Ironically he is managing the rules of engagement from his grave until we open our eyes and see the war within the context of history of the Middle East.
Saddam Housein loved to watch old movies over and over again. During the last few weeks before the invasion he was watching "black hawk down" several times a day. He ordered that one million AK-47s and one million RPGs be dispensed among the population He also opened the 200+ army depots to the public. The Iraqi army put up a token resistant and he vanished, getting ready for the war which is still going on after four years. His supporters are getting stronger and Americans are running around confused getting beat, bit by bit.
The term for war in Arabic is "harb" like battles of Second World War. But the most common form of fighting among Arabs is not a "harb" It is a "ghazveh", which means raid. That is when a small group of men attack the other group fast and getaway with whatever they can. Historically Arabs have been better in raids than battles, and that was the battle plan that Saddam laid.
"Our business is to make raids on the enemy, on our neighbor and on our own brother, in case we find none to raid but a brother!
Phillip Hitti, 2003
The most effective use of this ability in twentieth century was what Lawrence of Arabia achieved during the First World War. He had the entire peninsula in chaos in a few weeks.
Since then there have been several battles in the Middle East. The most famous ones are the wars between Arabs and Israelis and the battles between Americans and Iraqis. In all of these battles Arabs have lost. Except that it looks like things are changing. In the last fight between Hezbollah and Israel. The rockets never stopped coming. This was so similar to the situation in Iraq, and the situation in Iraq is so similar to Vietnam. It is well known that the best method of fighting in face of an enemy with overwhelming military superiority is "Urban guerilla warfare" or may be we should call it a raid or a Ghazveh.
Or may be we should remember the old saying" those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
Big countries have a tendency to continue doing what they do best (pour money, machines and man power).until they run out of blood and patience (French in Algeria , Russians in Afghanistan and Americans in Vietnam).Then they pack and go. Leaving behind animosity hatred and resentment of every intellectual of the third world.