AHEAD OF THE CURVE
A while back I posted on tactics and strategy used to thwart those who seek disconnection
. In part, I discussed the use of competing, self-sustaining, networks as a two-edged sword that is often used in a 4GW situation to stymie an asymmetric opponent who adheres to no rules of engagement whatsoever.
"In many historical cases, once these networks have proliferated to a certain point of critical mass the revolution either succeeds or they are thwarted by the advent of equally lawless, competing, self-sustaining, systems, usually referred to by supporters of revolutionary causes as " death squads", " white terror " or " war lords ". In reality, these private paramilitaries are more or less morally identical to the revolutionary terrorists in terms of operational practices and organization - they eschew any traditional constraints of the laws of war or the Geneva Convention and commit atrocities against the supporters of revolution( real and imagined) in hopes of disrupting the terrorist movement itself. They are often quite successful in putting a serious dent in the aspirations of revolutionary movements.
While the government gains an advantage in sponsoring a competing network of terror by leveling the playing field it assumes a number of risks. First is that the atrocities committed by the paramilitaries will be attributed to the government by citizens and foreign states causing the terrorists to gain political support and sympathy. Secondly, this practice marks an escalation from a stage of conflict of limited insurgency to that of a general civil war with a rapid increase in human and economic costs and increasing risk of foreign intervention. Thirdly, is the problem of " Blowback " where the paramilitaries and terrorist movements alike evolve out of all control, mutate into new and more violent manifestations and the nation descends into a generalized chaos of a failed state."
Apparently, things in Iraq are reaching that juncture
( hat tip to a leftist commenter " Jaakko" on Collounsbury