In a post over at al Sahwa Pat Ryan addresses one of the interesting problems with terrorism and insurgency. He identifies two caus for the return to insurgency by some Sunni’s.
1) The movement toward formation of a unity government that will essentially be controlled by Shia interests – leaving the Sunnis with little to no representation.
2) The failure to effectively transition members of the Awakening…movement into follow-on jobs … – creating a cadre of military-trained, unemployed, and disaffected Sunni males.
In essence what he has identified are causes at two different levels of analysis. The first cause is a political problem. Sunni’s, as a group, have played by ‘the rules’ and are now seemingly disenfranchised, although by their count they won the vote. Of course, casual observers and experienced players in a democratic system may recognize that in a plurality system a cagey player who is not in power might be able to do just as well as one who is in power, that requires an understanding of democratic politics and a trust in the system that most Sunni’s probably do not have.
The second level is a personal level argument, in that people will join the insurgency because they have not been successfully co-opted by the government forces. This is not exactly the same but is related to arguments of terrorism, or insurgency, resulting from desperation and poverty. I have heard this argument many times before, including from some of the people that Pat mentions in his post. It seems likely that this is a contributing factor to individual problems, but I doubt this is a systemic issue.
Put this another way, assume the counter-factual that everyone in the “Awakening” was successfully transitioned to a good job in the security forces, or what not, but there was still an anti-Sunni government in place. Would there still be an insurgency? Similarly, if not one soul had been transitioned into the government, but the pro-Sunni list controlled the government, would there still be an insurgency? In the first case, I believe that you would get an insurgency, and in the second you would get insurgents. In the end, individuals and their interests might lead to insurgents, but it is only large enough groups that create problematic insurgencies.
This is a case where the problem is primarily political, and a political solution is the only way out.