Technical Note to the Last Post
There have been some questions about the source of the topographic map in the last post. Some readers have wondered whether the Belmont Club has access to a secret source of maps. Unfortunately not. I'll walk the reader through a step by step to show how it was obtained.
- Go to the Perry-Castaneda map collection at the UT (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/iraq.html)
- Click on a link called Iraq - Topographic Maps, Soviet Military 1:200,000 Series (University of California, Berkeley)
- You will get to a key map with individual 1:200,000 maps. Click on 9:37-17 and 9:37-18 to obtain the maps for Abu Kamal and Al Qaim respectively. These are http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/EART/iraq/200k/I37_17.jpg and http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/EART/iraq/200k/I37_18.jpg. Unfortunately the maps are split at an awkward junction. 9:37-17 shows the Syrian side and 9:37-18 shows the Iraqi side. How to patch the maps together to see them in conjunction?
- Now comes the magic part. Open an image editing program and stitch the 9:37-17 and 9:37-18 together. Alternatively, print the both, cut the edges so that they are flush, tape the maps together with clear Scotchtape and scan. Then zoom in and crop out the part where the Euphrates crosses the border. You'll get the topo map provided in the last post.
Hope this solves the mystery.
With respect to the title of my last post, "Sword and Shield", it is not a reference to the KGB. Rather it is a reference to German armored tactics which had a defensive component ("shield") and an offensive component ("sword"). In this instance, it refers to operations "River Gate" and "Hunter" in particular, but more generally to the concept of defeating the insurgency using a combination of offensive and defensive aspects.
N.B. For a reference to the German "Sword and Shield" idea, see "SHIELD & SWORD TACTICS" at http://www.warfarehq.com/articles/cs_articles/88s.shtml