Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Baghdad Crackdown

Bill Roggio describes what forces are likely to be committed to the "Battle of Baghdad". Readers will note that in some neighborhoods, a mix of US and Iraqi forces will be used. Some mixed commands will be deployed against largely Sunni areas; others against Shi'ite. In certain districts it appears that only Iraqi forces will be used. In Sadr city, it appears that only the 1-2 IA brigade will be used. But in Adhamiya, two Iraqi brigades plus 2 US battalions are in Roggio's estimate. Al Mansour, a largely Sunni area, will see two US battalions and one Iraqi brigade.

Commentary

For any such operation to be effective, the security efforts must succeed in planting covert and overt agents of coalition authority in these areas -- as replacements for the shadow governments which now probably rule the roost. Otherwise the militias will simply wait out the security operation and go back to business. But at least for the duration of the crackdown, the militia cadres will be vulnerable to arrest, detention and interrogation and a good opportunity to crack into enemy cells. If the rules of engagement still call for "catch and release", the sweep will probably be largely futile. But there are other dangers. The first is for militia leaders to be "captured" by Iraqi units with whom they are in cahoots and hidden in what will essentially be a "safe house" beyond the range of anyone who may be looking for them. The other danger is that other sectarian outfits will use the sweep to hunt down personal enemies to settle scores. Either way, it will be essential for the US components to keep a close eye on events to avoid the pitfalls on both sides.

17 Comments:

Blogger desert rat said...

The idea that the militias are a shadow government but not an extension of the people under stress is a poor perspective, I think.
That no US troops will be based in Sadr City is telling to the continued political power that the Sadr faction wields in the Iraqi Federal Government. Even if al-Sadr himself has reportedly migrated to Iran, for religious training.

If the Surge can stem the street violence the Government of Mr Maliki can take over Security functions. It seems that according to Mr Gates's testimony to Congress, as related by westhawk, the developing "Fallback Plan" is:
... that in case of failure, U.S. military forces in Iraq would move “out of harm’s way,” implying a retreat to their defensible operating bases. ..."

So, it would seem, that no matter the circumstance on the ground, the Iraqi get their cities back, come late summer, early fall. November '07 at the latest.

The commenters at Roggio's seemed to think that an enhanced IA would be able to step in by then.
An optimistic crew over there at the 4th Rail.

2/11/2007 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

DR,

When has a truly national army not mirrored its countrymen? Does the American administration seriously expect a trans-species metamorphosis, whereby the Shi'a moth becomes the Sunni butterfly? Someone is preparing those fallback positions, right?

2/11/2007 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Harrison said...

Speaking of fallbacks, Gates preps for Plan B?

For any such operation to be effective, the security efforts must succeed in planting covert and overt agents of coalition authority in these areas -- as replacements for the shadow governments which now probably rule the roost.

I remember that there was a plan for Iraqi Police to stay amidst neighbourhoods, and this current operation would allow these undercover Police time to ingratiate themselves with Iraqis living in these areas, and perhaps aid in the covert collection of intel. Not sure if it's being implemented clandestinely or abandoned.

Will Patraeus' promise of altering the ROE take effect soon? Will the Snake Eater be sufficiently utilised to track these militia leaders and their operatives so that they are unable to wait out the operation?

2/11/2007 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Without a drastic overhaul of their local police the chance of actually changing the security is nil. Most of the local police are the death squads.

Also, if you read the Iraqi blogs, you will find that many if not most believe the Iraqi government will not be able to function as a FEDERAL government until Maliki is replaced.

Replaced by who? No one is sure of that, they can't seem to decide on anyone that is not beholding to several groups and that really is strong enough to make Iraq one country under federal law alone.

Like one translator put it, Iraq has always been ruled by a strongman under very tight strict laws. Iraqis are not ready for a weak man or government, which most think democracy is.

There are no quote marks because I can't find the link and can't remember it word for word.

But you get the idea.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

2/11/2007 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Jack Kelly makes an interesting point concerning the recent HIE:
" ... Army and Marine intelligence, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Treasury Department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis think that al-Qaida is running the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. The other 12 agencies think the Sunni portion of the violence is dominated by former supporters of Saddam Hussein. Al-Qaida, the majority thinks, is playing only a relatively small role.

The dispute is fraught with political implications. If the majority is right that the insurgency is dominated by ex-Baathists, that bolsters the view of those who think the conflict in Iraq is largely a civil war. But if the dissenters are right that al-Qaida is running the show, this bolsters President Bush's contention that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. ...
...
It makes a very big difference whether the majority or the dissenters are right about who is calling the shots in the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. But who is right?

The majority who say the Baathists are still in charge is large. But the dissenters -- especially Army and Marine intelligence -- represent the agencies in the best position to know what's happening on the ground in Iraq.

The position of the dissenters is close to that expressed in a report last August by Marine Col. Peter Devlin, chief of intelligence for Anbar province. And the CIA didn't exactly cover itself with glory in its prewar predictions. Have the CIA's sources improved? Are they better than the military's?

I don't know the answers to these questions. But I do know that finding them is critically important. Intelligence is the radar of policy. If our radar is busted -- either because we lack the means to find out what is going on, the wit to understand it or the guts to face it, our policy will be broken, too.


Who is the Enemy?
Inquiring minds and all that...
Linked article, here.

2/11/2007 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

While a world apart, the pattern is consistent.

"Pakistani units were even given radios to warn them of incoming attacks, and a flare is sent up if all else fails (something the Taliban no doubt recognizes by now, if they are not in possession of the U.S. radios.)"

U.S. shells Taliban in Pakistan

Yeah, that compassionate conservatism just kills me. It may kill you too.

2/11/2007 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

I suppose the element of surprise will come when we do something unexpected and/or unadvertised. How much has the President asked in additional Afghan funding? How much could be saved by not shelling abandoned Taliban positions?

Why not send up drones that will give the Taliban a fair warning heads-up? The drone then reports back the abandoned position. This is then followed by no attack. Everybody wins.

The US spends a great deal of money training folk at academies in the fine art of war.

2/11/2007 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

I am certain our bolstered air assets are being well used in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It would be deflating to think that a 10 hour B-1B mission was squandered attacking deserted tents and outhouses. Why, that would rate up there with Clinton's midnight attack on the custodial staff of the Iraq Ministry of Defense.

2/12/2007 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Never one to sign off on a down note,

Gates vows cooperation with Pakistan

So, take that, Taliban scum!

2/12/2007 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Why don't we just get with the programme.

All the Iraqis hate us.

They're not worth it.

ADE

2/12/2007 03:01:00 AM  
Blogger Harrison said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/12/2007 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger Harrison said...

re: Pakistan

Yet despite the very real problems in western Pakistan, the Pakistani government, led by President-General Pervez Musharraf, may to be ready to cut another deal with the Taliban in Waziristan. Last week, the government sent a team to negotiate with Baitullah Mehsud, the most powerful Taliban commander in South Waziristan with an army of 30,000.

What is it that gives Musharraf reason to negotiate with these terrorists? Does he not see that his belief in negotiating with the enemy continually saps the incentive for the enemy to comply when it knows that non-compliance can reap itself more rewards?

Or does he see something we don't? Thankfully, if Gates has his way, we're not about to find out what clairvoyant visions Musharraf might be harbouring - in all likelihood delusional.

2/12/2007 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Of all the Islamic majority countries in the world, harrison, which is nuclear capable?
Which harbours aQ and Taliban bases and infrastrucutre?

One and the same.

The General President is not our friend, never has been. He is no democrat, but a tin star dictator.
Installed by the Pakistani Army.

The Wahabbists will get their nukes, hell, they already have them.

2/12/2007 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Pakistani founded the Taliban, harrison, the Taliban is still an extension of the ISI, the Pakistani Spy/Security Agency.

Has been from the beginning of the Taliban. It's the Pashtun, 30 million strong, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, that the Taliban spawn and swim amongst.

2/12/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

desert rat said...

The General President is not our friend, never has been. He is no democrat, but a tin star dictator.
Installed by the Pakistani Army.


Nor is Maliki and his Dawa/SCIRI/Sadr alliance our friends. Yet we're spending blood and treasure to strengthen his pro-Iranian, pro-Hezbollah gov't. Dawa was labelled a terrorist organization by the Reagan administration, and every month, as Wrecthard has pointed out, the US finds that some Dawa bigwig is responsible for spilling American blood. Hell, Maliki himself used to run Dawa's Jihad Office out of Damascus. Ridiculous what this war has degenerated into.

Papa Ray was dead on when he wrote:

Papa Ray said...
Without a drastic overhaul of their local police the chance of actually changing the security is nil. Most of the local police are the death squads.

Also, if you read the Iraqi blogs, you will find that many if not most believe the Iraqi government will not be able to function as a FEDERAL government until Maliki is replaced.

Replaced by who? No one is sure of that, they can't seem to decide on anyone that is not beholding to several groups and that really is strong enough to make Iraq one country under federal law alone.


The Maliki gov't is not worth one American life and I'm still waiting for someone to tell me, in all honesty, that they believe it is.

2/12/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

I think folks are reading too much into the "Open Source" order of battle.

The absence of a designated unit in an area could simply be an absence of open source data.

The Generals have repeated said the plan would be "rolling".

There are 3 more US brigades yet to arrive in Baghdad.

2/12/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Sadr has fled Baghdad. If that is not a victory, at least it's an extremely interesting point towards something new in the picture there.

Maybe he'll say hello to Osama for us, if we ask him nicely.

2/13/2007 06:18:00 PM  

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