The Baghdad Crackdown
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.