Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Iraq II: Baghdad Blog Roundup

The new U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in Baghdad is underway. We'll be charitable and say that it's too early to tell whether it is working, while the news from bloggers in the capital is decidedly mixed.

Omar at Iraq the Model is trying to be upbeat about house-by-house searches in the tough Al Doura district:
This sounds like encouraging news that the plan is going to deliver some positive results in extremely dangerous areas as al-Doura and the commanders are saying that similar operations will be repeated throughout the entire capital which is good, but I also have some concerns as to the durability of expected stability to be brought by this operation(s).

It is common sense that to keep an area secure after cleaning it, it will be essential to prevent a relapse that can happen when new criminals and weapons flow into that area from other places which is not unexpected since al-Doura for example lies at the south-western corner of Baghdad not far from the triangle of death which is where many criminals and terrorists operate in/from.

I think what US and Iraqi commanders are planning to do is to leave a force of certain size to guarantee that newly cleaned districts remain clean but I think this will also mean that after completing 5 or 6 operations like al-Doura's, there will be a significant amount of troops pinned to the areas after those operations are completed and this will mean that a lot of the striking power of US and Iraqi armies in Baghdad will not be available for further operations.

I think a better strategy would be to activate and empower the checkpoints at the entrances to the capital. In my estimation this will mean less pinned troops and more troops free to take action inside the city because these checkpoints already exist and what is needed is just to reinforce them and enhance their functionality and if this is achieved, then we can be sure that flow of weapons and militants into the capital from other areas will be controlled, meaning that when criminals and terrorists lose men or weaponry anywhere in Baghdad it will be very difficult for them to receive reinforcements from outside.
Brian is not so sanguine as is obvious from this post at Alive in Baghdad entitled Civil War or Not, Iraq Is Falling Apart:
I hate to start a post with such a negative shock-title, but that's what's on my mind lately.

Yesterday Omar told me he had seen someone shot to death after their car was run down by a vehicle full of men with guns. A phenomenon so common these days in Baghdad, perhaps we should start referring to them as UMWGs, or Unindentified Men With Guns.

To make matters worse, this happened just outside Omar's home in Adhamiya where Isam lives, US troops have replaced possibly corrupt Iraqi forces in policing the streets and pursuing terrorists. It is interesting that the US has said it will targer 4 hotspots to stabilize Iraq.

Unfortunately, these areas, Mansur, Adhamiya, Doura, and Ghazaliyah-Shula are all majority Sunni areas, except for the Shula section of the last area. Now, for sure there are resistance and insurgent elements in some of these areas, but this appears to demonstrate that, despite all their talk, the US military currently has very little stomach or intention to confront the militia (read sectarian) violence head on.

And finally, this cryptic -- and horrifying post -- from Zappy at Where the Date Palms Grow:
It is told that Count Dracula had his enemies impaled on the outskirts of Transylvania to horrify the Turks from ever wanting to invade Transylvania that was back in the fifteenth century.

Last week a neighbor found his son in front of his door, Impaled with a reinforcing steel rod, there were tomatoes and onions on both sides of that Rod.

I am going to stop blogging for a while.

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