The Ongoing Battle for Baghdad

Bill Roggio of Counterterrorism Blog gives a good overall view of the strategy being executed in Baghdad in “Operation Forward Together”. His point? Ignore the instant win crowd and watch what happens over the next few months. Here are a couple excerpts from his post as well as a graphic..

Map of Baghdad and location of the for worst neighborhoods. Click map to view.

To combat the insurgency, and sectarian and criminal violence in Baghdad, the Iraqi government and Coalition announced Operation Together Forward. USA Today provides a simplified breakdown of the operation. “The offensive is planned in stages and is designed to avoid an all-out attack. In the first phase, launched July 9, Iraqi security forces positioned checkpoints throughout the city. In the second phase, launched last week, Iraqi forces supported by U.S. troops began isolating and clearing parts of the city block by block. Iraqi security forces will remain to provide security once areas are cleared. When areas are stable, the government will bring economic assistance into blighted neighborhoods.” This strategy is essentially what the Marines call the “3 Block War.”

While many pundits have dismissed the operation as a failure as it did not secure the city within weeks of launch, the Coalition appears to have a longer time line to secure Baghdad measured in months, not weeks. As USA Today reports, the second phase of the operation began in the second week of August.

Today’s society it seems, with nearly instant global communication, fast food and microwave ovens is entirely too impatient, especially when it comes to military or security operations. Building a Democracy requires far more than Insert Marines, hold elections, wipeing our hands and proclaiming all done.  

A huge part of the security problem faceing Iraq is the failure of the Maliki govt to take any significant action against the Madhi army, and the complicit and sometimes participation of shiite dominated police forces in the sectarian violence. The dismanteling of this and other similar militias as well as the vetting of the police forces must be a priority for the Coalition and the Iraqi military. There has been substantial progress made in doing this, though obviously there is much more we have to do.  

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