The last, desperate gasp
They love us
US plots ‘new liberation of Baghdad’
Sarah Baxter , Washington
THE American military is planning a “second liberation of Baghdad” to be carried out with the Iraqi army when a new government is installed.Juan Cole says the following
Pacifying the lawless capital is regarded as essential to establishing the authority of the incoming government and preparing for a significant withdrawal of American troops.
Strategic and tactical plans are being laid by US commanders in Iraq and at the US army base in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, under Lieutenant- General David Petraeus. He is regarded as an innovative officer and was formerly responsible for training Iraqi troops.
The battle for Baghdad is expected to entail a “carrot-and-stick” approach, offering the beleaguered population protection from sectarian violence in exchange for rooting out insurgent groups and Al-Qaeda.
Sources close to the Pentagon said Iraqi forces would take the lead, supported by American air power, special operations, intelligence, embedded officers and back-up troops.
Helicopters suitable for urban warfare, such as the manoeuvrable AH-6 “Little Birds” used by the marines and special forces and armed with rocket launchers and machineguns, are likely to complement the ground attack.
The sources said American and Iraqi troops would move from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, leaving behind Sweat teams — an acronym for “sewage, water, electricity and trash” — to improve living conditions by upgrading clinics, schools, rubbish collection, water and electricity supplies.
Sunni insurgent strongholds are almost certain to be the first targets, although the Shi’ite militias such as the Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, and the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade would need to be contained.
President George W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, are under intense pressure to prove to the American public that Iraq is not slipping into anarchy and civil war. An effective military campaign could provide the White House with a bounce in the polls before the mid-term congressional elections in November. With Bush’s approval ratings below 40%, the vote is shaping up to be a Republican rout.
The Iraqi government, when it is finally formed, will also need to demonstrate that it is in charge of its own seat of government. “It will be the second liberation of Baghdad,” said Daniel Gouré, a Pentagon adviser and vice-president of the Lexington Institute, a military think tank. “The new government will be able to claim it is taking back the streets.”
Apparently the US military despairs of getting out of Iraq if the new Iraqi government cannot at least control the capital. They are therefore planning to have the new Iraqi military try to do effective counter-insurgency, clearing and holding Baghdad neighborhoods now infested with guerrillas.
The guerrillas in Iraq are nasty pieces of work, and I really wish they could be defeated by the forces of the elected Iraqi government. These are people that blow up children buying ice cream cones, or that bomb a wedding and then come back later and bomb the consequent funeral. But I just very much doubt that they can be defeated this way. Too many Sunni Iraqis support them by now, and hate the US and its Iraqi allies. And, the new Iraqi military is too listless and sectarianized to make something like this work over the long termOr the short term when they let Mahdi Army members pass through their lines without comment. Are Little Birds immune to RPG fire? No? What about the dead civilians left in their wake?
This sounds like Somalia II. The Iraqi Army is not going to kill Madhi Army or Badr members, when it's their family. They're more likely to join them.
The guerrillas want to win at any price. And if that requires turning Iraq into a charnel house, they will. All the Sunnis will do is fade away and stay in their homes. The Mahdi Army will not take kindly to being strafed by Little Birds.
The Iraqi goverment, which is made up of the Badr Brigade supporters, SCIRI and the United Iraqi Alliance, supported by Sadr. So let me get this, the Army, made up of Shias, is supposed to contain the Shia parties for a government which is a figment of our imagination.
And to protect people from secterian violence, they may have to kill Iraqi police and Army units.
Yeah, that could work
posted by Steve @ 12:35:00 PM