US plots ‘new liberation of Baghdad’ - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 10:07 AM
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US plots ‘new liberation of Baghdad’

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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.

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.”

Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell at the State Department, said a crackdown in Baghdad was one of the few ways in which a fresh Iraqi government could bind the new national army and prove its mettle.

“They have to show they can liberate their own capital,” he said. “Baghdad is the key to stability in Iraq. It’s a chance for the new government to stand up and say, ‘Here we are’. They can’t do that if they are hunkered down in bunkers.”

The operation is likely to take place towards the end of the summer, giving the newly appointed government time to establish itself. If all goes to plan, US troop withdrawals could take place before the end of the year. In the absence of progress by then, the war may come to be seen by the American public as a lost cause.

There are 140,000 US troops in Iraq. Lieutenant-General John Vines, who stepped down as commander of ground forces in Iraq at the beginning of this year, said it was essential to reduce the numbers.

“There is an incredible amount of stress and I’m worried about it,” said Vines. He added that soldiers were on their third or fourth tours of duty in Iraq: “The war has been going on nearly as long as the second world war and we’re asking a lot of the forces.”

Vines said there was “an enormous amount of work in Baghdad under way” but cautioned that any onslaught against insurgents would be “fiendishly complicated”. The approach would have to be “locale by locale”. He added: “Ultimately we want a police solution in Baghdad.”

US forces would try to avoid the all-out combat that was used to subdue Falluja in 2004. “If you cut up the city into pieces neighbourhood by neighbourhood, you can prevent it from becoming a major urban fight,” said Gouré.

According to defence sources the Americans could augment their forces with heavily armed AC-130 aircraft and F-16s. But close air support is more likely to be provided by Cobra and Little Bird helicopters to minimise casualties.

The generals involved in planning the battle are architects of the “clear, hold and build” strategy in Iraq, designed to isolate insurgents from the population and prevent them regrouping in urban strongholds as soon as the military’s back is turned.

Vines’s replacement as commander of ground forces is Lieutenant-General Peter Chiarelli, who pioneered the use of force with Sweat to subdue Sadr city, a working-class Shi’ite district of Baghdad, in 2004. On the eve of his return to Iraq this year he described how the tactics had worked and vowed to repeat them.

“It was not uncommon for the 1st Calvary Division to be engaged in intense urban combat in one part of the city, while just a few blocks away we had units replacing damaged infrastructure, helping to foster business growth or facilitating the development of local government,” Chiarelli said.

The general is close to Petraeus, who won praise for his sensitive handling of communities in northern Iraq when he was in charge of the 101st Airborne Division, known as the “Screaming Eagles”, at the start of the war.

Another model for operations in Baghdad is an American-led Iraqi-backed military campaign at Tal Afar, a rebel town on the Syrian border. In a speech last month Bush hailed the campaign as an extraordinary success and brandished a letter from the town’s Iraqi mayor praising US forces as our “lion-hearted saviours”. But Tal Afar remains far from secure and the military tactics cannot be copied wholesale.

Baghdad is a swirling mess of competing Sunni and Shi’ite militias and Al-Qaeda fighters, and the city has been sliding into chaos at an alarming rate.

“My brother was killed by somebody who told us he was paid $10 for the job,” said a Baghdad victim of the violence. “A man met him in the street, pointed to my brother and said he was a bad guy and had to die. He never knew why.”

Kidnappings have risen to 50 a day in Iraq. Abu Ali, whose 12-year-son was kidnapped in Baghdad last month, said he had received a demand for $250,000 for his release. “Sometimes they let me hear him begging or crying for me to help him,” he said. “At other times they threaten me and say his brothers will be next.”

Anybody connected, however remotely, with the administration is seen as a target; 18 traffic police officers have been killed in the past two months. “They were simply doing their duty and trying to prevent traffic jams. There are no traffic lights,” said Major Hussein Khadem of the transport police.

Residents have taken to carrying two ID cards and ostentatiously religious CDs because of fears of sectarian violence. “If you are stopped at a Shi’ite checkpoint, you have to show you have a Shi’ite name, and if it is a Sunni insurgent checkpoint, it is good to show that your name is Omar,” said a Baghdad resident who had recently obtained a new ID.

The power of sectarian militias could prove to be a dangerous and unpredictable component of the battle for Baghdad. The Iraqi army and police — who will be expected to take over areas once the army has left — are largely Shi’ite dominated.

The battle could be a key test for Iraqi forces. “Ultimately we have to see whether the Iraqi army is a national army or a sectarian army,” Goure added.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, an expert on Iraq at the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute, said that while it was essential to bring Baghdad under control, he feared the Americans would leave the bulk of the fighting to the Iraqis and that a showdown could misfire.

“You would have to come down like a hammer on the Sunni areas of Baghdad and go house to house and nobody wants to do that,” Gerecht said. “It’s inevitably going to come and it’s going to be convulsive. The Americans will be there, but not in the numbers needed because American casualty rates will go up.”
Why don't we just give it up to Israel, they will know how to rrot out those fukin terrorists besides technically Iraq is part of Israel in a biblical sense and we must somehow work towards fulfilling the will of God.
If we can't manage to put a man in charge that shares our convictions and desires then why in the hell give it to those ayrabs? The oil is ours and the land is reserved for the chosen people so why in the hell are we tip toeing with this sore situation? Let's just burn those mutha fkers.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 10:10 AM
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RE: US plots ‘new liberation of Baghdad’

Are you still blowing it out your ass?


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 10:15 AM
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RE: US plots ‘new liberation of Baghdad’

The iraqi army may not be ready:

http://www.allfunpics.com/funpicture-124.html

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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