View Full Version : The Battle of Baghdad

06-15-2006, 01:46 PM
Securing Baghdad: Understanding and Covering the Operation (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/060614_securing_baghdad.pdf)

...a short paper, but here's a few key excerpts:

...there are several points that observers of this operation need to consider:

- Prior operations and the changing security problem: The operation comes after a major sweep of al Qa'ida and insurgent cells in Baghdad and the country. It builds on previous success. At the same time, the "red" or dangerous areas in Baghdad have crept back to at least the size they were in early 2005. Senior Iraqi officials make it clear that they also see the threat as both insurgent and a mix of militias and local security forces.

- The problem of force ratios: ...Regardless of the numbers, even 80,000 men would be a small force in terms of the total population and area to be covered....for an operation to have real meaning, and produce sustainable results, it has to go far beyond manning check points, establishing a visible presence, and creating the image of security. These are politically important, but they also will be hollow if they are the core of the operations. Insurgents and militias can simply wait out the operations, bury their arms, shift to targets in other areas, and operate around and outside the checkpoints and areas where forces are present.

- What does matter -- Focused operations: ...the real impact will consist of active operations in the "red" or high threat areas that directly attack insurgent targets on which there is good intelligence, and efforts to disarm, disperse, or directly control the militias.

- Credibility and restraint: The public side of the operation needs to do as much as possible to restore Iraqi faith in US operations, the MOI forces, and the police.

- Phasing the operation and dealing with the militias: ...Prime Minister Maliki has been very clear about the need to bring militias under control, and their has been some discussion of relocating some elements, giving them jobs, disarming them, etc. They cannot be treated in the same way as the
insurgents, but they must be dealt with. Moreover, the clear litmus test is Sadr City and the Mahdi militia. Any operation that does not deal with this problem cannot bring security or stability to Baghdad.

- Follow-up and persistence: ...No matter how successful this operation appears to be, or is claimed to be, it will only have meaning if Iraqi police and the Iraqi government establish a lasting presence and control in red areas.

- The limits to what can be done: ...Victory in Baghdad will always have its limits until there is a much broader defeat of insurgents and a political process that that Arab Shi'ites, Arab Sunnis, Kurds, and others can support. There cannot be a lasting military or security victory in Baghdad without such developments.

06-15-2006, 02:32 PM
Over on Strategypage, where I often post, I've had an argument with an Israeli gentleman where I've suggested that Moqtada Sadr's militias and the Badr Brigades have a bullseye upon them.

I wonder if my thoughts are, in fact, true? I wonder if, despite Maliki's journey south to Basra and this most recent announcement of intent, whether their government will possess the will to face the source of Iraq's real problems- shia militias and the gun culture underlying this which has led to vigilante/vendetta atmosphere that has spiked violence far beyond that which is simply attributable to the Sunni insurgency or Al Qaeda? Or the cover which the militias provide to common criminals acting in alliances of convenience with these militias? One doesn't need much imagination to understand the internal stress that active operations will place upon the shia and sunni representatives within their coalition government.

I do know this much. Their government's credibility is more at stake than ever, based upon this proclaimation to restore security in Baghdad. Our president had best understand that BAGHDAD is where OUR media is entrenched. It is therefore from Baghdad that results must be derived to establish some baseline credibility between the Iraqi government and the American people.

Certainly, one day does not define an ongoing security operation of this magnitude, but down where the rubber meets the road I'd wonder if it isn't more business as usual. Frankly, active combat against insurgents in the western suburbs and militias within Sadr City would indicate the aggressive determination of the Iraqi and American forces. Nothing else. We would expect nothing less of the insurgents and militias than extreme resistance if faced with their survival.

Question is, will they indeed be facing a fight for their continued existance? I rather doubt it, though hope I'm wrong.

Merv Benson
06-15-2006, 03:12 PM
CNN: (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/06/14/iraq.main/)

Iraqi troops Wednesday uncovered a kidnapping ring, seized weapons -- including three rockets -- and defused two roadside bombs after beginning a security clampdown on the often lawless streets of Baghdad.

In the first day of the new government's push to restore order in the capital, Iraqi troops also enforced a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and issued a weapons ban for civilians.

Four insurgents were detained at one checkpoint after three people emerged from a car "screaming for help," said Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.

"We found eight people that had been kidnapped now for four days that we were able to return back under control of the Iraqi government," Caldwell said. "They worked for an electrical company down south of Baghdad."


I think it will have an effect. Whether 80,000 is enough may be a question, but I don't think Saddam needed more than that to keep control. His methods were, however, much more brutal and terrifying.

06-15-2006, 03:48 PM
I think it will have an effect. Whether 80,000 is enough may be a question, but I don't think Saddam needed more than that to keep control. His methods were, however, much more brutal and terrifying.
Saddam had a much stronger security forces-to-population ratio, which consisted of concentric rings of watchers watching watchers. Each ring consisted of a blend of military, "law" enforcement and intelligence elements. Not to mention the ranks of informants, which, although they may not have reached East German levels, was still a formidable operation. I had the very interesting opportunity to view Saddam's Baghdad up close when I worked with UNSCOM in the mid-'90s. Think of Moscow under Stalin.

Having so many individuals with a depth of experiencing in running HUMINT and technical collection ops against their own people in their own country certainly provided the Sunni Arab insurgents with a certain advantage from the get-go. The Kurds, having essentially fought a vicious CI battle with the Mukhabarat since gaining autonomy during Provide Comfort, have developed a significant degree of expertise within their AO at foiling their ops. The Shi'a, having been constantly under the thumb of Saddam until OIF, never developed an equivalent CI capability. The new Iraqi regime still faces a significant challenge in developing an integrated CI capability that can meet the insurgent threat, but is still suitable for an emerging democracy. In fighting off the threat, we don't want to end up recreating the building blocks of dictatorship.

06-15-2006, 06:12 PM
The sunni insurgent leadership will certainly take measures to "go to ground". However, their "soldiers" will have a much harder time doing so, I would think, if faced by the appearance of strong Iraqi Army/U.S. Army forces in their neighborhoods. If the checkpoints are indeed pervasive, coupled by our active patrolling of these neighborhoods, combat should ensue.

Moreover, while the Sunni insurgency is a long term endemic issue, which means that their forces and key operatives may do as much as possible to avoid combat, I can't imagine the same for Sadr City, nor it's militias, who derive their power by their open control of this huge ghetto. Both the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades must be confronted and fought. They will, no doubt, lose and attempt exfiltration from Baghdad if confronted. This means following them south to Najaf and Basra.

My expectation is for this to happen. I can't imagine a facade of control existing for long in any circumstance short of bringing the militias, who are much more visible, to battle. High time it occurs, should it finally happen. Otherwise our commanders are kidding themselves on this latest endeavor.

07-09-2006, 11:16 PM
Item: - Phasing the operation and dealing with the militias:...Prime Minister Maliki has been very clear about the need to bring militias under control, and their has been some discussion of relocating some elements, giving them jobs, disarming them, etc. They cannot be treated in the same way as the insurgents, but they must be dealt with. Moreover, the clear litmus test is Sadr City and the Mahdi militia. Any operation that does not deal with this problem cannot bring security or stability to Baghdad.

BBC: Dozens Killed in Baghdad Attacks (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5162510.stm)

Gunmen in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have killed at least 40 people at a fake police checkpoint, in an apparent sectarian attack against Sunni Muslims.

Police say Shia militants stopped cars in the western Jihad district, separated Sunnis and shot them...
Al Jazeera: Shia militia kills dozens in Baghdad (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/30D6EB33-2471-4516-BB2C-715AACFDEC56.htm)

...The victims were gathered together, Sunnis were then separated according to the names on their identity cards and killed after about an hour, said Maitham Abdul-Razzaq, an Iraqi police lieutenant.

An Iraqi interior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said Shia militiamen wearing masks and black uniforms also roamed through the area, grabbing people from the street...
We are very damn close to the tipping point between fighting the insurgency and the outbreak of full-fledged sectarian warfare. Although both the coalition and the nascent Iraqi government have taken measures to interdict this drop into the abyss, too many missed opportunities and a lack of operational focus continues to channel actions in that direction.

If you haven't give it a read already, I recommend a once-over of Dr. Terrill's Strategic Implications of Intercommunal Warfare in Iraq (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB595.pdf), published last Feb by SSI.

07-26-2006, 09:21 AM
26 July New York Times - Battle for Baghdad Boils Down to Grabbing a Slice at a Time (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/world/middleeast/26military.html?) by Michael Gordon.

The Bush administration’s announcement on Tuesday that it will shift more forces to Baghdad is much more than a numbers game. It reflects a new strategy to reclaim control of the Iraqi capital and a new approach for deploying the troops.

The plan is to concentrate on specific neighborhoods rather than distribute the forces throughout the city, control movement in and out of sectors of the capital and try to sweep them of insurgents and violent militias.

In effect, the scheme is a version of the “ink blot” counterinsurgency strategy of grabbing a piece of terrain, stabilizing it and gradually expanding it. Only this time the objective is not a far-flung Iraqi city or town, but the capital, the seat of the fledgling government and home to some seven million Iraqis.

The plan has risks. It will divert American military police from deploying to Anbar Province, where the insurgency continues to rage. And an increased presence of American troops on the ground in Baghdad, where insurgent attacks have soared, carries the potential of more American casualties.

But Baghdad in military parlance is the “center of gravity” for the larger effort to secure the country...

By securing the city a sector at a time, American and Iraqi commanders hope to allow the Iraqi government to restore essential services and build support and legitimacy among an anxious public.

Once the areas are stabilized, the Iraqi police are to be brought in to maintain control, freeing the American and Iraqi military to extend their reach elsewhere. The Iraqi police are to be accompanied by American military police, who will act as advisers and trainers.

The Americans and the Iraqis are likely to start with the easiest sectors, calculating that they need to demonstrate a measure of success before taking on the most contested areas. Even as they expand their control the American and Iraqi forces will maintain the ability to conduct raids in less secure areas of the city.

The war is a contest of moves and countermoves, and the insurgents and the militias that the new American and Iraqi forces will confront can be expected to strike back...

07-26-2006, 12:40 PM
So we have this happening 2 times in the past 30 days. Should not be a surprise to anyone.

Below is the announcment from 14 June news article.

Iraq: Troops Flood Baghdad In Security Push

The Iraqi government has ordered thousands of extra troops onto the streets of Baghdad and tightened security measures in a fresh bid to curb violence in the capital.

June 14, 2006 (RFE/RL) – The newly formed Iraqi government today visibly stepped up the presence of Iraqi Army soldiers on the streets of the capital, Baghdad. It has also extended the hours of curfew and banned unauthorized citizens from carrying guns outside their homes.

The measures, introduced one day after they were announced, are to reassure the capital's residents of the new government's determination to tackle insurgents, to crack down on warring Sunni and Shi'a militiamen, and to reduce crime.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says his new initiative will "provide security and confront terrorism and ... enable Iraqis to live in peace in Baghdad."

"No mercy toward those who show no mercy to our people." -- Iraqi Prime Minister al-MalikiHe also promised the security forces would be "very tough" and would show "no mercy toward those who show no mercy to our people."

Today the increased security presence in the streets is clear, with more checkpoints, longer queues of cars at checkpoints, and more troops visible on the streets.

However, some groups of gunmen have resisted the security sweep, with some violence reported in the north of Baghdad, particularly in the Al-Adhamiya district, where gunmen and security forces clashed. The Al-Adhamiya district is considered to be an insurgent stronghold and one of the most dangerous areas in the capital.

Clear Rules, Unclear Enemies

The new security campaign, dubbed "Going Forward Together," is the first such initiative launched by the new government since it took office a month ago.

The government said on July 13 that operation will involve more than 40,000 Iraqi and U.S.-led forces. U.S. forces are, however, reported to be taking a low-profile role.

The operation comes just a week after U.S. forces killed the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Mu'sab al-Zarqawi.

Al-Zarqawi's successor, identified as Abu Hamza al-Mujahir, is reported to have vowed revenge and to defeat "crusaders" and Shi'a" in Iraq.

A key aspect of the operation will be to reduce the number of unauthorized -- and often unidentifiable -- men carrying guns in the city.

General Abd al-Aziz Mohammad Jassem, Iraq's combined-forces operations chief, said that "anybody on the street, in his car or in his shop caught with a weapon, any kind of weapon, will be considered a terrorist" and "will be killed or captured."

Ordinary Iraqis say the problem of unknown, armed men roaming Baghdad cannot be overstated.

The gunmen include not only insurgents and criminals but also members of armed forces associated with various government ministries. The guards are often recruited from members or sympathizers of the armed wings of the political party that holds the ministry.

Elements in some of these forces are suspected of taking part in the ###-for-tat violence between Sunni and Shi'ite militias.

Doubts About The New Measures

It is unclear how the new security operation can crack down on such forces given their close ties to ruling parties.

Major General Mahdi al-Gharrawi, the commander of public order forces under the Interior Ministry, has however said there are plans for a single uniform to distinguish legitimate security officers.

As part of the security campaign, the nighttime curfew in the capital is being extended by two and-a-half hours, to run from 8:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. In effect, Baghdad residents must now remain indoors from dusk to dawn.

The exact number of people who die in Baghdad daily from insurgent attacks, sectarian killings, and shootings and kidnappings by criminal gangs is unknown.

But the scale of the killing is suggested by the number of bodies brought to Baghdad's central morgue.

Doctors at the morgue at Bab al-Mu'atham, near the city center, say they have been receiving more than 1,000 bodies each month this year.

A doctor at the morgue, Kais Hassan, says that is three to five times higher than the number received prior to 2003, when U.S.-led forces toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

07-27-2006, 01:38 PM
From CSIS, 26 Jul 06: The Gains and Risks in Sending in More US Troops (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/060726_baghdad_problem.pdf)

...The US and Iraqi forces are unlikely to be able to do more than buy time in Baghdad, or anywhere else, unless they can operate in a climate where there is a major move towards a new political bargain between Iraq's factions, where people can see reconciliation working at least at the top, and there is hope that the government is finally becoming effective. The political dimension must move in tandem with the military and security dimensions, and it is not. The fact that Iraqis voted to divide by sect and ethnicity—Arab Sunni, Arab Shi'ite, and Kurd—remains the driving reality. It is being increasingly compounded by intra-Shi'ite tensions, particularly Moqtada al-Sadr's factions but also tensions between Dawa and SCIRI.

This lack of the political dimension necessary to succeed in the military and security sectors is particularly critical in Baghdad and its surrounding areas—although Basra, Kirkuk, and Mosul all have their own growing divisions. The more mixed the city, the greater the tensions, and Baghdad has at least 5 million people, and possible now some 7 million in the greater Baghdad area and surrounding towns. Some 15-20% of Iraq's people are now in major urban areas which daily requires them to divide to survive...

07-31-2006, 01:10 PM
Just a thought, but we had the type of "ink blot" coverage in Baghdad during 2003-2004. The neighborhoods belonged to coalition troops with Iraqi counterparts working the streets alongside of us.

The city had its districts and the prevaling idea was that the US forces patrolled them and helped to keep the Iraqi Security Forces in charge and in the right locations.

Nearly all of the civil sites were guarded by Iraqis. The larger more important structures were guarded by joint CF-ISF troop elements. The CF patrolled the city.

Yes, there were issues, Iraqi Police stations blown up, checkpoints blown up. But those issues started to happen after the consolidation of troops.

A true ink blot or oil stain strategy has the outside force, the CF in this case, living in small enclaves within the larger Iraqi society. Living on large Forward Operating Bases and patrolling into the center of the city takes time. It takes the same routes. It shows the enemy that our addiction to Burger King and Green Beans is more important than long term success.

The Marines are and have been using a tactic the Army shied away from in late 2003, small outposts where a company had control of a sector. Where knowing your constituents meant soemthing and patrolling the local neighbor brought contacts.

COIN is so much about the boring police work that we do not seem to have the patience to stick with it as a military. The current return to Baghdad in force is the last chance we have to swing this center of gravity. I hope it succeeds.



08-23-2006, 09:16 AM
23 August Wall Street Journal commentary - The Battle of Baghdad (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008834) by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.

Although there has been much good news to report about security progress in Iraq this summer--the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the handover of security responsibility for Muthanna province, the fifth of 10 Iraqi Army Division Headquarters to assume the lead in its area of responsibility--Iraq faces an urgent crisis in securing its capital, Baghdad. Although Iraqi leaders and the Coalition have a sound strategy to turn the situation around, it is vital that Iraqis control sectarian violence and come together against the terrorists and outside powers that are fomenting the violence.

In July, there were 558 violent incidents in Baghdad, a 10% increase over the already high monthly average. These attacks caused 2,100 deaths, again an increase over the four-month average. More alarmingly, 77% of these casualties were the result of sectarian violence, giving rise to fears of an impending civil war in Iraq. While statistics should not be the sole measure of progress or failure in stabilizing Iraq and quelling violent sectarianism, it is clear that the people of Baghdad are being subjected to unacceptable levels of fear and violence.

This trend is especially troubling because we cannot achieve our goal of a secure, stable and democratic Iraq if such devastating violence persists in the capital. Baghdad represents one-fifth of Iraq's total population, and is a microcosm of Iraq's diverse ethnic and sectarian communities. Baghdad is also Iraq's financial and media center, the latter of which is especially important given that the declared strategy of the terrorists and violent sectarian groups in Iraq revolves around creating a perception of growing chaos in an effort to persuade Americans that the effort in Iraq has failed. Therefore, violence in Baghdad has a disproportionate psychological and strategic effect.

The deterioration of security in Baghdad since February's attack on the Samara Mosque is the result of the competition between Sunni and Shiite extremists to expand their control and influence throughout the capital. Although the leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq has been significantly attrited, it still has cells capable of operating independently in Baghdad by deploying car bombs to Shiite neighborhoods. At the same time, Sunni and Shiite death squads, some acting as Iranian surrogates, are responsible for an increasing share of the violence. This cycle of retaliatory violence is compounded by shortcomings in the training and leadership of Iraq's National Police. To combat this complex problem, Iraq's national unity government, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has made securing Baghdad its top priority. The government's Baghdad Security Plan has three principal components:

Stabilizing Baghdad zone by zone. Four Iraqi Army battalions, two Coalition brigades and five military police companies will be redeployed to Baghdad, resulting in more than 12,000 additional forces on the city's streets...

Disrupting support zones. Even as Iraqi and Coalition forces concentrate on securing specific neighborhoods, they will continue to conduct targeted operations in other zones that are staging areas for the violence...

Undertaking civic action and economic development. One of the most tragic elements of the increasing violence in Baghdad is that it has robbed the Iraqi people of the sense of normalcy they desperately seek after living under crushing tyranny for more than three decades...

It is understandable that when the American people hear of new U.S. casualties and witness the images of bloodshed from the streets of Baghdad, they conclude that our plans for stemming sectarian violence in Iraq have failed. Yet, implementation of the Baghdad Security Plan has only recently begun. Iraq's national unity government has been in office barely three months, and its ministers of defense and interior have been on the job for less than 80 days. Iraqi ministers are still hiring key staff, and they are learning to work together, under the leadership of a new prime minister...

Moreover, as tragic and dangerous as the ongoing violence is to our shared vision of a free and prosperous Iraq, it is not representative of the Iraqi people's sentiments toward one another...

These programs are already beginning to show positive results...

Although it is too early to determine whether these success stories will be replicated throughout the city, this initial progress should give Iraqis, as well as Americans, hope about the future. Contrary to those who portray Iraq as hopelessly mired in ancient ethnic and sectarian feuds, Iraqis themselves want to put the divisions of the past behind them. The Battle of Baghdad will determine the future of Iraq, which will itself go a long way to determining the future of the world's most vital region. Although much difficult work still remains to be done, it is imperative that we give the Iraqis the time and material support necessary to see this plan through, and to win the Battle of Baghdad.

09-12-2006, 12:01 PM
12 September Washington Post commentary - Reinforce Baghdad (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/11/AR2006091100879.html) by William Kristol and Rich Lowry.

We are at a crucial moment in Iraq. Supporters of the war, like us, have in the past differed over tactics. But at this urgent pass, there can be no doubt that we need to stop the downward slide in Iraq by securing Baghdad.

There is no mystery as to what can make the crucial difference in the battle of Baghdad: American troops. A few thousand U.S. troops have already been transferred to Baghdad from elsewhere in Iraq. Where more U.S. troops have been deployed, the situation has gotten better. Those neighborhoods intensively patrolled by Americans are safer and more secure. But it is by no means clear that overall troop numbers in Baghdad are enough to do the job. And it is clear that stripping troops from other fronts risks progress elsewhere in the country.

The bottom line is this: More U.S. troops in Iraq would improve our chances of winning a decisive battle at a decisive moment. This means the ability to succeed in Iraq is, to some significant degree, within our control. The president should therefore order a substantial surge in overall troop levels in Iraq, with the additional forces focused on securing Baghdad.

There is now no good argument for not sending more troops. The administration often says that it doesn't want to foster Iraqi dependency. This is a legitimate concern, but it is a second-order and long-term one. Iraq is a young democracy and a weak state facing a vicious insurgency and sectarian violence. The Iraqis are going to be dependent on us for some time. We can worry about weaning Iraq from reliance on our forces after the security crisis in Baghdad has passed...

09-15-2006, 09:57 PM

Please don't tell me they're going to try "Clear, Hold, Build" strategy around Baghdad....

09-16-2006, 10:23 AM
16 September Washington Post - Security Ring for Baghdad Underway (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/15/AR2006091501232.html) by Sudarsan Raghavan.

U.S. military and Iraqi security forces have begun a massive effort to seal off Baghdad with a ring of reinforced checkpoints, berms, trenches, barriers and fences in an attempt to clamp down on insurgents, officials said Friday.

A few dozen checkpoints will be placed along key arteries in and out of Baghdad to ensure that people move through "predictable paths" that can be controlled, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman, said late Friday night. Iraqi forces will man the checkpoints and patrol the terrain, with support from U.S. troops...

The construction of a ring around Baghdad would be the most ambitious security endeavor yet for the U.S. military and its Iraqi allies as they try to block militias, death squads and insurgents from funneling in weapons, explosives, funding and recruits from outside the capital...

09-16-2006, 10:46 AM
Anbar Called Secondary to U.S. Efforts in Baghdad (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/15/AR2006091501017.html) by Ann Scott Tyson.

American troops face "significant challenges" in western Iraq's volatile Anbar region -- the deadliest province for U.S. forces -- but military efforts there are secondary to the priority of quelling sectarian unrest in Baghdad, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq said yesterday.

"Al Anbar today is a supporting effort to what we're doing in Baghdad," Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, commander of Multinational Corps-Iraq, said in a videoconference with Pentagon reporters. "Baghdad is our main effort right now," he said, explaining why a battalion of U.S. troops was recently moved from Anbar to Baghdad.

On a day of sober talk about Iraq, Chiarelli also issued a dire warning on the risks of pulling out U.S. troops and allowing the country to slide into civil war, drawing an analogy from the 1980s Iran-Iraq war to suggest the loss of life from such a conflict could be staggering...

09-17-2006, 04:58 AM
16 September Reuters - U.S. Denies Baghdad Trench Plans (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/16/AR2006091600156.html)

The U.S. military denied reports on Saturday that Iraq plans to dig a giant ring of trenches around the city of Baghdad.

Iraq's Interior Ministry announced earlier this week that it plans to set up 28 checkpoints that would allow controlled access to the city, while closing off other roads as part of a security crackdown.

The New York Times quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman on Saturday as saying the Iraqis would also dig a giant trench around the city of seven million people...

But Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson said the description sounded like an exaggeration of a plan that mostly would rely on existing terrain features to ensure that traffic moved through the 28 checkpoints...

09-17-2006, 08:17 AM
What happened to plans to dig trench around Mosul (kicked around in summer 05)? Were they shelved or what?

09-18-2006, 09:19 AM
18 September London Daily Telegraph - 'Ink Spot' Strategy Latest Attempt to Quell Baghdad (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/18/wiraq18.xml) by Oliver Poole.

... For the last three and a half years, Adhamiyah has been the centre of the Sunni insurgency in Baghdad. A rundown district, US troops called it "Little Fallujah" due to the near-daily roadside bombs and sniper attacks.

That was then. In an unlikely reversal, Adhamiyah is now one of Baghdad's safest areas, a place where Americans patrol on foot and where the number of bodies found dumped on the roadside in sectarian killings has halved.

For it is at the heart of the US military's new strategy for seizing back control of the capital. In August, 12,000 US and Iraqi troops launched the first co-ordinated counter insurgency operation — Operation Together Forward — to be conducted in the city. Their orders: to "retake Baghdad".

Unlike previous operations, which emphasised the need to "locate and kill" the enemy, it put into practice the "ink spot" theory, which aims to secure specific areas and provide security to win the confidence of the people. Once achieved, the secure zone could then spread as an ink spot spreads when dropped into a bucket of water.

Adhamiyah is the centre of the "ink spot" in east Baghdad. Last month a brigade of troops started methodically searching 11,000 buildings there. Around 30,000 cubic metres of the rubbish which had previously covered the streets was taken away. Areas were cleared for electrical substations and half a dozen clinics are planned.

All but seven roads leading into the area were closed off and those manned by fortified checkpoints. Iraqi troops now stand at almost street corner...

09-18-2006, 09:23 AM
18 September London Daily Telegraph - 'Ink Spot' Strategy Latest Attempt to Quell Baghdad (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/18/wiraq18.xml) by Oliver Poole.

...or oil spot, whatever it takes.

I think even Andy Krepenevich would tell you that this isn't going to work. By and large, oil spot theory won't work on a robust and dynamic center of gravity with linear infrastructure or the lines of communication that a contiguous city-base like Baghdad has. A rural Tal Afar or even a city like Ramadi that can be isolated from the rest of the country's population are good candidates. The Capital city is not.

09-18-2006, 11:43 AM
What happened to plans to dig trench around Mosul (kicked around in summer 05)? Were they shelved or what?

I don't remember a plan for Mosul (I was in Tal Afar last summer) but we did do it around Tal Afar in preparation for September's I'Ada Al Haq (Operation Restoring Rights).

This works in towns without linear infrastructure. It works when you can isolate the town, particularly the worst parts, from outside influences and support basins. I don't think it would work in Mosul without a division (+). I am skeptical of its success in Baghdad. It would work in a town like Fallujah if a good ISR plan was implaced to isolate the rat lines egressing the town. I think it would work in Ramadi with a good deal of military forces, since you could isolate the city from the surrounding areas with air and checkpoints along Routes 1 and 10. To the west is a big-ass desert. To the east is Habaniyah and Khalidiyah. A robust force with a good ISR plan an countermobility plan could do it.

The largest piece of these types of operations is Phase III, "Building." The Interior Ministry needs to get on board before the first trenchline is dug to allocate the resources necessary to rebuild the place after combat operations. Units need to wargame and template their forward fire bases of, for lack of a better term, occupation after the combat operation. Units need to realize that their placements in the towns need to be married to both police and Iraqi army units with a combined front during all phases of the operation.

There is debate and skepticism as to how detailed and dynamic the "clear and hold" portions of the operation are. Whatever the case may be, it needs to be formed as a zone reconnaissance with information based deliberate frontal attacks during phase I. Upon completion of "clearing" operations, that's when units need to be able to transition to a deliberate defense and the emplaced firebases within the town. Concurrently, Hold and Build can take place, but the amount of planning it takes to pull this off successfully is amazing.

I don't see it being able to be pulled off in Baghdad the way we sit right now.

09-18-2006, 09:47 PM
18 September Associated Press - Appeal of Militias Seen As Iraq Obstacle (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/18/AR2006091800533.html) by Antonio Castaneda.

U.S. soldiers trying to win back Baghdad's streets say they have been surprised by the power and popularity of Shiite militias, whose presence they view as a major obstacle to curbing violence in the city.

Some soldiers, interviewed during operations in recent days in eastern Baghdad, said they believe the militias outnumber and outgun Iraqi forces. That is troubling because Iraqi forces are supposed to maintain order once the Americans are gone.

Even more troubling, the soldiers suspect that militia leaders, most notably radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, enjoy greater support among the Shiite residents of the capital than do Iraqi security forces...

More than 3,000 of the best-equipped U.S. troops from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team were moved to Baghdad last month after Iraqi forces failed to stem Sunni-Shiite killings in the capital, renewing fears of civil war.

U.S. commanders hope that American troops will find and sweep away enough weapons and militiamen to allow Iraqi troops to regain control...

10-06-2006, 05:47 AM
6 October Washington Times - Military Veterans see Desperation in Baghdad Bombs (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20061005-114613-6599r.htm) by Rowan Scarborough.

The four-month-old offensive to retake Baghdad with more troops and neighborhood sweeps so far has failed to quell violence, but at the same time commanders hope that the spasm of bombings betray a belief by the insurgents that they are losing control of areas and are running out of time.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, a Vietnam combatant and former head of the U.S. Army War College, said that in some ways what is going on in Baghdad is classic insurgency warfare. The enemy, a mix of Sunni, Shi'ite and al Qaeda insurgents, believes it is losing control of regions or neighborhoods and tries to reverse the trend with a spike in violence.

The 1968 Tet Offensive is an example. The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army invaded major cities in South Vietnam, aiming to reverse U.S. gains in the countryside and turn U.S. public opinion against the war. It worked. President Lyndon Johnson announced that year he would not seek re-election as the war dragged on. Although Tet failed militarily, it had a major propaganda effect.

Gen. Scales said the typical thinking of insurgents is "no reason to rush. We can meter the campaign because we maintain the initiative."

But an offensive to assert control over Baghdad's neighborhoods has changed the battlefield...

10-19-2006, 07:20 PM
I've merged a few threads that all discuss or report on the fight to stabilize and secure Baghdad. This is a critically important strategic objective, and, hopefully, this expanded thread will facilitate discussion by allowing review of material that illustrates how we've progressed to the current situation.

Here's today's (19 Oct 06) news: Baghdad Strategy Failing, Officer Says (http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/19/africa/web.1019iraq.php)

...Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the senior spokesman for the American military in Iraq, said that the strategy of concentrating on a limited number of highly troubled neighborhoods had not slowed sectarian violence in the city as a whole. General Caldwell said that attacks in the Baghdad area went up 22 percent during the first three weeks of Ramadan in comparison with the three weeks before.

The crackdown, which began in August, "has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations in sustaining a reduction in the level of violence," General Caldwell said, adding that American commanders were consulting with the Iraqi government on a change in plans...

10-20-2006, 03:42 AM
20 October Washington Post - General Says Mission In Baghdad Falls Short (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/19/AR2006101900891.html) by John Ward Anderson.

A two-month U.S.-Iraqi military operation to stem sectarian bloodshed and insurgent attacks in Baghdad has failed to reduce the violence, which has surged 22 percent in the capital in the last three weeks, much of it in areas where the military has focused its efforts, a senior U.S. military spokesman said Thursday.

The assessment by Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV followed a 43 percent spike in attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces in the capital since midsummer that has pushed U.S. military fatalities to their highest rates in more than a year. The military reported that three soldiers were killed in Anbar province west of Baghdad on Wednesday, bringing the number of U.S troops killed so far this month to 74.

Caldwell's appraisal of the Baghdad campaign known as Operation Together Forward was in stark contrast to reviews during the opening weeks. At that time, U.S. military leaders said the deployment of 12,000 additional U.S. troops in Baghdad's most violent neighborhoods was significantly improving security for residents.

The operation "has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence," Caldwell said Thursday at a weekly news briefing. Violence has risen in the areas where the U.S.-Iraqi operation has focused, because of counterattacks, he said.

"We're finding insurgent elements, the extremists, are pushing back hard. They're trying to get back into those areas" where Iraqi and U.S. forces have targeted them, he said. "We're constantly going back in and doing clearing operations."

Under the program, joint U.S.-Iraqi teams of soldiers and police entered dangerous Baghdad neighborhoods and used aggressive tactics to try to secure them, engaging with fighters, searching door-to-door and patrolling the streets. Teams then moved on to the next sector, leaving behind a fixed force that attempted to ensure gunmen would not return. The goal of the program was also to restore basic services such as trash collection.

Now, Caldwell said, "we are working very closely with the government of Iraq to determine how best to refocus our efforts...

Tom Odom
10-20-2006, 12:49 PM
20 October Washington Post - General Says Mission In Baghdad Falls Short (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/19/AR2006101900891.html) by John Ward Anderson.....

"We're constantly going back in and doing clearing operations."

At the risk of over simplifiying (admiitedly this hypocritical of me to do this as I often point out simplistic analysis is a lodestone around our collective necks), this sentence to me goes back to the roots of our problems, troop numbers and the long term effects we have seen.


10-20-2006, 01:39 PM
At the risk of over simplifiying (admiitedly this hypocritical of me to do this as I often point out simplistic analysis is a lodestone around our collective necks), this sentence to me goes back to the roots of our problems, troop numbers and the long term effects we have seen.

It seems pretty clear that the troop numbers issue is not going to be fixed - we've just got to do better with what we have.

As regards Baghdad, I'd like to refer to the my previous post on displacement (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=4652&postcount=82). Virtually all of those elements are present in the reaction of the bad guys to our efforts in Baghdad. I may be beating a dead horse, but we need better intelligence and better integration of intelligence with operations. Of course, to be truly effective, all of that needs to be tied in tight with close cooperation with Iraqi security elements - which is tough, because many of them are tied in with (or are part and parcel of) the elements we're attempting to disrupt and destroy.

With intel in the context of "displacement", I'm talking about true predictive intelligence, based upon in-depth knowledge of the city, its population, and the multitude of factions and their shifting alliances along with deep analysis of historical operational trends projected in sync with current and planned ops. We need analysts with significant experience not just in Iraq, but working the Baghdad AO to be tied in with trusted counterparts from among the indig. As long as this ain't happening we're not succeeding.

Merv Benson
10-20-2006, 02:36 PM
Gen. Abizaid seems determined to keep troop numbers down in order to force the Iraqis to do more. This strategy had some positive results when we were primarily fighting al Qaeda as intelligence seem to improve dramatically.

As others have pointed out, the situation in Baghdad now has Iraqis of questionable allegiance dealing with militias that they may support. This is not a situation that is going to yeild much new intelligence on those operating the Shia half of the death squads. You also have the situation this week where one of the leaders of the militia is arrested and the Iraqi governemtn orders his release. That suggest that the governemtn is being influenced too heavily by these militias are that it is not serious in doing anything to stop their activities. If the government wants our continued assistance it is going to have to do better than this.

The General's resistance to fixing the force to space ratio issue also suggest that this situation is not going to be fixed soon.

10-20-2006, 02:49 PM
...As others have pointed out, the situation in Baghdad now has Iraqis of questionable allegiance dealing with militias that they may support. This is not a situation that is going to yeild much new intelligence on those operating the Shia half of the death squads. You also have the situation this week where one of the leaders of the militia is arrested and the Iraqi government orders his release...
The "situation this week" is only one of many similar incidents that have been occuring as we struggle with the militias. Most don't make it to the media.

The Economist, 5 Oct 06: Your Man or His? Keeping an Eye on the Security Forces (http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8001503)

...Iraq's political parties work on the theory that if you don't fill the post with your partisans, the enemy will fill it with theirs. As a result, say American officers, they can judge the importance of a captured Sunni insurgent or Shia militiaman by the number of high-ranking Iraqi commanders calling up to demand his release...

11-14-2006, 10:49 PM
14 November Voice of America (http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-11-14-voa9.cfm) and Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/14/AR2006111400137.html):


Gunmen in Iraq dressed as police commandos have kidnapped as many as 100 people during a lightning raid on a Baghdad research institute. Authorities say at least three people were later released. It is believed to be the largest mass abduction since the start of the conflict.

In a well-organized raid, police and witnesses say about 80 gunmen wearing the uniforms of Iraqi police commandos closed off the streets surrounding the Scientific Research Directorate of the Ministry of Education in the central Karradah district.

Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khallaf, told The Associated Press the police chief of the Karradah neighborhood where the kidnappings occurred has been placed under investigation along with some of his officers.

The head of the parliament's education committee told legislators that the kidnappers had a list of names of those to be taken away.

Education committee chairman Alaa Makki told legislators that the kidnappers claimed they were on a mission from the government's anti-corruption body.

In contrast to the usually sectarian nature of Iraqi violence, Makki said the kidnappers did not discriminate between Sunni or Shiite Muslims, taking every man including institute officials, employees, visitors and even the building's cleaning staff.

A police spokesman said the entire operation took only about 20 minutes.

One witness, a female professor who was visiting the ministry when the raid occurred, said the gunmen forced men and women into separate rooms, handcuffed the men, and then took them away in about six pickup trucks. She added that some of the gunmen wore face masks.

Iraq's Minister of Higher Education Abed Dhiab al-Ujaili immediately suspended classes at Baghdad universities until the government provides them with adequate security.

The minister told parliament that he had no other option until authorities find out what happened. He said he is not ready to lose any more professors.

At least 155 educators have been killed since the war began in 2003. Most recently, a university dean and a prominent Sunni Arab geology professor were murdered.

Washington Post:

Armed men in Iraqi police uniforms and driving police vehicles kidnapped as many as 150 people from a government agency on Tuesday, and several senior police commanders were arrested in connection with the abductions, Iraqi officials said today.

The abductions were a well-orchestrated reminder of how challenging basic security remains in Iraq at a time when U.S. officials are pressing the local government to assert more control.

News of the mass kidnapping was announced dramatically on the floor of the national Parliament, and within hours an Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman said on national television that several police officials in charge of the area where the kidnappings occurred had been arrested.

Precise figures on how many people were kidnapped and how many were later released were hard to come by. The prime minister's office said more than 50 people were kidnapped and 20 later released. The Interior Ministry said 30 people were kidnapped and the Ministry of Higher Education said it was as many as 150 employees and visitors who were abducted...

11-23-2006, 05:54 PM
Reuters, 23 Nov 06: Bombs kill 133 in Baghdad, curfew imposed (http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-11-23T170449Z_01_COL153081_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ.xml&src=112306_1232_TOPSTORY_iraq_bombs_kill_133)

...six car bombs killed 133 people in a Shi'ite stronghold in Baghdad on Thursday, one of the most devastating attacks since the U.S. invasion and likely to inflame sectarian passions in a nation sliding toward civil war. The authorities slapped an indefinite curfew on the city....

...A further 201 people were wounded in the bombings, police said. The Health Minister said the toll would rise. "Many of the dead have been reduced to scattered body parts and are not counted yet," Ali al-Shemari told Reuters. The blasts came at the same time as gunmen surrounded and fired on the Shi'ite-run Health Ministry in one of the boldest daylight assaults by militants in Baghdad. Mortars later crashed down on a nearby Sunni enclave in an apparent reprisal attack...
Other sources are reporting a greater number of dead; the situation is still developing...

12-14-2006, 10:00 AM
How Violence is Forging a Brutal Divide in Baghdad (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2502503,00.html) - London Times.

More and more, Baghdad is splintering into Shia and Sunni enclaves that are increasingly no-go areas for anyone from outside. The trend is fuelled by the ugliest sectarianism. It also reflects a crude power grab, with both sides egged on by political parties aiming to maximize their clout in the Iraqi Government by dominating as much of the capital as possible. The result is that since February, when Sunnis bombed the golden-domed mosque in Samarra, a Shia shrine, 146,322 individuals have been displaced in Baghdad, according to the International Organization for Migration. The pattern is so pronounced that the US military has drawn up a new map of Baghdad to reflect its ethno-sectarian fault lines...

U.S. Military's Classification of Baghdad's Ethno-sectarian Divide (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/TGD/picture/0,,374645,00.jpg) - London Times graphic. U.S. Military map of Baghdad reflecting ethno-sectarian fault lines.

01-05-2007, 05:26 PM
The Economist, 5 January 2007: Shuffling and Surging (http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8485775&top_story=1)

...Mr Bush is reported to be mulling a plan (http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.25396/pub_detail.asp) by Jack Keane, a former general, and Frederick Kagan, a military analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank. The two men propose a temporary and concentrated surge focused on Baghdad. They would send around 30,000 extra combat troops to Iraq, most for the capital but a few also for Anbar, the most violent Sunni-majority province....
CSIS, 4 January 2007: Looking Beyond a Surge: The Tests a New US Strategy in Iraq Must Meet (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/070104_iraq_surge.pdf)

The current debate over surging US military manpower has steadily lost focus on the real issue: Providing more US troops can only serve a purpose if it is tied to a new and comprehensive approach to providing stability and security in Iraq.

The problem is not total US force levels or the security of Baghdad. It is the ability to reverse the current drift toward a major civil war and separation of the country by finding a new approach to US intervention in Iraq...

...One key problem the US must face is that it is now fighting a new kind of war. The “threat” from the insurgency and militias is only part of the problem. Iraq’s central government is weak and divided and the nation is steadily dividing into sectarian and ethnically controlled areas...

...This division affects its cities, as well as areas in its provinces, and most of the major ministries in its government. It often is reshaping neighborhoods, village, and towns, or rural and tribal areas in ways that are so complex that they are difficult or impossible to map. It is creating growing problems in many Iraqi military units, regardless of their warfighting capability. It is a major problem in the Iraqi national and regular police, the facilities protection services, and virtually every element of civil government and the courts...

...No one has as yet provided an official US definition of “surge.” It seems almost certain, however, that the Congress will insist that any surge be limited in scope and time, and quite possibly in ways that will make it difficult to achieve success even in a limited mission like securing Baghdad...
(complete 44 page document at the link)

01-17-2007, 09:19 PM
The Economist, 13 Jan 07: The President's Last Throw (http://www.economist.com/world/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8522461)

...The critical terrain is Baghdad: Iraq's most populous city, with 6m inhabitants of all sects (see map). It is both a main target for insurgents attacking coalition forces, and the centre of the sectarian war that has broken out since Sunni extremists blew up the Golden Mosque in Samarra, a Shia holy place, in February 2006....

02-01-2007, 08:25 AM
1 February Washington Post - Lie Low, Fighters Are Told (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/31/AR2007013102201.html) by by Josh Partlow.

The instructions delivered by emissaries of anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr at a recent meeting in Baghdad were clear to militiaman Massan Abdul Hussein.

"They informed us to hide the weapons," Abdul Hussein recalled of the Jan. 21 meeting in the Shula neighborhood. "They said: 'We will not allow anyone to carry any arms, even if it's a pistol under their shirt. This is not acceptable.' "

Abdul Hussein, 30, considers himself a minor figure in the Mahdi Army, the powerful yet amorphous band of thousands of Sadr followers that the Pentagon said in November had "the greatest negative effect on the security situation in Iraq." But Abdul Hussein said the militia's foot soldiers had received a clear message from Sadr's headquarters in southern Iraq as Iraqi and U.S. troops prepared an intensified security crackdown in the capital...

In recent weeks, Mahdi Army leaders have left Baghdad to avoid being targeted, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office has received reports that some Mahdi Army leaders are moving to Iran and Syria, according to an aide to Maliki who spoke on condition of anonymity...

02-01-2007, 08:33 AM
1 February Washington Post - General: Shiite Militia Leaders Leaving Baghdad Strongholds (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/31/AR2007013102132.html) by Tom Ricks.

Shiite militia leaders already appear to be leaving their strongholds in Baghdad in anticipation of the U.S. and Iraqi plan to increase the troop presence in the Iraqi capital, according to the top U.S. commander in the country.

"We have seen numerous indications Shia militia leaders will leave, or already have left, Sadr City to avoid capture by Iraqi and coalition security forces," Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said in a written statement submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee as part of his confirmation hearing today to be Army chief of staff...

If Sadr's militia does indeed attempt to wait out the security crackdown, Casey said, that "would clearly present a challenge" to the Iraqi government, which he said underscores the need to have Iraqi forces capable of bringing security to the country. Developing effective Iraqi forces has been a U.S. goal for more than three years. Casey noted earlier in his 46-page statement, which was filed yesterday with the committee, that one of the most significant mistakes that U.S. officials made in Iraq was overestimating the speed with which Iraqi forces could be developed...

02-01-2007, 01:24 PM
I don't really expect any answers to this now, but I really have to wonder if this "flight" was viewed as an opportunity by the CF. I would hope that these fleeing "leaders" would have a) been predicted and b) watched so that c) they could be grabbed.

On a related note, this type of flight actually fits in with Shiite mythography. I fully expect that there will be little feeling of "being abandoned" amongst the lower level members of the Mahdi army - they will probably view themselves as being a "glorious rear guard" allowing the leaders to escape, regroup and come back for final victory.

I really hope that no one is planing an IO campaign using a "rats leaving the sinking ship" metaphor, because it won't work. In fact, it will backfire badly and just reinforce the determination of the current members and expand their recruiting base. What might work, although it's a lowish probability, would be trying to make a symbolic tie in between the Mahdi army leaders and the Mongol governors from the 12th century or, possibly, a tie into the Ottoman period (maybe something tying into Murad the Mad's period - ca. 1630).


Merv Benson
02-01-2007, 04:15 PM
It should be viewed as an opportunity to be seized. The same can be said for the retreat ordered by al Qaeda.With their departure, the government should have the opportunity to establish order and build on it so that it will be more difficult for them to return. That they can do it without bloodshed is a mixed blessing at this point, but destruction of the infrastructure of terrorism is still the goal. If the COIN objective of protecting the people is still the goal, then there departure should make that easier at lest in the near term.

02-01-2007, 04:25 PM
I really hope that no one is planing an IO campaign using a "rats leaving the sinking ship" metaphor, because it won't work. In fact, it will backfire badly and just reinforce the determination of the current members and expand their recruiting base. What might work, although it's a lowish probability, would be trying to make a symbolic tie in between the Mahdi army leaders and the Mongol governors from the 12th century or, possibly, a tie into the Ottoman period (maybe something tying into Murad the Mad's period - ca. 1630).

An excellent point I had not thought about, and a concrete example of the sort of inputs that would make a CST http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2063 valuable

02-01-2007, 04:32 PM
An excellent point I had not thought about, and a concrete example of the sort of inputs that would make a CST http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2063 valuable

I think some of Rob's ideas on CSTs have been formed by the discussions here :). In many ways, the SWC is acting as a combined Red Team / CST at a general level (amongst other things :D).


02-05-2007, 09:40 PM
Executive Summary (http://www.imcworldwide.org/loc_iraq_study_summary.shtml)

Iraqis on the move: Sectarian Displacement in Baghdad (http://www.imcworldwide.org/loc_iraq_study_jan2007.shtml)

...This report focuses on the alarming nature and pace of displacement trends over the last three months, sparked by the events around the Al-Sadr City car bombing in November 2006. In this short period alone, the number of displaced has increased by over 43 percent and only a few districts in the capital, such as Karrada and parts of Al-Mansoor, can be described as still mixed along sectarian lines....
Selected Findings and Conclusions (http://www.imcworldwide.org/loc_iraq_study_findings.shtml)

04-23-2007, 04:39 PM
A few articles focusing on the walling off of primarily Sunni communities in Baghdad as part of the new security plan:

Iraq Getting "Gated Communities" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/22/AR2007042201419.html?hpid=topnews)

The U.S. military is walling off at least 10 of Baghdad's most violent neighborhoods and using biometric technology to track some of their residents, creating what officers call "gated communities" in an attempt to carve out oases of safety in this war-ravaged city.

The plan drew widespread condemnation in Iraq this past week. On Sunday night, Prime Minister Nouri-al Maliki told news services that he would work to halt construction of a wall around the Sunni district of Adhamiyah, which residents said would aggravate sectarian tensions by segregating them from Shiite neighbors. The U.S. military says the walls are meant to protect people, not further divide them in a city that is increasingly a patchwork of sectarian enclaves.

U.S. Walls Off Baghdad Neighborhoods (http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington//17110258.htm)

The United States military has begun sealing off Baghdad neighborhoods with concrete walls in a controversial new strategy intended to calm Baghdad's sectarian flashpoints, but residents fear the barriers could deepen divisions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Seven so-called "gated communities" have been or are being built, according to military officials, and more may be coming under the wide-ranging Baghdad security crackdown launched nine weeks ago.

Officials said the walls would help create islands of security by controlling the flow of people and vehicles in some of the city's most violent neighborhoods, and by keeping armed groups from using the areas as launching pads or targets for attacks.

But residents say the barriers actually increase their feelings of isolation and make them feel like targets.

"Don't they realize that when the Baghdad neighborhoods become either Sunni or Shiite, they will become even more vulnerable?" said Yassir Ismail, a 34-year-old Sunni resident of Adhamiyah, one of the areas where the U.S. is putting up barriers. "Extremists from both sides - or mercenaries - will have no more qualms. . . . They will bomb each other to kingdom come."

U.S. officials acknowledged that the gated communities would wall sects off from one another, but they said they were a temporary measure. They're being built in consultation with Iraqi security forces and community leaders, officials said.

04-24-2007, 02:19 AM
CSIS, 20 Apr 07: Securing Baghdad with Gated Communities (http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/070420_burkecommentary.pdf)

...Baghdad is a vast, sprawling city. Various sources estimate it at 5 to 7.5 million people, with much depending on whether the estimate covers the city limits or greater Baghdad area. It is divided by a relatively few main roads relative to current traffic demands, has significant river barriers and divisions, and further security barriers like the Green Zone.

Securing the entire city is virtually impossible. Baghdad is too important to the Iraqi economy to search every vehicle or control every access point, and the same applies to internal traffic. The city can only function with relatively constant flows of traffic between Sunni, Shi'ite, and mixed areas.

Gated communities may, therefore, be the only way to ensure relative physical security to given parts of the city without paralyzing it, or creating security systems that cannot function. They also allow some economy of force. Focusing on security in the most troubled areas still may involve more manpower than the US and ISF can deploy, but is far more practical than trying to both secure the entire perimeter and then secure the entire inner structure of the city....

04-25-2007, 08:52 AM
In defense of Baghdad's 'walls' (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-odierno25apr25,0,2283739,print.story?coll=la-opinion-center)- by LTGEN Ray Odierno.

MountainRunner's negative reaction (http://mountainrunner.us/2007/04/another_brick_in_the_wall.html)to the wall policy.

04-25-2007, 03:45 PM
Anthony Cordesman (http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_progj/task,view/id,941/)on the wall policy.

04-17-2008, 09:05 PM
JSOU, Nov 07: Block by Block: Civic Action in the Battle of Baghdad January-November 2006 (https://jsoupublic.socom.mil/publications/jsou/JSOU07-8bogartBlockByBlock_final.pdf)

This monograph describes one facet of the Battle for Baghdad during the period January through November 2006. The story is based on the recollections, notes, and reports of the author, who served with the Multi-National Division, Baghdad (MND‑B) as the G9—the principal staff officer responsible for civic action, Special Operations Forces integration, and counterinsurgency training. In this timeframe MND-B treated civic action as a maneuver function inherent to its operations, and it employed task-organized combat forces to conduct Phase IV (Stability Operations) and Phase V (Enable the Civil Authority) in order to achieve U.S. and Iraqi military objectives.

The sources for this report have since been declassified by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division. This division assumed command of the MND-B from the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division on 7 January 2006. The 3rd Infantry Division had just completed a historic year in Baghdad ushering in the elections for the national government to establish democracy in Iraq.

For the MND-B, the mission at hand was to secure Baghdad and provide the opportunity for the newly elected government to establish self-rule over the sovereign state of Iraq. To do so, the MND-B counterinsurgency operation assumed two components, security operations and civic action. The civic-action program was centrally planned with decentralized execution to accommodate the variances in the operational environment throughout the MND-B area of responsibility. This report gives a sense of the extensive efforts made by the MND-B troops to assist the local population in Baghdad while supporting command objectives. The kinds of accomplishments and the methods employed provide valuable insight for others who must conduct operations in similar circumstances.

On 15 November, the 4th Infantry Division transitioned command and control of MND-B to the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division. Joint Special Operations University is pleased to provide LTC Adrian T. Bogart’s experiences in the Battle for Baghdad.
Complete 118 page paper at the link.