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Iraq Trip Report: 2 – 29 April 2007 - by Bing West.

This SWJ update is an overview of my trip to Iraq, where I had last visited in February of 2007. The April visit - about my 13th time since 2003 - was my typical month-long trip, focused on the company-level. I accompanied twelve Iraqi and American units in Anbar (Habbineah, Haditha, Ramadi, Saqwaniyah, the Zidon, etc.) and Baghdad (Rusafa, Sadr City, Azamiyiah, Khalidiah, Gaziliah).

While I spoke with senior officers -- General Petraeus, LtGen Odierno and MajGen Gaskin run an open organization that goes out of its way to let a journalist accompany any unit -- they were happy to have me go out and take a look for myself. Appended is a list of those who so generously shared their views.

Below are some observations, with my conclusions under point #18. In a nutshell, for the US to achieve the goal of relative stability in Iraq, by the end of 2007 three battlefield conditions must be met. First, Iraq's predominantly Shiite army must demonstrate a strategy and a momentum against a resumption of Shiite ethnic cleansing in and around Baghdad. Second, in Anbar the Iraqi army and the predominantly Sunni police must sustain the momentum for eradicating al Qaeda in Iraq. Third, in the rest of the Sunni Triangle, the Iraqi Army must prevent al Qaeda from developing sanctuaries...
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