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Thread: How the West was Won (well, at least Ramadi)

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default A very short and simplified version of what happened in Ramadi:

    Ok, I was taking a day off from SWJ but RTK made me come and defend my unit's honor .....

    As said I was there. That also means I was very close to it personally, and it colors my views. That said, I'll try and give as objective as a summary as possible. Forgive the dick and jane writing style, I have to type quickly because I promised to play cars with my 3 year old.....

    This version is entirely my own personal view and from memory without my notes, so forgive me if any inaccuracies in dates or units are involved. My position gave me a first hand view of the complete fight at Brigade level from August 2006-February 2007.

    Setting, June 2006. 1/1 AD takes Ramadi over from 2/28 ID. Ramadi is largely under insurgent control, and a Marine BN is hunkered in the government center and a few other sites in central Ramadi. Insurgents have complete freedom of movement in the city, and AQIZ controls most of the town. Daily battles rage between the marines and the fighters around the Gov Center. 2/28 pursues a containment strategy to isolate Ramadi. Residents begin to flee the city in anticipation of a US Fallujah style takedown due to AQIZ (Al Qaeda Iraq) presence. SIGACTs average around 40-60 a day. Attacks against CF are 20+ per day, and tend to be complex. There are less than 300 IP's on the books, and less than 100 report to duty daily in a few decrepit stations on the periphery of the city, and undertake no missions or security duties. The major bases east and west of town are mortared/rocketed multiple times per day from both rural and open areas. COL Devlin, I MEF G2, declares Anbar irretrievably lost. 1/1 AD was charged basically with keeping a lid on things, and preventing an AQIZ sanctuary. COL MacFarland, the commander, was given essentially a free hand to do what he wanted, because things couldn't get much worse.

    1/1 AD brings a slightly different experience base to Ramadi. First, they are an in theater transfer from Tal Afar, and followed 3ACR's success. There 1/1 AD learned a lot about local governance development, combat outposts, and tribal cooperation. COL MacFarland determined not to mount a citywide assault and instead begin establishing company bases in key places, starting on the outskirts of the city and moving inward. The bases are designed to reclaim Ramadi one neighborhood at a time.

    The campaign begins, and the first few company bases go in. The bases endure daily attacks for several weeks, including ambushes, VBIEDs, mortars, and complex attacks with 40-50 fighters. Over subsequent weeks, the amount, complexity, and frequency of attacks drop. We expand patrols around the base, and leverage CA teams to provide assistance to the population in the neighborhoods surrounding the bases. Although wary, the locals offer some measure of cooperation in many areas. As one area is controlled, another COP is built further in the city, and the process starts over. Two maneuver battalions participate in the initial COP expansion, TF 1-37 AR and TF 1-506 IN.

    During this period, we begin to see indications of "Green(Civilian) on Red (AIF)" violence north of Ramadi. Technical intelligence indicates that AQIZ murdered a major tribal sheik in a power dispute, and desecrated his body. His tribe and several nearby tribes begin to fight AQIZ. At this point, our engagement officers, with the support of COL MacFarland, and led by CPT Travis Patriquin, begin engaging the sheiks of the area. It is determined that the sheiks are fed up with AQIZ, but lack the strength, both physical, political, and moral, to take on AQIZ, which is threatening their traditional power in Ramadi. Over time, a deal is struck with a few tribes to the NW of Ramadi, led by Sheik Sittar. We provide training and weapons to members of their tribes, and they join the IP's and cease supporting those attacking us. We cooperatively will work to rid Ramadi of AQIZ. The announcement of the Anbar Salvation Council is made, and greeted with skepticism by outside sources.

    We begin police recruitment large scale in August/September. As outlined in CPT Patriquin's "How to win in Al Anbar" PowerPoint, groups of tribal militia are sent to Baghdad and Jordan for police training, while the other half protect the tribe. When one group comes back, another departs. By December over 1000 IP's have been trained and are active in the force. The IP's are deployed into stations protecting tribal areas. AQIZ flees these areas and the surrounding tribes take notice. One by one, the tribes approach the SAA council and us and ask to join. We wholeheartedly accept, and when a tribe joins an IP base is created in their area, supported by CF. The US units in the area provide backup and support to the tribal fighters when attacked by AQIZ. By November, most of the area north and west of Ramadi has been secured by tribal forces backed by US and IA heavy units. The main bases to the west of Ramadi received virtually no indirect fire attacks from October forward. Attacks on CF in these areas drop to Zero, and many caches are revealed. As each tribe comes on line, it adds to the IP recruits, and civil affairs projects are targeted to those areas.

    East of Ramadi remained a problem. In late November AQIZ attacked a tribe in an area immediately east of Ramadi that was about to "flip". AQIZ murdered about 20 members and began burning houses. Locals fled across the river in boats and approached an Iraqi Army Outpost north of the river, and described the situation. CPT Patriquin called the local sheiks for a better description. We made contact with the tribal sheik who begged for help. We immediately shifted air and ground resources to the area, and AQIZ began to withdraw. We clearly caught a body being dragged behind a car on UAV as AQIZ withdrew west. TF 1-9 IN emplaced blocks and in cooperation with USMC airpower we targeted and destroyed three AQIZ vehicles fleeing the scene.

    The that evening we sent companies of 1-9 IN into the area, who established presence to support the attacked tribe. Other tribes, seeing the forces, requested help. Over the next weeks an area that was previously considered "no go" terrain became supportive as every tribe in the area "flipped". Almost all the major outer Ramadi tribal areas were now friendly to CF. TF 2-37 Armor (TF 1-6 IN began it in that sector until Oct) and TF 1-9 IN developed and maintained the tribal relationships, and ensured AQIZ could not retaliate against the friendly tribes.

    While the outer area fight was occurring, the bases in the city were expanding under TF 1-37 AR, TF 1-77 AR, and 1/6 Marines (1-35 AR and 1-506 PIR began the processes but rotated in Oct/Nov 2006). The Marines under 1/6 were able to leave their embattled outposts and established new bases in northern Ramadi where AQIZ had fled as the base footprint expanded. The fighting was heavy but brief, and AQIZ was largely driven from the western and Southern Ramadi Areas. We moved to establish a joint command center for IP/IA/US forces, and the SAA appointed a mayor for Ramadi to establish local governance. In January things had progressed that th IP and IA waged a major fight that expelled AQIZ from west Ramadi during a fight at the "White Apartments". This action, while backed by US, was conducted entirely by IP and IA working together.

    At this time (February) 1/1 AD changed out with 1/3 ID, who enthusiastically adopted our concept of operation and continued with it.

    By April, 1/3 ID reported that every tribe in Ramadi was cooperating with SAA, and attacks had dropped to less than 1/day. The campaign rippled outward to the rest of Anbar. 1 MEF and 2 MEF were more than happy to assist.
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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default Split post, over 10000 characters!

    continued from above .....

    So why did it happen? Here are my personal views, and I think it was a combination of these factors, at different strengths among each sheik.

    1) The "Taliban" effect. The tribes flipped because it was in their interest to. They saw what life would be like under AQIZ and didn't want any of it.

    2) Power. AQIZ became more powerful than the tribes. The tribes decided that this wasn't good, and maybe the Americans aren't so bad.

    3) Fatigue. The locals were tired of their families being killed, justified and unjustified. Most just wanted some law and order and a job.

    4) Recognition that the US would eventually leave. They watch the news too, and realized that sooner or later the US would be leaving. Extrapolating from that, the real question is what would happen once the US left. They fear the central government and Shia militias. Losing their best fighters to US firepower only weakened their long term position if it comes to a civil war.

    5) US Forces learned. US Forces employing COIN doctrine that respected local power structures. We weren't trying to create their society new, we sought to work with rather than against traditional tribal structures. 1 MEF (MajGen Zilmer) and 2 MEF (MajGen Gaskin) were 110% supportive of our efforts and gave us all we needed, especially in non-kinetic resources.

    6) The wind was blowing our way. Tribes and Iraqis have a long history of siding with whoever it seems will be the winner, and changing that in an instant. Securing the population from company outposts and ridding the criminal element bought a lot of goodwill, and convinced many that the US would win the tactical battle in the short term.

    The risks:

    1) Tribes flip back. This would mainly happen if we failed to back them against AQIZ or the central government. Hence Bush's visit to Anbar last week, demonstrating political support.

    2) Arming the Sunnis for an upcoming sectarian war.

    3) The Sunnis still do not trust the central government in the least.

    4) Having empowered the tribes, they act more as mafia type organizations than semi-legitimate governments for the local populace, creating a corrupt and unpopular local government that will channel the population to support AQIZ against the sheiks.

    Hon. Schumer has some points. The tribes flipped for their own reasons. But the awakening could not have happened without our support. As Ken stated earlier in the thread, this was attempted but not exploited in 2004, and elsewhere. Bottom line a strategic window opened, and 1/1 AD was smart enough to exploit the window of opportunity. The results are where they are today. We didn't kill those mortar teams hammering our FOB's, they flipped. In essence, that is the goal of both Sun Tzu and COIN theory, defeating your enemy without having to combat him. By co-opting him my FOB is just as safe, except if the guy flipps back. But isn’t that how you win most COIN actions, by convincing the other guy not to fight?

    But some pundits are right. While a great tactical and operational success, it only has meaning if the Root Cause of the insurgency is addressed, which requires political reconciliation. All that work is for nothing if the country isn't able to come back together. But that's beyond a BCT's scope.

    As a final note, 1/1 AD endured 89 KIA in Ramadi (IIRC +/- a few), and over 500 wounded acheiving the above. It was not easy, and very kinetic at times. A high US price was paid for the Anbar awakening.

    Now I have to go and “play cars”
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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default Oh and about the surge.....

    As to whether the Awakening would have been possible without the surge ....

    As the timeline indicates, all the major muscle movements took place in August-November 2006. Well before the surge. We were augmented by a few companies from a MEU on an Anbar surge from November-January, which enabled us to expand further in 1-9 IN's AO.

    In fact, we were extended from 12 to 14 months in theater in Oct 2006 because our replacement BDE was shifted to support the Baghdad surge. This past spring it became policy for all units to have 15 month tours.

    1/1 AD remains the only BDE extended during both of its OIF tours - 15 months in OIF 1 to combat the Sadr Rebellion in 2004 and then again this past tour in Ramadi.
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    Cavguy - Awesome, very informative post. Guys like you who write stuff like this is why SWJ exists.

    A few questions:

    1) How well understood are tensions and shifts of power within or between tribes? For instance, Sheikh Sittar has often been described as a relatively minor entity at the beginning of the ASC. How have more established leadership figures within the Dulaimi confederation taken the sudden rise of American-backed sheikhs?

    2) Are most of AQIZ's Iraqi fighters locally based, i.e. from the tribes themselves, or do they represent a sort of detribalized urban agglomeration, i.e. like many unemployed young men who join the Mahdi Army on the Shia side?

    3) To address the main concern of those for whom the tribal strategy represents a short-term solution that works against the long-term strategy --- doesn't empowering the tribes, or at least certain tribal figures, work against the establishment of a legitimate central government, given the transient, violent, and often corrupt nature of tribal power structures?

    4) Also, do you know if this was useful at all during 1/1 AD's Ramadi operations?

    5) Added late: To what degree has U.S. support come through financing or directly arming the Anbar Salvation Council, as opposed to armed support/combined operations i.e. the tank parked near Sheikh Sittar's home?
    Last edited by tequila; 09-10-2007 at 04:37 PM.

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    Default Quick Note

    May we correspond offline (briefly) about this post? I have a few questions I would like to ask. Thank you.

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    May we correspond offline (briefly) about this post? I have a few questions I would like to ask. Thank you.

    Sure, Send me a PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Cavguy - Awesome, very informative post. Guys like you who write stuff like this is why SWJ exists.

    A few questions:

    1) How well understood are tensions and shifts of power within or between tribes? For instance, Sheikh Sittar has often been described as a relatively minor entity at the beginning of the ASC. How have more established leadership figures within the Dulaimi confederation taken the sudden rise of American-backed sheikhs?
    Quick answer is that the bigger sheiks came along quickly once they felt their position was declining vis a vis Sittar and his confederation. However, we didn't "sell out" Sittar to the Johnny come latelies. However, tribe positions have changed regularly throughout the ages in Anbar, and they work and adjust to whoever is in favor at the moment.

    2) Are most of AQIZ's Iraqi fighters locally based, i.e. from the tribes themselves, or do they represent a sort of detribalized urban agglomeration, i.e. like many unemployed young men who join the Mahdi Army on the Shia side?
    I would say it's 99/1 local/foreign. The Iraqis will claim it's all foreign fighters, but I think we actually captured one real foreign fighter in our time there.

    I would say the comparison to the Mehidi army is close - AQIZ fighters come from the Pepsi Generation, so to speak.
    3) To address the main concern of those for whom the tribal strategy represents a short-term solution that works against the long-term strategy --- doesn't empowering the tribes, or at least certain tribal figures, work against the establishment of a legitimate central government, given the transient, violent, and often corrupt nature of tribal power structures?
    Yes and No. Yes, empowering the tribes makes establishing a central government harder. But that assumes you have a functioning government in the first place, which Anbar had none. The tribes would control who gets elected anyway. I think no central/democratic government is possible as long as you don't have security, which wasn't possible without empowering the tribes or flooding Anbar with tens of thousands of additional US troops.
    4) Also, do you know if this was useful at all during 1/1 AD's Ramadi operations?
    First I've seen it, but that doesn't mean someone in my BDE didn't read it.

    5) Added late: To what degree has U.S. support come through financing or directly arming the Anbar Salvation Council, as opposed to armed support/combined operations i.e. the tank parked near Sheikh Sittar's home?
    Both. Money=Power in Iraq. Also, guns=power. Money+Guns+Influence with US = You da man.

    I think most of it is the result of AQIZ overstepping the "line" combined with the tribal power base being threatened by AQIZ. Arabs shift alliances fast, and suddenly the US wasn't so bad - I think Sittar was brilliant to seize the opportunity and make him and his tribe more powerful than ever before .....
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    Default Big Thank you.

    Thank you very much for that CavGuy. Sounds like one of those rivers of dominos must have been fantastic to be a part of after so much banging your head on the wall.

    P.S. Who won at the cards?
    Last edited by JJackson; 09-11-2007 at 12:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJackson View Post
    Thank you very much for that CavGuy. Sounds like one of those rivers of dominos must have been fantastic to be a part of after so much banging your head on the wall.

    P.S. Who won at the cards?
    CARS ... not cards.

    Did give me a humorous mental image of my son smoking a cigar with sunglasses on playing poker ........

    I was lucky both my tours in Iraq to serve with exceptional units in exceptional places - Baghdad/Najaf in 2003-2004, and Tal Afar/Ramadi in 2006-2007.
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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Sheikh Abdul Sittar al-Rishawi killed in car bomb.

    The most prominent figure in a revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida in Iraq was killed Thursday in an explosion near his home in Anbar province, police said.

    Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha was leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, also known as the Anbar Awakening — an alliance of clans backing the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.

    He was among a group of tribal leaders who met President Bush earlier this month at al-Asad Air Base in Anbar province.

    Abu Risha and two of his bodyguards were killed by a roadside bomb, said Col. Tareq Youssef, supervisor of Anbar police.

    No group claimed responsibility for the assassination but suspicion fell on al-Qaida in Iraq, which U.S. officials say has suffered devastating setbacks in Anbar thanks to Abu Risha and his fellow sheiks. It's unclear how his death would affect U.S. efforts to organize Sunnis against the terrorist network.

    A senior member of Abu Risha's group, Sheik Jubeir Rashid, said the explosion took place at 3:30 p.m. as Abu Risha was returning to his home in Ramadi, Anbar's provincial capital.

    "It is a major blow to the council, but we are determined to strike back and continue our work," Rashid said. "Such an attack was expected, but it will not deter us ..."

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    And from the BBC:


    Iraqi insurgents kill key US ally

    A key Sunni ally of the US and Iraqi governments has been killed in a bomb attack in the city of Ramadi, Iraqi police and media say.

    Abdul Sattar Abu Risha led what was known as the "Anbar Awakening", an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that rose up against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    The movement helped reduce violence dramatically and was hailed by the US as an example for the rest of Iraq.

    President George Bush met and endorsed him during a visit to Iraq last week.

    Abu Risha's assassination will be a severe blow to the "Awakening" in Anbar province, says the BBC's Hugh Sykes in Baghdad.
    ...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6993211.stm
    BTW, killing the prominent (Sunni) U.S. ally ("poster child" of Iraq volunteer police, force where three-quarters of the volunteer forces were Sunni Muslims) can benefit some other (opposite) players (ea those that do not wish creation of strong Sunni militias).

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    Default How to interpet this???

    The WP ran an article about an emgagement outside Ramadi back in mid-August in which US forces discovered and beat back an estimated 70 AQI folks (with maybe 50% casualties to the AQI force) whose ostensible target was this sheik. I think it was called the Battle of Turtle Island but my memory may well be defective as to the island's name. The subsequent death of the sheik may make a point about the tenacity and dedication of the opposition, especially because Abdul Sattar assuredly had pretty significant protection in place. Alternatively, one might instead choose to accept that it was an inside job committed by one of his supposed allies--shades of Mario Puzo's Godfather.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I think it's pretty safe to say that al-Rishawi had many, many enemies, only one of whom was AQI.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm
    The WP ran an article about an engagement outside Ramadi back in mid-August in which US forces discovered and beat back an estimated 70 AQI folks (with maybe 50% casualties to the AQI force) whose ostensible target was this sheik. I think it was called the Battle of Turtle Island but my memory may well be defective as to the island's name....
    The article is linked in this earlier discussion thread: Fight on Donkey Island

    It isn't known if the sheikh was the specific target of the bad guys rolled back in that engagement, but your memory of the article isn't too bad - his name was mentioned in it more generally as a target:
    ....The fighters targeted tribal leaders and police in Ramadi, according to U.S. military intelligence and video footage shot by the insurgents before the planned attack. In one video, an Islamic State of Iraq fighter dives into a lake, waves his fist and threatens Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, who founded the main pro-U.S. tribal alliance, known as the Anbar Awakening. Sattar is "a dog of Anbar," the fighter said.

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    Default The Great Awakening is spreading

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle2971288.ece

    The Americans had hit a goldmine in Mr al-Obeidi. With his intelligence skills and local gunmen, they suddenly found that they could identify an elusive enemy. The former insurgents knew exactly where to find the Islamists and their weapons. Within a month Mr al-Obeidi’s men had led the Americans on a series of raids that swept the Islamists from Amariyah.

    The recent turning of Sunni tribes and insurgents against al-Qaeda in western Iraq and Baghdad has become known as the Sunni Awakening. Here, however, it is more of a national awakening — Mr al-Obeidi’s 600- man force includes disillusioned Shia soldiers as well as Sunni former officers who had worked secretly for the US.

    Good news story, but some good news stories are left better untold. I wish Mr al-Obeidi success and safety.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    As to whether the Awakening would have been possible without the surge ....

    As the timeline indicates, all the major muscle movements took place in August-November 2006. Well before the surge.
    I appreciate you taking the time to write your experiences down. They are important and need to be heard, especially your sequencing of key events.

    A couple of questions for you: Was the establishment of Cops necessary? Or was the necessary condition for flipping of the tribes the decision on Colonel McFarland's part to ally with them and in essence stop targeting tribal sunni insurgents and a reciprocation on their part to stop attacking CF? Did any of the tribal sheiks ever tell you that the Cops were necessary?

    thanks

    gentile

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    I appreciate you taking the time to write your experiences down. They are important and need to be heard, especially your sequencing of key events.
    If I ever get my head out of my 4th point of contact, my Mil Review article will be finished on the subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    A couple of questions for you: Was the establishment of Cops necessary?
    In my mind, yes. I commanded my company from a COP in Tal Afar (until the b*stards promoted me and I had to leave), where we were before Ramadi. I am convinced that COP's are the way to go. You absolutely have to secure the populace 24/7 where they live. Maybe a COP isn't always the right answer, but you have to achieve that effect.

    When we inherited Ramadi, no one expected us to do anything but keep the lid on so to speak. It was COL MacFarland's decision to use the same tactics proved in Tal Afar in Ramadi - using clear, hold, build to take back ground, and use that leverage to bring in fence-sitters to our side. You have to understand, in June 2006 AIF OWNED nearly all of Ramadi. Full freedom of movement, multiple IED belts, etc. We went in south Ramadi first with COPs, and basically fought daily there from July-November. The AIF lost control there once the COPs went in. Same in Ta'meem (W Ramadi) and East Ramadi when COPs were established. They interdicted AIF freedom of movement in the vicinity of COPs, which provided the opening to engage with the sheiks. They also bought enormous credibility with the locals who were fence-sitting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Or was the necessary condition for flipping of the tribes the decision on Colonel McFarland's part to ally with them and in essence stop targeting tribal Sunni insurgents and a reciprocation on their part to stop attacking CF?
    I wasn't in the discussions, but I know we wouldn't have made such an explicit arrangement. We never stopped targeting any active insurgents. However, certain people associated with certain nationalist insurgents told us they wouldn't fight us anymore, and we accepted that. We didn't declare amnesty, but if reporting stopped on certain individuals who were involved in tribes we wanted to flip, we certainly didn't spoil the movement by arresting them for past sins unless it was someone too dirty to tolerate. You can't have it both ways. The beauty was that these former insurgents led us to huge caches and were ruthless on targeting the AQIZ fanatics once empowered.

    I think you get to the idea of it in your article about there bing a lethal/non-lethal balance. We were heavily invested in lethal operations (in Jul-Oct we had almost as many daily sigacts than ALL six BCT's in Baghdad). However, we were equally invested in non-lethal operations to persuade the tribes to take up arms against AQIZ.

    If you think about it, 1/1 AD certainly wasn't the first BCT to engage locals, build COPs, invest heavily in ISF, and develop governance. We certainly didn't have a monopoly on good leadership. What was different was our synchronization of the lethal/non-lethal. Also COL MacFarland levied the BN's for some former combat CO's and BN S3's to build his BCT staff in Ramadi - especially reinforcing the S3 shop and ISF cell as decisive multipliers. It makes a big difference having that kind of ground experience in your BCT TOC reacting versus the pre or post-CCC CPT's that are usually there.

    The best analogy I can make is to a major conventional battle. Ideally, you array your forces in a tactically sound manner to initiate the battle and develop contact. You develop a collection plan to assess the enemy's decisions and get inside his cycle. When the opportunity presents (i.e. a flank exposed, etc.) you ideally have the flexibility to exploit the opening while it exists with enough combat power to decimate the enemy's formation. That is what happened in Ramadi. We were arrayed correctly in tactics, units, personnel and mindset that when the opening came, we were able to recognize and exploit it to achieve decisive success. Such is the difference that has separated the great commanders from the mediocre throughout history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Did any of the tribal sheiks ever tell you that the Cops were necessary?
    In Tal Afar they certainly did. They wanted more COPs (really POPs) than I had platoons. (Grab the Jul-Aug ARMOR Mag and read my article on "Re-taking Sa'ad) We leveraged ISF into the role there. The COPs in Ramadi were for different reasons. We maintained approx 16 COPs manned by US/IA around Ramadi - some were to re-take ground and others to protect friendly tribes. We always sought to transition COPs to ISF as soon as they were capable to establish newer ones in more hostile areas.

    I also just finished reading The Tipping Point. Much of what also happened was about getting to the Mavens, Salesmen, and Connectors in the tribes.

    Hope this answers your inquiry - my challenge in writing an article has been that there is no single factor I can point to - it was multiple factors that cascaded into radical success - leadership, organization, COPs, plans, local engagement, tactics, tribes, ISF, and some just plain stupid moves by AQIZ all influenced the result. Explaining exactly why we succeeded where others failed is my great challenge - I can't even point to blind luck because it also worked in Tal Afar.

    One note is also pertinent - I discussed this at the COIN seminar today with an attendee - We "owned" a very large battlespace in both cases. Impact of our flank units was absolutely minimal. Therefore, we were able to synchronize effects in our AO much easier than a large city like Baghdad where multiple BCTs have to work in harmony. There was absolutely no functioning government in Ramadi, and the one in Tal Afar was completely under our influence. That may have been a significant factor as well.

    Also, check out this thread on SWJ, dealing with the amazing contributions of a talented young Captain in our BDE to winning the war. Sometimes, individual actions make a difference.
    Last edited by Cavguy; 12-03-2007 at 12:40 PM.
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    Default In a Force for Iraqi Calm, Seeds of Conflict

    In a Force for Iraqi Calm, Seeds of Conflict
    By ALISSA J. RUBIN and DAMIEN CAVE
    New York Times
    Published: December 23, 2007

    The Awakening movement, a predominantly Sunni Arab force recruited to fight Sunni Islamic extremists like Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, has become a great success story after its spread from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province to become an ad-hoc armed force of 65,000 to 80,000 across the country in less than a year. A linchpin of the American strategy to pacify Iraq, the movement has been widely credited with turning around the violence-scarred areas where the Sunni insurgency has been based.

    ...

    Despite the successes of the movement, including the members’ ability to provide valuable intelligence and give rebuilding efforts a new chance in war-shattered communities, the American military acknowledges that it is also a high-risk proposition. It is an experiment in counterinsurgency warfare that could contain the seeds of a civil war — in which, if the worst fears come true, the United States would have helped organize some of the Sunni forces arrayed against the central government on which so many American lives and dollars have been spent.

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    Default Is This the First Step to a potential Full-Fledged Civil War?

    Iraq Warning over Sunni Patrols
    BBC News International Version
    Published Saturday, 22 December, 2007

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7157581.stm

    Iraq warning over Sunni patrols

    Gen Jassim wants the patrols to be integrated into mainstream forces
    Iraq will not allow US-backed neighbourhood patrols to become a "third force" alongside police and the army, Iraq's defence minister has said.
    Gen Abdel Qader Jassim said the Sunni-dominated patrols should be integrated into the regular Iraqi security forces.

    The patrols have been credited with the recent drop in violence in Iraq.

    But Shia leaders fear the patrols will turn against them after US troops leave Iraq, correspondents say...

    "We categorically reject them [the neighbourhood patrols] turning into a third military organisation," said Mr Jassim, himself a Sunni Arab, at a joint press conference with the Iraqi Interior Minister, Jawad al-Bolani.

    The neighbourhood patrols consist of some 71,000 men, many of whom were formerly members of the insurgency, fighting against US troops and the Shia-led Iraqi government.

    Patrol members are paid about $10 (£5) a day by US authorities, but responsibility for paying them will pass to the Iraqi government next year.

    The patrols have been credited with helping to bring down violence

    In their press conference, the ministers made clear that payment would only be forthcoming if 20% of the patrols are integrated into the mainstream Iraqi security forces...

    Shia leaders fear that unless the patrols can be assimilated into the mainstream Iraqi security forces, the violence could increase once US troops have left Iraq.
    This is not going to go down well with Sunni Tribal and Clan leaders or their populations.

  20. #20
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Not unexpected. but possibly avoidable

    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    Iraq Warning over Sunni Patrols
    BBC News International Version
    Published Saturday, 22 December, 2007

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7157581.stm



    This is not going to go down well with Sunni Tribal and Clan leaders or their populations.
    Considering that much of the Sunni tribal concern can be found in their ability to have a part in their own governance this really might be a good time frame to look at more local and regional elections within the established framework of the constitution. This would be one step in bringing a sense of incorporation to the current governing environments. There would be alot of important factors to keep in mind and would require involvement of the national government, but it might just work if outside allies agrred to encourage it.

    This also might bring some changes which would affect other areas in ways some outside interests might not like so as usual baby steps is best.

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