Thursday, May 26, 2005


We’ve heard some pretty bizarre things out of Iraq over the past couple of years but this one has to rank right up there:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq announced plans Thursday to deploy 40,000 police and soldiers in the capital and ring the city with hundreds of checkpoints "like a bracelet" in the largest show of Iraqi force since the fall of Saddam Hussein .

In a reminder of the difficulty Iraqi security forces face in stopping insurgent attacks, violence claimed at least 15 lives Thursday in Baghdad including a car bomb that exploded near a police patrol, killing five people and wounding 17.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told a small group of Western reporters that next week's planned crackdown, dubbed Operation Lightning, was designed "to restore the initiative to the government." Insurgents have killed more than 620 people since his government was announced on April 28.

"We will establish, with God's help, an impenetrable blockade surrounding Baghdad like a bracelet surrounds a wrist," Defense Minister Saadoun al-Duleimi said.

This is just so off the wall on so many levels. First, even if they did seal off Baghdad how exactly does that help them? There are just as many insurgents inside Baghdad as there are outside. So what is this going to accomplish – insurgent Ali in Baghdad won’t be able to visit his cousin, insurgent Omar, over in Ramadi?

Secondly, given that the U.S couldn’t even cordon off Fallujah properly and most of the insurgents there got out what makes anyone think that 40,000 Iraqi government troops can effectively cordon off Baghdad? Lets keep in mind out of any given 40,000 Iraqi troops probably at least 20,000 of them are working for the insurgents. Not to mention, if you have all these troops spread out to make a circle around Baghdad they will have to be in small isolated groups that will make easy pickings for the insurgents. Lets see how long the 40,000 saps who get assigned to this detail agree to put up with that.

Quite frankly, this shows that things in Iraq are in even worse shape than I had thought. Its been clear for some time that the U.S. military is clueless in how to deal with the insurgency. But there was always the hope for them that an indigenous Iraqi force would be more adept at dealing with it. Based on this, it appears not.


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