Skip to comments.Following a death trail to Sadr City (The violence in Baghdad leads back to one city)
Posted on 10/24/2006 12:25:06 AM PDT by jmc1969
Where are the killers coming from?
That was the question U.S. officers pondered at a cramped command post called Apache. They examined a map showing where scores of corpses had turned up in recent weeks.
"Sadr City," said Capt. Will Wade of the 1st Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment. "That's the nucleus."
Two years ago it was a battleground where fervent but outmatched militiamen led by Muqtada Sadr, the militantly anti-U.S. cleric, made suicidal stands against American tanks and helicopter gunships.
These days, many U.S. commanders view the neighborhood as something akin to Cambodia during the Vietnam War a sanctuary for the militia known as the Al Mahdi army, whose zealous volunteers are dispatched elsewhere in pogroms against their Sunni Arab countrymen.
"They're in the export business, so a lot of their force is outside Sadr City," said Maj. Charles St.Clair, who served as a military advisor in Sadr City with the 506th Regimental Combat Team. "The fact that the Corleones or the Gottis may live in my neighborhood doesn't mean they do all their business there."
U.S. and allied forces are worried that Sadr City is becoming an Iraqi version of the Hezbollah bastions of southern Beirut and the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon.
"If we are to avoid a descent into civil war and anarchy, then preventing the [Al Mahdi army] from developing into a state within a state, as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon, will be a priority," William Patey, Britain's former ambassador to Iraq, wrote recently in a confidential memo leaked to the media.
After U.S. forces raided Sadr City in August, the Shiite-dominated administration of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki made it clear the district was virtually untouchable.
"This won't happen again," he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
He should have been killed months ago.
this is the problem with arabs, you get these loose alliances all the time between faction a and faction b. the iraqi govt is hoping to play a game of we leave you alone, you leave us alone...the reality is that they should have let the 101st (as i recall) nail them 2 years ago when he was holed up in that mosque...
Hmmm. Brings to mind the Israeli actions of demolishing the homes of the families of the terrorists.
Can we simply "Doze" Sad'r City and remove the terrorist's home.
Al-Sadr and his army of retards should have been killed in March of 2003. Instead, we let this subhuman wart live. He started with about 600 buys. Now he has about 15,000.
This is the price we pay for PC warfare.
The US Administration INSISTS on keeping this bearded pile of sheep squat alive. He and his minions have OPENLY called for resistance to our forces. He is responsible for the deaths of HUNDREDS of our soldiers. We know where he is and what he is doing... AND WE DO NOTHING.
THE REASON AL-SADR IS A PROBLEM IS BECAUSE WE ALLOW HIM TO BE A PROBLEM... WE ***ALLOW** HIM TO KILL AMERICAN SOLDIERS.
Political Correctness is our State Religion.
I will take you up on that bet.
In Sadr City we have seen the creation of an Iranian/Hezbollah sanctuary. Fallujah was a Baathist/al-Qaeda sanctuary.
Over the past two years we have bashed down the Sunni terrorists deciently, but at the same time the US ignored the growing Shia terrorist threat until it blew up reciently.
At least a year ago.
Setup check points around the city and then declare that the people have 24 hours to pack up their things and move out. Then level the city.
Right on all counts.
Malaki and his gang need to get the word: If Saddam hangs and that rat-bas Sadr fries, we leave. Not a day sooner.
But we can't listen to you, because you don't have a degree from Harvard, and we don't pay you $300,000 a year. I mean common sense costs a lot of money. And besides, you need a manicure and a day in the hair salon for the photo op.
President Bush could fire 90% of his staff, log on to FR everyday for a couple of hours, and get 10 times better advice, and save the country tons of money.
without Saddam, Bagdad is just another bend in the river.
Sadr City should be depopulated.
encourage people to return to where they, sunni, Shia, etc,
are a majority.
So why don't we withdraw a majority of our forces and build a superbase in Kurdistan? We should just protect Green Zone but leave rest of Iraq alone.
After all violence is just how those Arabs do "politics".
Because, you are giving the Western Iraqi towns and cities to al-Qaeda and the oil fields of the south to Iran.
You are basically giving steroids to our two biggest enemies in the Middle East.
Let the Iraqi Army get their hands dirty and eliminate Al-Qaeda in western Iraq. It'll take time but they are ruthless enough to get the job done. Especially if we get out of the way.
It takes an Arab approach to solve the problems in Iraq right now.
We need a government in Baghdad to keep and pay the Iraqi Army otherwise it will break up and the country will decend into chaos and bloodletting the type that hasn't been seen in the Middle East in decades.
If nothing changes in Iraq a few months from now a strongman like Allawi might be a very good choice to make.
Let him rule the country for 10 years so things could stablize enough to ensure peaceful democratic transition in the future.
Allawi should be in sole command of the Iraqi Army. He is secular and is a friend of the Americans.
That's good enough at this point.
That may happen, I hope Maliki manages to show even a tiny bit of gumption in the next four months in which case it wouldn't have to happen, but if Maliki doesn't do anything like he is doing now the choice will be a strongman for Iraq for a while or chaos.
At this point, Iraq is neither. But how do we put a strong man in his place to lead the Iraqi? We shouldn't be interfering in their affairs by removing their ineffective Prime Minister from power.
Uh-huh. Then you go clear it. Let me know how it goes.
We won't do anything, the Iraqi Army would be more then happy to do it, but we would have to sit back and let them and it would get ugly of course because they would have to start removing the opposition like Sadr and Hakim.
We should have taken him out when we had the chance.
That brings to another point. Was it a mistake for Bremer to dismantle the Iraqi Army in 2003 to eliminate Ba'athists?
Thank you!!! We have really put he cart before the horse in this situation. Personally, I think we did it to keep the whinners quiet but, it didn't work. I remember reading the other day right here that it is the President of Iraq that has directed us to keep our hands off Al Sadr. We gave the reigns over way too soon, now its going to be really hard getting them back.
I think Iraq will be much calmer in a couple of years or so but I can't say for certain if our next President is willing to commit our troops in there.
there was a time early on in Iraq the Sadr was in captivity, how and who managed to get his release?
Probably the Iraqi Governing Council back in 2003 during the great Shi'ite uprising.
Maliki (sp?) asked for him to be released.
If we really want to win this its way past time for a demonstrtion of force.
Tell them to evacuate sadr city and 24 hours to the second turn it into smoking hole. Conventionally level the town, then inform them that the next time it will happen without warning, and immediately level another city.
You'll finally get their attention and their warped sense of respect.If we don't we wont win, we'll plod on loosing boys while trying to appear p.c.
"Was it a mistake for Bremer to dismantle the Iraqi Army in 2003 to eliminate Ba'athists?"
It was a massive mistake, probably the biggest of the conflict. We didn't need 400,000 troops in Iraq if we had kept the Iraqi Army and used them as a tool. These guys knew the lay of the land and where the extreme Saddam loyalists were hold out.
The Baathists by in large were loyal to one person themselves. After the war it would have cost us very little in comparison to what we spend each month in Iraq to pay the Army and have them protect the borders and enforce security on the streets of Iraq.
Instead we kicked them all out of their jobs which left thousands of military men hanging around which were easy pray for Saddam's inner circle and the foreign fighters who came in with lots of money and thus offered them all part time jobs attacking US troops, building bombs, and hiding terrorists.
We've got to pull the weeds if we want the country to grow. My brother was in Afghanistan he told me of the bartering you would have to do with the warlords because they had their own armies. IMHO, Al Sadr has a huge following, by taking him out and I mean out, not put him in jail, all are afraid of the backlash of his followers because of his martyrdom. But, hey obviously you cannot have any kind of cohesiveness if you have someone like this working against you. I say cut the head off of the snake, when someone else takes over, do it again, and again and again. Eventually they'll get the picture. Watching your leaders get capped consistantly would get real old.
Sadly I have to agree with you.
We need to separate the fight and fix stuff as the combination is deadly to those that are trained to fight.
I think history shows that hammering into total submission is the best and safest approach for the long run.
And therein lies the problem.
Don't lump the Kurds into that bunch. They're not Arab, and they are VERY much on our side. That's a fact.
Target and negate with no discretion.
They should pinpoint where he is now, however possible, and eliminate him before too many others are trained to take his place, but it seems too late for that. Frikkin nut-job radical fake islamic POS
Welcome to Free Republic!
Carpet bombing is wrong.
A few well placed MOABs would make my day. I wouldn't care if we destroy this POS and take care of this problem, even if there is some collateral damage. The PC factor of this conflict and the DBM is killing more troops than a serious effort ever would.
Sadr city has been a headache since the initial invasion. In 2003, the guidance was to not go into (then) Saddam City unless you were more heavily armed than normal and had a very good reason. Does anyone know the rationale for allowing that cancer to continue festering and allowing a powerful, lawless thug like Al-Sadr to live and remain free? I don't buy the argument of taking the known evil over the unknown evil or of keeping him around to play him against other Shia factions. He's caused way too much trouble to justify any such tactics.
I hope that you've got some inside information in regard to Allawi, as I recall you raising that possibility more than once. And, by "strong man," I hope you mean that he will ruthlessly crush terrorists/insurgents (even by means of - gasp - killing). When I was in Baghdad in 03, one of my interpreters was a well-educated Sunni, but not a high level Ba'athist. After a particularly frustrating day of rounding up dozens of looters, he let loose some steam about how we were doing business. "Whenever you find people looting, you must kill every 5th man in the neighborhood. It's the only way that you will restore order. These people don't understand any other way." I thought that to be a little naive and explained why that was a decision that had to be made at a pay grade far higher than mine. He was clearly frustrated, as he was more concerned with doing what works rather than what was legal. In hindsight, perhaps his approach would have resulted in less bloodshed, overall.
"Was it a mistake for Bremer to dismantle the Iraqi Army in 2003 to eliminate Ba'athists?" ~ MinorityRepublican
"It was a massive mistake, probably the biggest of the conflict." ~ jmc1969
Rumsfelds War, Powells Occupation (April, 2004 NRO article)
National Review Online ^ | April 30, 2004 | Barbara Lerner
Rumsfeld wanted Iraqis in on the action right from the beginning.
The latest post-hoc conventional wisdom on Iraq is that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld won the war but lost the occupation. There are two problems with this analysis (which comes, most forcefully, from The Weekly Standard). First, it's not Rumsfeld's occupation; it's Colin Powell's and George Tenet's. Second, although it's painfully obvious that much is wrong with this occupation, it's simple-minded to assume that more troops will fix it. More troops may be needed now, but more of the same will not do the job. Something different is needed and was, right from the start.
A Rumsfeld occupation would have been different, and still might be. Rumsfeld wanted to put an Iraqi face on everything at the outset not just on the occupation of Iraq, but on its liberation too. That would have made a world of difference.
Rumsfeld's plan was to train and equip and then transport to Iraq some 10,000 Shia and Sunni freedom fighters led by Shia exile leader Ahmed Chalabi and his cohorts in the INC, the multi-ethnic anti-Saddam coalition he created. There, they would have joined with thousands of experienced Kurdish freedom fighters, ably led, politically and militarily, by Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani. Working with our special forces, this trio would have sprung into action at the start of the war, striking from the north, helping to drive Baathist thugs from power, and joining Coalition forces in the liberation of Baghdad. That would have put a proud, victorious, multi-ethnic Iraqi face on the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and it would have given enormous prestige to three stubbornly independent and unashamedly pro-American Iraqi freedom fighters: Chalabi, Talabani, and Barzani.
Jay Garner, the retired American general Rumsfeld chose to head the civilian administration of the new Iraq, planned to capitalize on that prestige immediately by appointing all three, along with six others, to head up Iraq's new transitional government. He planned to cede power to them in a matter of weeks not months or years and was confident that they would work with him, not against him, because two of them already had. General Garner, after all, is the man who headed the successful humanitarian rescue mission that saved the Kurds in the disastrous aftermath of Gulf War I, after the State Department-CIA crowd and like thinkers in the first Bush administration betrayed them. Kurds are not a small minority and they remember. The hero's welcome they gave General Garner when he returned to Iraq last April made that crystal clear.
Finally, Secretary Rumsfeld wanted to cut way down on the infiltration of Syrian and Iranian agents and their foreign terrorist recruits, not just by trying to catch them at the border a losing game, given the length of those borders but by pursuing them across the border into Syria to strike hard at both the terrorists and their Syrian sponsors, a move that would have forced Iran as well as Syria to reconsider the price of trying to sabotage the reconstruction of Iraq.
None of this happened, however, because State and CIA fought against Rumsfeld's plans every step of the way. Instead of bringing a liberating Shia and Sunni force of 10,000 to Iraq, the Pentagon was only allowed to fly in a few hundred INC men. General Garner was unceremoniously dumped after only three weeks on the job, and permission for our military to pursue infiltrators across the border into Syria was denied.
General Garner was replaced by L. Paul Bremer, a State Department man who kept most of the power in his own hands and diluted what little power Chalabi, Talabani, and Barzani had by appointing not six but 22 other Iraqis to share power with them. This resulted in a rapidly rotating 25-man queen-for-a-day-type leadership that turned the Iraqi Governing Council into a faceless mass, leaving Bremer's face as the only one most Iraqis saw.
By including fence-sitters and hostile elements as well as American friends in his big, unwieldy IGC and giving them all equal weight, Bremer hoped to display a kind of inclusive, above-it-all neutrality that would win over hostile segments of Iraqi society and convince them that a fully representative Iraqi democracy would emerge. But Iraqis didn't see it that way. Many saw a foreign occupation of potentially endless length, led by the sort of Americans who can't be trusted to back up their friends or punish their enemies. Iraqis saw, too, that Syria and Iran had no and were busily entrenching their agents and terrorist recruits into Iraqi society to organize, fund, and equip Sunni bitter-enders like those now terrorizing Fallujah and Shiite thugs like Moqtada al Sadr, the man who is holding hostage the holy city of Najaf.
Despite all the crippling disadvantages it labored under, Bremer's IGC managed to do some genuine good by writing a worthy constitution, but the inability of this group to govern-period, let alone in time for the promised June 30 handover finally became so clear that Bremer and his backers at State and the CIA were forced to recognize it. Their last minute "solution" is to dump the Governing Council altogether, and give U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, the power to appoint a new interim government. The hope is that U.N. sponsorship will do two big things: 1) give the Brahimi government greater legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people; and 2) convince former allies to join us and reinforce our troops in Iraq in some significant way. These are vain hopes.
Putting a U.N. stamp on an Iraqi government will delegitimize it in the eyes of most Iraqis and do great damage to those who are actively striving to create a freer, more progressive Middle East. Iraqis may distrust us, but they have good reason to despise the U.N., and they do. For 30 years, the U.N. ignored their torments and embraced their tormentor, focusing obsessively on a handful of Palestinians instead. Then, when Saddam's misrule reduced them to begging for food and medicine, they saw U.N. fat cats rip off the Oil-for-Food Program money that was supposed to save them.
The U.N. as a whole is bad; Lakhdar Brahimi is worse. A long-time Algerian and Arab League diplomat, he is the very embodiment of all the destructive old policies foisted on the U.N. by unreformed Arab tyrants, and he lost no time in making that plain. In his first press conferences, he emphasized three points: Chalabi, Talabani, and Barzani will have no place in a government he appoints; he will condemn American military action to restore order in Iraq; and he will be an energetic promoter of the old Arab excuses Israel's "poison in the region," he announced, is the reason it's so hard to create a viable Iraqi interim government.
Men like Chalabi, Talabani, and Barzani have nothing but contempt for Mr. Brahimi, the U.N., and old Europe. They know perfectly well who their real enemies are, and they understand that only decisive military action against them can create the kind of order that is a necessary precondition for freedom and democracy. They see, as our State Department Arabists do not, that we will never be loved, in Iraq or anywhere else in the Middle East, until we are respected, and that the month we have wasted negotiating with the butchers of Fallujah has earned us only contempt, frightening our friends and encouraging our mortal enemies.
The damage Brahimi will do to the hope of a new day in Iraq and in the Middle East is so profound that it would not be worth it even if empowering him would bring in a division of French troops to reinforce ours in Iraq. In fact, it will do no such thing. Behind all the bluster and moral preening, the plain truth is that the French have starved their military to feed their bloated, top-heavy welfare state for decades. They couldn't send a division like the one the Brits sent, even if they wanted to (they don't). Belgium doesn't want to help us either, nor Spain, nor Russia, because these countries are not interested in fighting to create a new Middle East. They're fighting to make the most advantageous deals they can with the old Middle East, seeking to gain advantages at our expense, and at the expense of the oppressed in Iraq, Iran, and every other Middle Eastern country where people are struggling to throw off the shackles of Islamofascist oppression.
It is not yet too late for us to recognize these facts and act on them by dismissing Brahimi, putting Secretary Rumsfeld and our Iraqi friends fully in charge at last, and unleashing our Marines to make an example of Fallujah. And when al Jazeera screams "massacre," instead of cringing and apologizing, we need to stand tall and proud and tell the world: Lynch mobs like the one that slaughtered four Americans will not be tolerated. Order will restored, and Iraqis who side with us will be protected and rewarded.
Barbara Lerner is a frequent contributor to NRO.
Please think about changing your user name to "Totallyclueless".
There are two things important to Iraqis, first is the tribe and then religion. This is about power not gangs.
There is a three step plan that worked in the past, and will work in this instance. Problem is, it takes real cojone's.
I will add, the cojone's by the brass and the politicians. The fighting men have never been short on this important ingredient of warfare.
This is the kind of stuff that pisses me off. This is why the U.S. will never win this war until the U.S. stops fighting a "gentle" war so as not ot offend anyone. Screw that! Level Sadr City and KILL Mookie.
I think you'll see a different tone after the elections. Whoever gets control of Congress, President Bush, or no one else in his administration is running for office. The gloves can come off and damn the criticisms.