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Following a death trail to Sadr City (The violence in Baghdad leads back to one city)
LA TImes ^ | October 24 2006 | Patrick J. McDonnell

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 ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
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To: Lurker

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

41 posted on 10/24/2006 4:10:44 AM PDT by jbp1 (be nice now)
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To: navyguy
Maliki is the one keeping us from doing what we want to do. Iraq has the power to stop our Military from doing things we would otherwise do. They are a sovereign Nation, and we turned over control over to THEM after the last election. This will change soon, when it comes to Military Action. That is what I am hearing.

42 posted on 10/24/2006 4:27:00 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Preserve America... kill terrorists... destroy dims!)
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To: totalchaos
Since Oct 23, 2006

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.

43 posted on 10/24/2006 4:49:24 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 ("I don't know how anyone can go to Church on Sunday, and vote for a democrat the following Tuesday.")
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To: jmc1969

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.

44 posted on 10/24/2006 4:51:12 AM PDT by Axhandle
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To: jmc1969; MinorityRepublican

"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

The facts:

Rumsfeld’s War, Powell’s 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.


45 posted on 10/24/2006 4:58:23 AM PDT by Matchett-PI (To have no voice in the Party that always sides with America's enemies is a badge of honor.)
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To: totalchaos

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.

46 posted on 10/24/2006 5:07:49 AM PDT by Recon Dad (Marine Spec Ops Dad)
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To: Lurker
Let me guess what comes next, we corner Al Sadr and his followers in the cities mosque, they call for a cease fire, we agree, they blend back into the population and come at us from another angle with new weapons.

There is a three step plan that worked in the past, and will work in this instance. Problem is, it takes real cojone's.

47 posted on 10/24/2006 6:06:25 AM PDT by jeremiah (Our military are not "fodder", but fathers and mothers and sons and daughters.)
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To: jeremiah

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.

48 posted on 10/24/2006 6:08:07 AM PDT by jeremiah (Our military are not "fodder", but fathers and mothers and sons and daughters.)
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To: jmc1969
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.

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.

49 posted on 10/24/2006 6:17:01 AM PDT by SMM48
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To: Lurker

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.

50 posted on 10/24/2006 6:32:21 AM PDT by HonorInPa
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To: totalchaos
".... I bet most of the terrorists in Sadr came from Fallujah. "
I would be carefull with that bet. Fallujah is and was a Sunni City in al Anbar. The Saddamist, AQIR, and radical Sunni religous groups where centered in Fallujah. Think of the current insurgent HQ (many factions) in ar Ramadi (the capital of al Anbar, and prominently Sunni city) as representing what was in Fallujah.
No Shia militia operated within Fallujah, for they where not welcome. Same thing goes, where in Sadr City the Mahdi army is supreme. You don't find AQIR operating in Sadr City. They are not welcome and would be killed off if discovered.
One must keep track of who is where and just what alliances they make with other groups. The later of course is often difficult to elucidate on until after key figures are captured, letters, PC, found etc..
I leave room for the fact we know of some intercourse between Sadr factions and insurgent factions as it suited his plan to oust the US military from Iraq over a period of time. But for Sadr City to be considered a strong hold for Sunni,AQIR, and Saddamist, would be stretching the picture a bit to far.
51 posted on 10/24/2006 8:06:06 AM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: LibLieSlayer

What you say is correct... we turned power over to them (and rightly so). But I don't think that should mean that our military works at their behest... or at least it shouldn't. Especialy with a known terrorist like Al-Sadr. But I hope that an impending military action, as you seem to suggest, is on its way because this turd needs to be flushed.

52 posted on 10/24/2006 9:30:56 AM PDT by navyguy
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To: Matchett-PI

Thanks for posting the references and the article written by Barb Lerner. I think it should be standard reading for all Freepers to how should I say, refresh their memories a bit.

53 posted on 10/24/2006 10:51:16 AM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: jmc1969
Of course the article has to contain a bit of small talk bias such as cramped HQ. Sublimitals as usual, but over all does bring forth a partially correct picture.
As indicated two days back, I am convinced some good things are in the making in regards to how the IG will now have to address the militias we often make reference to.
I believe the Baker/Hamilton committee is simply for public consumption and that the good generals, associated Intel orgs, and some key advisors that have been meeting with the POTUS's group already know exactly what will be given to the IG to make haste in carrying out.
54 posted on 10/24/2006 10:57:15 AM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: Marine_Uncle

You're welcome. I agree.

55 posted on 10/24/2006 12:54:56 PM PDT by Matchett-PI (To have no voice in the Party that always sides with America's enemies is a badge of honor.)
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