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  • Horrible development in Iraq

    I am really freaked out about this. Maybe I'm over reacting because I have been studying Moqtada Al sadr since the battle of Najaf but if you care about whats going on In Iraq call your representative about this TODAY.

    From the Andrew Sullivan Blog.

    While the media is obsessed parsing the ad libs of someone on no ballot this fall, something truly ominous has just happened in Iraq. The commander-in-chief has abandoned an American soldier to the tender mercies of a Shiite militia. Yes, there are nuances here, and the NYT fleshes out the story today. But the essential fact is clear. In a showdown for control of Baghdad, the Iraqi prime minister took orders from Moqtada al-Sadr, and instructed the U.S. military to withdraw from Sadr City. The American forces were trying both to stabilize the city but also to find a missing American serviceman. He is still missing. Money quote from the WaPo:

    The move lifted a near siege that had stood at least since last Wednesday. U.S. military police imposed the blockade after the kidnapping of an American soldier of Iraqi descent. The soldier's Iraqi in-laws said they believed he had been abducted by the Mahdi Army as he visited his wife at her home in the Karrada area of Baghdad, where U.S. military checkpoints were also removed as a result of Maliki's action.

    The crackdown on Sadr City had a second motive, U.S. officers said: the search for Abu Deraa, a man considered one of the most notorious death squad leaders. The soldier and Abu Deraa both were believed by the U.S. military to be in Sadr City.

    The U.S. military does not have a tradition of abandoning its own soldiers to foreign militias, or of taking orders from foreign governments. The soldier appears to be of Iraqi descent who is married to an Iraqi woman. Who authorized abandoning him to the enemy? Who is really giving the orders to the U.S. military in Iraq? These are real questions about honor and sacrifice and a war that is now careening out of any control. They are not phony questions drummed up by a partisan media machine to appeal to emotions to maintain power.

    And where, by the way, is McCain on this?
    Dudes. Somebody just let Al Sadr order our army around and abandon one of our own in Sadr city. This is not a partisan Issue. One of our own has been taken and Al Sadr through his people in the Iraqi government have called off the search. Get on the phone. It is absolutely unnacceptable that tactical control be given over to ANY political leader much less Al Sadr.

  • #2
    Re: Horrible development in Iraq

    Taken from CNN website. Source http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/...ain/index.html


    Search continues for missing soldier
    U.S. troops on Wednesday continued to scour Baghdad in search of a U.S. soldier who went missing last week, a U.S. military spokesman said.

    Troops were still using tough security measures, including cordon and search operations, checkpoints, and raids.

    Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington and Lt. Col. Christopher Garver told CNN that troops are gathering intelligence to help in rescue operations.

    The soldier is an Iraq-American translator who went missing on October 23. The U.S. military believes he was abducted from a relative's house in Baghdad.

    During the search, U.S. and Iraqi checkpoints were set up around Baghdad's sprawling slum neighborhood of Sadr City, the Shiite stronghold of the Mehdi Army, followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

    The crackdown inconvenienced everyday Iraqis, some of whom began a general strike to protest the security measures on Tuesday. (Watch residents sound off about checkpoints -- 1:49)

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki then ordered the removal of checkpoints.

    After that, checkpoints along Army Canal -- which leads into eastern Baghdad, including the Sadr City area -- were opened, and cars and pedestrians were allowed to pass freely.

    On Wednesday, permanent checkpoints along the Army Canal road remained open, with traffic moving freely. Temporary checkpoints along the Karrada Peninsula were taken down.

    Withington emphasized that operations to rescue the soldier are aggressive and said, "We're serious about bringing this soldier home."

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    • #3
      Re: Horrible development in Iraq

      This may be a way for al-Maliki to retain power in the face of growing Shiite opposition to his positions. As I understand it, American commanders and the Iraqi government agreed to defeat the Sunni insurgency before making any overt moves against the Shiite militias, on the assumption that once the insurgents had been pacified, the need for standing personal armies would diminish. Instead, we started moving on the death squads infesting the police and on Sadr himself. That probably undermined Maliki's authority within his own constituency. By exerting some measure of control over US forces in Baghdad (or at least giving the illusion), he regains some legitimacy.

      I'm sure that Gen. Casey weighed the likelihood of a dragnet in Sadr City turning up the missing soldier against the possibility of it deligitimizing the government we're trying to save and made the decision to acquiece. The last thing we need is an armed uprising around the Green Zone. We don't have a lot of good options here. Maybe we were promised something in return - I'm sure the search will continue in some form.
      In game handle: Steel Scion
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      • #4
        Re: Horrible development in Iraq

        This happened a week or two ago and was rapidly followed by the 12-18 month timeline to which Malaki objected, etc. I think that technically we are happy to do as the duly-elected Iraqi leader commands while on Iraq turf, however, we are also able to communicate to him that his decisions have consequences, and that we are one of his most important constituencies too.

        The Sadr thing is enfuriating.

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        • #5
          Re: Horrible development in Iraq

          Originally posted by Steeler View Post
          This may be a way for al-Maliki to retain power in the face of growing Shiite opposition to his positions. As I understand it, American commanders and the Iraqi government agreed to defeat the Sunni insurgency before making any overt moves against the Shiite militias, on the assumption that once the insurgents had been pacified, the need for standing personal armies would diminish. Instead, we started moving on the death squads infesting the police and on Sadr himself. That probably undermined Maliki's authority within his own constituency. By exerting some measure of control over US forces in Baghdad (or at least giving the illusion), he regains some legitimacy.

          I'm sure that Gen. Casey weighed the likelihood of a dragnet in Sadr City turning up the missing soldier against the possibility of it deligitimizing the government we're trying to save and made the decision to acquiece. The last thing we need is an armed uprising around the Green Zone. We don't have a lot of good options here. Maybe we were promised something in return - I'm sure the search will continue in some form.
          You've summed up my opinion nicely.
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          • #6
            Re: Horrible development in Iraq

            Originally posted by Steeler View Post
            This may be a way for al-Maliki to retain power in the face of growing Shiite opposition to his positions. As I understand it, American commanders and the Iraqi government agreed to defeat the Sunni insurgency before making any overt moves against the Shiite militias, on the assumption that once the insurgents had been pacified, the need for standing personal armies would diminish. Instead, we started moving on the death squads infesting the police and on Sadr himself. That probably undermined Maliki's authority within his own constituency. By exerting some measure of control over US forces in Baghdad (or at least giving the illusion), he regains some legitimacy.

            I'm sure that Gen. Casey weighed the likelihood of a dragnet in Sadr City turning up the missing soldier against the possibility of it deligitimizing the government we're trying to save and made the decision to acquiece. The last thing we need is an armed uprising around the Green Zone. We don't have a lot of good options here. Maybe we were promised something in return - I'm sure the search will continue in some form.
            In other words, Al Sadr tells Maliki what to do, and we do it in order to support the government, which Sadr is running from behind the scenes. That does not sit well with me at all. Tactical procedures can never be handed over to politicians. Thats the lesson of Vietnam. You don't let politicians decide military tactics. period. when you say deligitimize you're literally saying, we decided the riskand the danger of letting Al sadr know hes not running the show after all might deligitimize Maliki with Sadrs supporters. The same guys who snatched thi soldier! Its HIS support Mailiki is kow towing to. The guy who snatched this soldier IS Al Sadr. Do you see what I'm getting at? We just let the guy who is responsible for kidnapping this soldier tell us to back off through his dependant politician Maliki.

            The Mahdi Army IS Al sadrs militia. Don't you guys see what has just happened?

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            • #7
              Re: Horrible development in Iraq

              Sadr doesn't have complete control over his own militias. We have no idea (publically, anyway) if there is any operational link between Sadr and the kidnappers. Unless we have some real actionable intelligence against Sadr, how can we justify a sweeping blockade of Sadr City that might result in the collapse of the Baghdad government? I agree that it feels like the worst sort of betrayal, but I get the strategic logic involved.

              Besides, we may need the militias and the central government to be firmly on our side very soon.
              Originally posted by The Independent
              Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.

              As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.

              Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.

              The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.
              Sounds like a fight brewing.
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              • #8
                Re: Horrible development in Iraq

                Private Book, you haven't done your homework yet! From Military Operations In Low Intensity Conflict:

                Originally posted by LOW INTENSITY CONFLICT IMPERATIVES
                In LIC operations, political objectives drive military decisions at every level from the strategic to the tactical. All commanders and staff officers must understand these political objectives and the impact of military operations on them. They must adopt courses of action which legally support those objectives even if the courses of action appear to be unorthodox or outside what traditional doctrine had contemplated.
                This concept drives all sorts of goofy decisions, like not putting the whole damn country on a curfew a la Germany in WWII. Back then dawn to dusk curfews were in force and violators were shot on sight without warning. It worked!

                Today's military has developed a more subtle policy to fit these more subtle wars, in which we aren't necessarily attempting to dominate, crush, and rebuild an entire society but are instead attempting to suppress one force while enhancing another indigenous force. Dig?

                Maybe this approach is flawed. I have a feeling that some smart heads are getting scratched and people are working hard to identify the lessons to be learned from Iraq and reshaping policies like this one from FM 100-20.

                Irregardless this is the military doctrine in place.

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