During Operations Iron Fist, River Gate and Mountaineers, it was obvious the Coalition was also pressing an operation in the Baghdad environs. Press reports from CENTCOM made it clear that concurrent operations were taking place as a series of raids resulted in over 250 suspects detained and numerous weapons caches and car bombs were discovered. Major General Rick Lynch disclosed in an October 20th press briefing that this push is called Operation National Unity, which is a combined operation that included over 20,000 Iraqi police and six brigades of the Iraqi Army:
Let’s talk about Baghdad — Operation National Unity. As I talked about, it is predictable that there is going to be a major act of violence in some populated area between now and the referendum, just like there was in Hillah yesterday. So we’ve mounted with the Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi government Operation National Unity, across Baghdad to create an environment that’s secure for the conduct of the referendum and for the area after the referendum prior to the elections.
Now what’s amazing is this: Currently, in Operation National Unity, there are more 20,000 members of the Iraqi police service focused on that operation, and there are indeed six brigades from the Iraqi Army participating in that operation. Just yesterday, they did 130 patrols, a cordon and search operation independently.
MG Lynch also notes the handover of four districts in Baghdad to the Iraqi Army. He also discloses the number if Iraqi Security Forces working along the Euphrates.
On the 3rd of October, the 6th Iraqi Army Division assumed control of battle space in Baghdad — significant portions of Baghdad, four districts. That division commander, the 6th Iraqi Army Division commanders, commands and controls two of his own brigades in operations across Baghdad in his area of responsibility. They own battle space; they are responsible for the command and control in that battle space. And they work in conjunction with the coalition forces to conduct effective operations throughout their battle space…
[In the] Euphrates River valley — 4,200 members of the Iraqi Security Forces work with coalition forces to secure that area along that entire stretch from Syria down to western Baghdad.
The 6th Iraqi Army Division operating in Baghdad and the units of the 1st and 7th Iraqi Army Division operating along the Euphrates are by no means “level one” units – capable of fully independent operations. The units in Baghdad are likely at level 2 (require some logistical support but can operate independently) and the units in Anbar provinces are likely at level 3 (operate along side U.S. forces). These units are effectively fighting the insurgency, and the Iraqi Army and police forces have yet to reach its full potential.
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