By Steve Schippert, Marvin Hutchens and Bill Roggio
The Coalition must execute political, economic and military solutions to defeat the insurgency and establish a democratic nation in Iraq. The creation of democratic institutions, promotion of elections, inclusion of minority parties in the political process, co-opting the non-radical domestic elements of the insurgency, and the establishment of Iraqi Security Forces to shoulder the burden of the fight against the insurgency are part of the political realm. The restoration of public utilities and services, relief of foreign debt, rebuilding the oil infrastructure, establishment of a strong currency and other related activities lie in the economic spectrum.
But political and economic progress cannot progress in an uncertain security environment. The popular perception that the Coalition does not have a coherent military strategy to assist with defeating the insurgency is untrue. The plan is clear: interdict al Qaeda and the insurgency along their lines of supply: the ratlines along the Tigris and Euphrates River; strike at targets of opportunity when they appear (search and destroy missions); push al Qaeda and the insurgency’s bases of operations further west towards the Syrian border and occupy the cities and towns along the river with Coalition forces, while handing over responsibility to Iraqi Security Forces when they are prepared to handle the mission.
This is the Anbar Campaign.
The following presentation should help visualize the operations over the past year, and demonstrate the Coalition’s push westward. The cities and towns along the Euphrates will change from “red” (hot spots where search and destroy operations are taking place) to “blue” (locations where clear and hold operations were executed, and the Coalition left behind a force strong enough to hold the region). The involvement of the Iraqi Security Forces increases over time and are crucial to success.
We are now in Phase 2 of the Anbar Campaign, where Coalition forces are executing clear and hold operations to secure cities and towns and are beginning to surge Iraqi troops further west. It should be noted the cities and towns changed to “blue” do not necessarily have a 100% acceptable security situation, as the Iraqi Army is still being moved in and local police forces are still being established. Ramadi is a good example of this. Coalition forces maintain a presence in Ramadi and control the levels of local government, and a small local police force does exist, but the insurgency is still fighting to eject the Coalition from the city. The infusion of Iraqi Army and Police Commandos, and the bolstering of the local police force will help advance the security situation.
Jason at CounterColumn looks at how the insurgents will be affected at the tactical and stategic level due to the pressure being aplied by the Anbar Campaign.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.