By DJ Elliott, CJ Radin and Bill Roggio
Five additional battalions (all U.S. Army) have been identified in the Eastern Baghdad sector, four additional battalions (U.S. Army) have been identified in the Western Baghdad sector and two Iraqi Army battalions (from 3rd and 4th IA Divisions) have combined with 3-4 IA Brigade HQ and deployed to southeast Baghad. The U.S. Military briefings have started to include the 10th sector of the Baghdad province (north of city up to Taji), so those three Brigades have been listed to the region directly north of the city (2 Iraqi Army and 1 U.S. Army brigade). As we’ve noted in the past, only a fraction of the U.S. battalions are currently in place and the full compliment of forces will not be deployed until May. The Iraqi Army has four more battalions to close up and familiarize with thier new areas before reaching initial planned strength.
Fifteen of the 28 (initially) planned Joint Security Stations have been established. We have located five of the stations in Rashid, Karkh, Rusafa, Kadamiyah and Adhamiyah.
Sadr City (or Thawra on the map), while being one of the most densly populated districts in Baghdad, has the fewest concentration of forces, with only two Brigades (one Iraqi Army and one Iraqi National Police) deployed. Sadr City is an overwhelminly Shia district, A look at the map seems to indicate the security plan is designed to secure the mixed neighborhoods, where the large majority of the sectarian violence is occurring, first.
The security plan in Baghdad has yielded some initial results in reducing the incidences of sectarian violence. The number of death-squad related murders have significantly been reduced ove rthe past five days, by upwards of 80 percent. The city also saw a reduction in the large scale bombings up until yesterday’s mass-casualty car bombings in markets in Sadr City and New Baghdad, which claimed 62 lives and wounded over 130. One of the actions being implemented to reduce the effectiveness of car bombs is the conversion of Baghdad market areas into pedestrian only zones.
The death squad activilty can be reduced by better ‘policing.’ A greater presense of police and soldiers on the streets, accompanied by U.S. oversight of the Iraqi units makes the movement of death squads far more difficult. The bombing problem, which is al Qaeda driven, is a much more difficult problem to deal with, and requires a drastic increase in checkpoints and searches of vehicles. As Omar at Iraq The Model noted, the Iraqi and U.S. forces have increased the number of checkpoints and are shifting the locations regularly to keep them from being targeted. This tactic also has the added advantage of preventing the bombers and death squads from divining the locations of security checkpoints and establishing safe, alternate routes.
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