The Baghdad Security Operation Order of Battle: April 30, 2007

The Baghdad Order Of Battle as of April 30, 2007. Click map to view.

The city of Baghdad continues to see a drop in sectarian violence attributed to death squads, while suicide car bombings remain al Qaeda’s most deadly tool. After prior week’s car bomb offensive by al Qaeda, which included 11 major suicide attacks over five days, the past week inside the city has been relatively free of major attacks. While roadside bombs, mortar attacks and other small scale attacks remain a regular occurrence inside Baghdad, al Qaeda was unable to pull off any large scale attacks which threaten to reignite the sectarian bloodshed.

Part of the success of the Anbar Salvation Council is that it provides the Sunnis in Anbar with a political voice as well as security against al Qaeda. The Anbar Salvation Council’s political component is the Anbar Awakening. Seven new tribes have just joined the political party. The Awakening is now expanding beyond Anbar province, and is becoming a national movement. The Anbar Awakening is facilitating the creation of the Iraq Awakening, a national political party which would “oppose insurgents such as Al Qaeda in Iraq and reengage with Iraq’s political process.” The Iraq Awakening is scheduled to meet in May, and will be the first Sunni political party to openly oppose al Qaeda in Iraq.

Sensing that the Awakening movement was gaining steam in Iraq–branches are said to be forming in Salahadin and Diyala–I asked Omar Fadhil, and Iraqi blogger living in Baghdad, about the perception of the movement inside Baghdad and prospects of the Awakening expanding into the capital. Omar responded that the tribal dynamics were different, and that it was difficult to draw conclusions about Baghdad based on trends in Ramadi.

The following day, Omar noted a report in As Sabah on the creation of the Adhamiya Awakening. “Some community leaders in Adhamiya are working on forming a salvation council for their own district they will be calling The Adhamiya Awakening,” reported Omar. “Sources close to the leaders said they [the leaders] have managed to win the support of some hundred people who agree with the new position. The sources asserted that the goal of the Awakening is to rid Adhamiya of the terrorists.”

During last week’s Pentagon press briefing, General Petraeus stated that al Qaeda in Iraq remains the primary threat to security, but also highlighted Iran’s role in the insurgency. General Petraeus noted that the Iranians were backing Sunni and Shia groups alike, but focused on two examples of Iranian backing of Shia violence–the Karbala raid in January 2007 and the capture of major players in the Sheibani group.

General Petraeus outlined Iranian Qods Force’s involvement with the February 20 attack on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, which led to the aborted kidnapping and subsequent murder of five U.S. soldiers. Qods Force armed, trained, and advised the Qazili network, which carried out the attack. U.S. forces detained several senior leaders of the Qazili network, and captured a “22-page memorandum on a computer that detailed the planning, preparation, approval process and conduct of the operation that resulted in five of our soldiers being killed in Karbala,” said Gen. Petraeus.

Petraeus also discussed the Sheibani network, “which brings explosively formed projectiles into Iraq from Iran,” as well as other deadly weapons from Iran. A senior leader of the network was detained by U.S. forces. An American military intelligence official informs us the Sheibani network is one of Qods Force’s foreign networks in Iraq, just as Hezbollah is an Iranian arm in Lebanon.

This latest news of Iranian complicity in the Shia insurgency came as the U.S. announced the capture of Abn Al-Hadi Al-Iraqi, a senior al Qaeda operative responsible for coordinating al Qaeda’s networks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran. Abd Al-Hadi was captured crossing the border from Iran into Iraq. He was a major in Saddam’s Army, ran al Qaeda training camps, was a military commander in Pakistan and Afghanistan, set up Zarqawi’s network in Iraq along with Saif al Adel, who was in Iranian custody at the time, and served on al Qaeda’s senior military and political shura, or councils. Abd Al-Hadi was reported to have been captured sometime late in 2006.

U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces have been pressing hard against al Qaeda’s network nationwide. A single raid against a “constellation” of targets over the weekend resulted in the capture of 72 al Qaeda operatives. Coalition forces killed Abu Abd al-Satter, a senior al Qaeda leader during a raid northwest of Baghdad on April 20. Satter is described as “a known al Qaeda terrorist leader known to operate in Karmah and Ameriyah areas and was the al Qaeda in Iraq Security Emir of the eastern Anbar Province.” Satter’s car bomb cell “used 12- to 13-year-old children as VBIED drivers” to conduct its attacks.

Multinational Forces Iraq still has two infantry brigades to deploy in support of the Baghdad Security Plan. Three have already deployed, and the fourth, the 4th Special Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division (Strykers) was reported to have entered Iraq in mid April, however there has been a reporting blackout on any information on the brigade.

General Petraeus and the Iraqi government have made some positive moves in the ten weeks since the kickoff of the Baghdad security Plan. However, he cautions it is still too soon to draw definitive conclusions. The proper time to make a preliminary assessment will be in September. But, increasingly, the war is being fought in the halls Congress. Senior politicians have declared the war lost, and the delay in the supplemental funding bill is preventing the training of the Iraqi Army. It would behoove the Bush administration and the Department of Defense to speed up the deployment of the remaining U.S. combat brigades into Iraq to smash al Qaeda’s sanctuary in Diyala but a lack of political support at home is likely to hamper any such effort.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • ECH says:

    How many extra ERUs is the Anbar Salvation Council going to be building Bill? I heard they wanted to build more then the origional 8. The ERUs are I think the best stopgap measure to make up for the US and the Iraqi police and Army not having enough forces in Iraq to secure large parts of the country.
    I also hear that the Son’s of Anbar the Iraqi Army unit for Anbar province made up of ASC members is coming along quite well.
    If the US could help to foster a Salvation Council in Baghdad it would be great. But, in Diyala and Baghdad I see a tougher going then Anbar building the type of Salvation Council we see in Anbar.

  • ECH says:

    I was just thinking, given the success of the Anbar Salvation Council, perhaps it is best to increase our weapons and support to the ASC and at the same time move several of the battalions we added to Anbar and that we were going to add to Anbar to Diyala.
    The Anbar Salvation Council has alot of dirty work to do and I think weapons, equipment and air support is what they need not significant US troops as backup.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    “I was just thinking, given the success of the Anbar Salvation Council, perhaps it is best to increase our weapons and support to the ASC and at the same time move several of the battalions we added to Anbar and that we were going to add to Anbar to Diyala.”

  • ECH says:

    Certainly the ASC is spreading out and it will continue doing so.
    The problem as Bill makes clear is Diyala. We need to come down hard on Diyala like a hammer. US forces in Diyala have basically had to resume major combat operations there with heavy bombings even using B-1B Lancers. But, I believe strongly we need more ground pounders there as well as does Bill.
    “Colonel Sutherland’s brigade has really adopted a muscular approach to counterinsurgency up there. And since when we left, it appears that they have almost resumed major combat operations. ”
    al-Qaeda must be driven out of Diyala and we have very very little time to spare.

  • Army Mom Joy says:

    I love these reports. I know where 4BCT-2ID is because that is where my son is at and he has written. Please keep these coming. I mean how much should we say? Maybe you don’t say for a reason. I don’t want to give help to our enemy… Should I worry about this? No answer expected. Just wondering out loud. I know how busy you are. Thank you for this website. Between you and blackfive I only read MSNBC and Foxnews for recipes and E.D. Hill. This is where to get the real news. Ian and are grateful for your site.

  • ECH says:

    If it were up to me I would go all out letting the Anbar Salvation Council create its own National Guard/militia to protect the Sunnis as the Kurds have in the North with the Peshmerga.
    The Sunnis know we will be leaving in the next two years and are incredibly afraid of being shut out of the new Iraq in every way including by having Medhi Army militiamen kill them and their families.
    The trick is to get the Sunnis to see the Anbar Salvation Council as the Sunni armed force that will protect them and their interests not the insurgents.
    As long as Sunnis rightly believe that Sunni military force is the only thing protecting their interests from being totally ignored by Sadr and Hakim then they are going to want an armed force. The key is to replace the insurgency with the Salvation Council in the minds of Sunnis as the protectors of their interests.
    I know the Pentagon is paranoid about having another militia in Iraq and the Iraqi government certainly doesn’t want a Sunni militia. But, militias in the right hands are not a bad thing as we see with the Kurds. If I were a Sunni I wouldn’t trust Sadr, Hakim, or the rest of the Shia leadership to not kill me when the US leaves either.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    Quote from the PBS interview,
    “PHILLIP CARTER: Well, it looks like this is the unintended consequence of the surge. That is, you squeeze the bad guys out of Baghdad, and they pop like a water balloon up into the Diyala province, which borders Baghdad.”

  • Neo says:

    The PBS interview I refer to was ECH’s link above.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    “If it were up to me I would go all out letting the Anbar Salvation Council create its own National Guard/militia to protect the Sunnis as the Kurds have in the North with the Peshmerga.”

  • David M says:

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run – Web Reconnaissance for 05/01/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    MNF-I finally announced the 4th (Stealth) Stryker Brigade Combat Team/2nd (Invisible) Infantry Division arriving.
    Notice how vague they are…
    Best OPSEC outside of SOF that I have seen in last two years for a US unit.


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