Multi­na­tion­al Divi­sion Bagh­dad Plans to Extend Reach

Multi­na­tion­al Divi­sion Bagh­dad Plans to Extend Reach By Jim Gara­mone
Amer­i­can Forces Press Service 

Coali­tion forces in the Iraqi cap­i­tal are going to extend their reach into neigh­bor­hoods, the com­man­der of Multi­na­tion­al Divi­sion Bagh­dad said. 

Army Maj. Gen. Jef­fery W. Ham­mond told reporters trav­el­ing with Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates on Feb. 11 that coali­tion forces are going to inten­si­fy the tac­tics that have reduced vio­lence in the city between 70 and 75 per­cent over the past year. 

“We are going to extend our reach,” Ham­mond said dur­ing a brief­ing at For­ward Oper­at­ing Base Fal­con. “I want the con­di­tions to be that there is nowhere in Bagh­dad that the ene­my can hide. We’re not going to give back any terrain.” 

The gen­er­al said the ene­my is a think­ing ene­my, and coali­tion forces must stay a step ahead tactically. 

“We’re going to increase our patrols, we’re going to increase out pres­ence, we’re going to take the joint secu­ri­ty sta­tions and the com­bat out­posts bases, and we’re going to put more of them out there,” he said. “I’m going to find the nerves, and we’re going to put our­selves on the nerves.” 

Every­one in the divi­sion is going to move far­ther out into the com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing part of the divi­sion staff itself, he said. “I’m mov­ing a brigade off a for­ward oper­at­ing base, and I’m push­ing bat­tal­ions and com­pa­nies fur­ther than where they are at,” he said. “I’m telling every­one to get out there. The bases will start as patrol bases, then move into a com­bat out­post, then a (joint secu­ri­ty station).” 

Ham­monds said he wants to add at least 16 joint secu­ri­ty sta­tions to the 39 now in existence. 

“It’s an adapt­ing ene­my. He’s already shown that,” the gen­er­al said. “And I’ve got to adapt as well. That’s why I talk about read­just­ing the way I look here — extend­ing my reach, plac­ing him off bal­ance and being unpre­dictable. So, just as he adapts, I must adapt as well.” 

The gen­er­al said he wants to remove the pre­dictabil­i­ty that comes with being in one place too long. “And I’m going to do that with­out giv­ing back any­thing,” he said. 

Part of the strat­e­gy is to do more to devel­op the Iraqi police. “There’s been a lot of suc­cess in that, but it’s my inten­tion to expand that and accel­er­ate it even fur­ther,” he said. 

The divi­sion is work­ing with the Iraqi Inte­ri­or Min­istry to take the Sons of Iraq — the new name of con­cerned local cit­i­zens groups that help with secu­ri­ty efforts — and train them to become beat policemen. 

The gen­er­al said he plans to expand tac­ti­cal over­watch of the neigh­bor­hoods to pro­vide sup­port for the Sons of Iraq. The group is con­stant­ly under attack from al Qae­da in Iraq and oth­er extrem­ist groups. He also wants to expand con­trol into dis­tricts north of Bagh­dad city that are part of the province, he added. 

Ham­mond said inci­dents of vio­lence in Bagh­dad are down sig­nif­i­cant­ly over the past year. The coali­tion and Iraqi tac­tics, a cease-fire order from Shi­ite cler­ic Muq­ta­da al-Sadr to the mili­tia he con­trols, and the grow­ing influ­ence of the Sons of Iraq are the rea­sons for the drop, he said. 

Even with the decrease in attacks, al Qae­da in Iraq remains the most sig­nif­i­cant threat to sta­bil­i­ty in the city, the gen­er­al said. 

“We can­not allow for an al Qae­da resur­gence here in Bagh­dad,” he said. “They con­tin­ue to try to attack our Sons of Iraq, and we just can’t allow any resump­tion of the cycle of vio­lence by al Qaeda.” 

The pri­ma­ry threat to the coali­tion is the Iran­ian-trained and fund­ed Shi­ite “spe­cial groups.” The armor-pierc­ing explo­sive­ly formed pro­jec­tile is their sig­na­ture attack, he said. 

Ham­mond said his assess­ment is that 70 per­cent of Bagh­dad is under con­trol, with anoth­er 11 per­cent com­ing under con­trol. Sadr City — a pre­dom­i­nant­ly Shi­ite sec­tion on the east­ern side of Bagh­dad — is the largest area not under effec­tive con­trol and con­tin­ues to be an area of con­cern, he said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →