Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baghdad, Iraq: A Map, a Strategy, and Being Right

A hand-drawn map, made by the late Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, didn't get destroyed in time. It showed up in an Al Qaeda safe house almost a year ago, giving American military planners details on how Al Qaeda controlled Baghdad.

That helped force Al Qaeda out of Baghdad, to Baquba. And, into the desert, where they were even more vulnerable.

Here's a copy of the map (.pdf): "Battle of the Baghdad Belt."

The troop surge, announced January 10, involved more than just dropping more American troops into Iraq. Generals David Petraeus and Raymond Odierno decided to make a risky move. Instead of keeping American forces concentrated in relatively defensible main base camps, they sent American soldiers to small patrol stations. Iraqis and Americans served together in these stations, so the Americans were essentially living among the citizens of Baghdad.

This arrangement made American troops easier targets, but it also put them where they could communicate with Iraqis. Iraqis learned to trust the Americans, and American troops began getting useful intelligence from the Iraqis.

The strategy seems to have worked. The New York Times says that the rate of suicide bombings in Baghdad is half what it was last summer, other forms of violence are down, and people in Baghdad are, for the first time in two years, able to move freely around their city.

I think this shows what can happen, when American leaders accept the idea that military force can be part of a successful foreign policy, and that it's possible for the American military to communicate with their counterparts, and with civilians, in other countries.

It may still be too early to talk about victory in Iraq, but what's been happening in and around Baghdad is certainly good news.

Facts from
"Zarqawi Map Aided Successes Against Iraqi Insurgency" (November 20, 2007)
"Baghdad’s Weary Start to Exhale as Security Improves" (November 20, 2007)

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store


Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.