February 24, 2008


In Mosul, a Hopeful Partnership: U.S. Is Betting Iraqi Forces Can Take Lead Against Insurgents (Joshua Partlow, 2/24/08, Washington Post)

[I]nstead of storming the buildings themselves, standard procedure for them over the past five years, the American soldiers deferred on this night to their partners. Dozens of Iraqi soldiers jumped down to the pavement and searched 22 buildings as the Americans watched from their vehicles. No weapons were found, and the soldiers drove back unharmed.

"It cuts down on the danger to American forces," said Sgt. Christopher Sherman. "It's nice to have some people helping us kick in doors."

With just 2,000 American soldiers to patrol a city of 1.8 million people -- the Iraqi Sunni insurgency's most formidable urban stronghold -- the U.S. military strategy in Mosul relies to an unprecedented degree on the Iraqi security forces. U.S. military officials here say there will be nothing like the "surge" of thousands of American troops that helped ease the fighting in Baghdad and no major effort to search for insurgents block by block. Instead, they are betting that 18,200 Iraqi soldiers and police can shoulder the load against the kaleidoscope of insurgent groups fighting in the city.

"We see the Iraqi security forces, more and more, take the lead and take the fight to the enemy," said Maj. Adam Boyd, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's intelligence officer. "You do see a capability that we have not seen before."

In recent months, three Iraqi army battalions have returned to Mosul from deployments in Baghdad. The Interior Ministry has approved 2,000 additional police recruits for the city, and a new Iraqi operations command is coordinating the efforts of the Iraqi security forces.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 24, 2008 6:40 AM
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