Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fort Apache

US forces with Iraqi army units in support continue to try and extend a web of forts inside Ramadi with the idea of creating a mesh of strong points that squeeze the enemy out and make movement within the city difficult:

U.S. and Iraqi forces are advancing one step at a time into key locations in Ramadi's walled neighborhoods, setting up small outposts of about 100 troops each. The goal is to slowly choke off the insurgents' ability to move freely, making them easier to capture or kill. Meanwhile, Iraqi soldiers, backed by U.S. troops, are to take the lead in patrolling around the outposts, creating small zones of safety for residents that will gradually spread.

As the strongpoints multiply, the enemy will have fewer areas to operate in and the people of Ramadi will be able to cooperate more with the government with less fear of enemy reprisals.

Or at the very least, government forces will keep the areas under close enough watch to keep enemy supporters from acting on their sympathies. This is classic counter-insurgency.

This assumes the Sunnis of Ramadi are capable of being reasonable and are not, in fact, committed supporters of the enemy who will not stop resisting as long as they are living. If so, the Iraqi government will decide to go Mediaeval on Ramadi at some point in time. When we aren't around to object, of course.

The obvious sympathy that Ramadi residents have for the enemy is one reason I hoped our attack on Baghdad back in March-April 2003 would through the Sunni Ramadi Gap. Rampaging tanks through enemy territory is far better than going through Shia territory as we did in the Karbala Gap further south in the final drive toward Baghdad.

Ramadi never did get a good demonstration of our power. So now we're doing it the hard way. Well, as I said, the hard way for us. Sunnis will hate the other way to stop their violence.