Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Analysis: Surging towards Iran

USS Eisenhower

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The logic of the new force deployments President George W. Bush has approved for the Middle East appeared geared towards launching an air strike against Iran or deterring Iranian retaliation rather than preparing for a major change in U.S. strategy to win the war in Iraq.

As we have noted in previous coverage, the much hyped "surge" strategy the president has approved to strengthen U.S. forces in Iraq, especially in Baghdad, will be almost negligible in its boost to U.S. troop numbers in and around the Iraq capital in the short term. By the end of February, only 7,000 additional troops are currently scheduled to be sent out. The impact those numbers by themselves can have on a city of 7 million people will be negligible. The U.S. Army's own latest manual on counter-insurgency warfare calls for a ratio of 20 troops to secure 1,000 of the general population who need to be protected, as Trudy Rubin pointed out in the Philadelphia Inquirer Friday. That would require 140,000 U.S, troops to secure Baghdad alone.

By contrast, the build up of U.S. air and sea assets in the Persian Gulf area is far more massive than the "surge' in ground troops. A second aircraft carrier battle group is being sent to join the USS Eisenhower carrier battle group already in the region, in effect doubling its air striking power.

Read the rest at UPI