Friday, February 09, 2007

Report: Infighting hampering Baghdad crackdown, searches finding little

US Army soldiers examine a map this morning as they plan future operations from a combat outpost located in Adamiyah, a Sunni district in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi commanders are urging the Americans to go after Sunni targets as the first focus of the military push to secure Baghdad, displaying a sectarian tilt that is delaying full implementation of the plan to drive gunmen from the streets, U.S. officers say.

American officers, interviewed at the sprawling Camp Victory base at the western edge of the capital, also acknowledge they are finding little in their initial searches of Baghdad neighborhoods — suggesting either they received faulty intelligence or that the massive publicity that preceded the operation gave militants time to slip away.

The chief military spokesman, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, said Wednesday that the much-anticipated Baghdad security operation was under way. His remarks came about a month after President Bush announced he was dispatching 21,500 more troops to curb sectarian bloodletting.

Under the plan, Baghdad is to be divided into nine zones, with Iraqi and American soldiers working side-by-side to clear each sector of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents so that reconstruction programs can begin in safety.

Although Iraqis have seen an increase in the number of checkpoints and other security measures, there is little sign of a "surge" of troops in the streets. U.S. officials insist the public will see a big increase soon.

Read the rest at Yahoo News

Related Link:
Iraqi Policy Report: U.S. should concentrate crackdown on Sunnis, leave Shiites alone

Related Link:
Iraqi, US forces push into Baghdad, focus on Kadhimiyah, Dura districts

Related Link:
Iraqi minister arrested over Sadr links, accused of funnelling millions to Mahdi Army

Related Link:
U.S. troops open Joint Security Station in Doura neighborhood of Baghdad

Related Link:
Report: Baghdad 'crackdown' begins

Related Link:
U.S.-Iraqi sweep Sunni district in 'Operation Arrowhead Strike 6', but say crackdown yet to start