The Blog

The Roggio Report

Iraq war news and notes: Operation Quicklook, Sadr's Army Splinters, and more.

1:52 PM, Mar 26, 2007 • By BILL ROGGIO
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The Baghdad Order Of Battle as of March 26, 2007.
Click map to view.

WITH THE PASSING of the four year anniversary of the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraqi and Coalition security forces continue to press with reestablishing security inside the capital and the outer Baghdad belts. The Baghdad Security plan continues to show signs of progress. Sectarian murders have been dramatically reduced inside Baghdad, as have the mass casualty suicide attacks which once plagued the city on a regular basis. Al Qaeda is still able to conduct suicide and car bomb attacks inside the city, but the effects of these attacks have been dramatically reduced.

In the past, the most devastating bombs were placed on large trucks, dump trucks, fuel tankers, and other large vehicles, and driven into open markets to kill as many Shia as possible. Mohammad Fadhil, an Iraqi blogger who lives in Baghdad, notes that the number of checkpoints in the city are increasing rapidly and are having an effect in reducing major attacks. "With the constant force buildup many streets now host multiple checkpoints, both fixed and mobile," says Fadhil. "All are positioned in a manner that allows soldiers in one to have visual contact with those in the next one. From my personal experience I can tell that the men staffing the checkpoints do not take their job lightly."

There have been no major changes to the disposition of U.S. or Iraq forces inside Baghdad. The U.S. still has three of the five combat brigades and an aviation combat brigade to deploy in support of the security operation. The U.S. 3rd Brigade Combat Team from the 3rd Infantry Division has been reported as being in Iraq, however there is no information on the location of this brigade. It remains unclear whether the brigade will be moved into Baghdad or deploy into the provinces--perhaps Diyala--to pursue al Qaeda.

The Coalition and Iraqi government are also in the process of retraining and redeploying the Iraqi National Police. In 2006, the majority of National Police units were infiltrated with militias. Their deployment inside Baghdad without Coalition oversight partially led to the failure of the previous Baghdad security plan--Operation Together Forward.

The Coalition created Operation Quicklook, a program designed to purge the police battalions of militia and insurgents, issue new uniforms and identification badges, and retrain and reequip the forces for urban combat and security operations. Phase I was inspections, Phase II is re-bluing, re-equipping, replacements (purge) and Brigade training, Phase III will be field training/ops, and Phase IV is when the Ministry of the Interior takes over Phase I thru III. The most heavily infiltrated brigades were put through Quicklook II first. The 8th Brigade of the 2nd Iraqi Police Division lost over 40 percent of its ranks; the 4th Brigade of the 1st Iraqi Police Division was reduced by 30 percent. One year ago only one brigade commander and two battalion commanders were Sunni. Today, 4 of 9 brigade commanders and 13 of 27 battalion commanders are Sunni. Half of the brigades have gone through Quicklook II., and at least three are now serving inside Baghdad along with other police units that haven't yet gone through the program.

The deployment of Iraqi and U.S. forces inside Baghdad may be having some impact on al Qaeda. "Over the last month, officials said that under Operation Law Enforcement more than 100 Al Qaeda operatives were killed or captured in the Baghdad area," notes the Middle East Newline. Al Qaeda is said to be fleeing Baghdad as the security plan expands throughout the city.

Al Qaeda in Iraq's most dangerous weapons remain the car and suicide bombs. Over the past week, al Qaeda conducted a steady stream of attacks inside Baghdad. The targets have been members of the Iraqi security services and the Shia community. Al Qaeda seeks to break the will of the security forces and incite the Shia to conduct reprisal attacks on Sunnis. The attacks have not been as deadly as was seen prior to the implementation of the Baghdad Security Plan.