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The Roggio Report

The Baghdad Security Plan beefs up, AQI responds.

12:00 AM, Apr 2, 2007 • By BILL ROGGIO
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The Coalition and Iraqi government continue to court the Sunni tribes in the fight against al Qaeda. The successful model of the Anbar Salvation Council, which consists of Sunni tribes and former insurgent groups opposed to al Qaeda, is being pushed in other provinces where the Sunni insurgency is strongest. "Groups such as the 1920 Revolution Brigades, the Islamic Army, Jaish Al-Rashideen, Omar Brigades and Rayat Al-Sood have been encouraged to severe ties with the Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and join the political process," notes IraqSlogger. Many of these insurgent groups and Sunni tribes are already fighting al Qaeda, as they resist the demand to join the Islamic State in Iraq.

Inside Baghdad, Coalition and Iraqi security forces are building up the infrastructure to provide security in the neighborhoods while reorganizing the command structures to deal with the insurgency in the outer Baghdad belts. The Joint Security Station (JSS) concept has proven so successful in the neighborhoods that the original plan of about 35 such stations has been expanded to include about 70 throughout the city. There are two flavors of the JSS being set up: the full JSS station, which has U.S. forces, as well as Iraqi Army and police, and serves as a neighborhood coordination center; there are also smaller Combat Outposts (COP), which will have elements of Coalition, Iraqi Army and/or police forces. Currently 31 Joint Security Stations and 22 Combat Outposts have been established inside Baghdad.

The 3rd Brigade of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Division is now arriving in Iraq and is setting up shop to the south and east of Baghdad. The headquarters element of the 3rd Division has been designated as the command element for a new command--Multinational Division Central. It appears that Multinational Division Central will secure the outer Baghdad belts south, east, and north of Baghdad, while Multinational Division Baghdad will focus on Baghdad proper. In the past, Multinational Division Baghdad controlled Baghdad along with the outer belts in Diyala to the north and east, and Babil, Najaf, and Karbala to the south.

Last week, U.S. and Iraqi Army and police forces conducted a major clearing operation in the Mansour district and are now working to hold the territory. A U.S. Stryker battalion was involved in the operation. Two brigades of the Iraqi National Police (INP) have been located inside Baghdad proper--the 3rd Brigade, 1st INP Division in Bayaa, and the 1st Brigade, 1st INP Division in Karadah.

The Iraqi Army is evolving from a light infantry force into a motorized infantry force able to quickly respond to insurgent activity. The 1-3-6 Iraqi Army Battalion stationed in Kadhimiyah received 40 Badger armored personnel carriers, which are designed to survive most roadside bomb attacks and are equipped with a remote arm to check suspicious items. Each of the 6th Iraqi Army Division's five brigades are set to receive a battalion of Badgers, which will allow them to serve in a motorized quick reaction force (QRF) roles.

The U.S. and Iraqi Army are also beefing up the armored formations in and around Baghdad. The 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade of the 9th Iraqi Army Division is supporting the 4th Brigade of the 6th Iraqi Army Division in the south. An armored battalion of the 3-3 U.S. Infantry Division is also supporting the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th U.S. Mountain Division and the 4th Brigade of the 6th Iraqi Army Division south of Baghdad.

A major reason for the Iraqi Army's ability to deploy into Baghdad to implement the security plan is a recent change in laws concerning the AWOL (absent without leave) and deserter policies. On January 24th, the New Military Court Procedure Law was passed, and on February 5, the Military Punishment Law was passed.