Checkpoint … an Iraqi soldier in Baghdad searches a resident’s motor scooter. Photo: Reuters
“It’s going to be an operation unlike anything this city has seen,” Colonel Heckman said.
AS US and Iraqi military commanders launched the first stage of a new security plan to tackle violence on Baghdad’s streets, the Bush Administration’s “surge” of American troops was facing stiff resistance at home.
Although the first phase of the plan will mainly involve Iraqi forces, several Republican senators dealt a blow to the authority of the US President, George Bush, by backing a motion condemning the decision to send 21,500 additional US troops to Baghdad.
The operation splits the city into nine districts, with a detachment of 600 US troops assigned to each district to support thousands of Iraqi soldiers. In recognition of Baghdad’s division between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, two Iraqi generals will oversee operations on either side of the Tigris River.
A US adviser to the Iraqi army, Colonel Doug Heckman, said the military would mount a visible troop presence unparalleled since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. “It’s going to be an operation unlike anything this city has seen,” Colonel Heckman said.