Commanders say push in Baghdad is short of goal
By David S. Cloud and Damien Cave
Published: June 4, 2007
BAGHDAD: Three months after the start of the Baghdad security plan that has added thousands of American and Iraqi troops to the capital, they control fewer than one-third of the city’s neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment.
The American assessment, completed in late May, found that American and Iraqi forces were able to “protect the population” and “maintain physical influence over” only 146 of the 457 Baghdad neighborhoods.
In the remaining 311 neighborhoods, troops have either not begun operations aimed at rooting out insurgents or still face “resistance,” according to the one-page assessment, which was provided to The New York Times and summarized reports from brigade and battalion commanders in Baghdad.
The assessment offers the first comprehensive look at the progress of the effort to stabilize Baghdad with the heavy influx of additional troops. The last remaining American units in the troop increase are just now arriving.
Violence has diminished in many areas, but it is especially chronic in mixed Shiite-Sunni neighborhoods in western Baghdad, several senior officers said. Over all, improvements have not yet been as widespread or lasting across Baghdad, they acknowledged.
The operation “is at a difficult point right now, to be sure,” said Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, the deputy commander of the First Cavalry Division, which has responsibility for Baghdad.
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