“Operation Steel Curtain”

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"American and Iraqi forces launched a major offensive Saturday near the porous Syrian border aimed at destroying al-Qaida in Al-Qa’ida Iraq’s ability to smuggle foreign fighters, money and equipment through the region. "  AP

"The offensive in the town of Husaybah of about 2,500 U.S. forces and 1,000 Iraqis — including local forces acting as scouts — will remove insurgents from the western province of Anbar ahead of Iraq’s parliamentary election on Dec. 15, the U.S. military said."  AP
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The strategy the US is following in Iraq has evolved into a two "pronged" approach:
1- Build the Iraqi forces and with them conduct "Clear and Hold" operations in which US forces root out overt insurgent activities and presence from towns in the Sunni parts of the country.  That is what Tel Afar was about, and that is what the whole series of operations in the Euphrates agricultural corridor has been about.  This operation at Husaybah is more of the same.  Husaybah is a dusty little place inhabited by 30,000 sedentarized cousins of the Shammar and Rwallah Beduin tribesmen who migrate through this part of the North Syrian Desert each group in its ancestral "dirah." The numbers involved are instructive.  We are told that there are abut 3,000 US troops and a thousand Iraqis.  The "Iraqi" troops are largely Kurdish veterans of the "Pes Merga."  Our people will clear the town and the Iraqis will hold it?  I hope so because the ability of the Iraqis to do that is critical to the outcome of the war.
2- Re-construct Iraq in a "nation building" process that is two years late.  I am told that Ambassador Zalmai Khalilzad is increasingly in charge in that area of the struggle.  He is working on fielding what are called "Province Reconstruction Teams" (PRT) to provide multi-aspect civil/military advisory teams in the field to "re-construct" Iraqi society.  Good luck Zal!  A noble endeavor and I wish you well in it.  Too bad the deluded did not allow such an approach going in.  It’s late now.
If you listen to Wilkerson’s interview with Ray Suarez on the Newshour you will hear him say that the Jacobin neocon approach to post war Iraq was to plan to have Jay Garner’s group take charge just long enough to hand the country over to Chalabi and then leave and to have all US troops out of there shortly thereafter.  We really let these neocon nitwits run the country?  Chalabi had no support then and has little now except for his Jacobin neocon buddies in Washington who are still working on putting him in power.  Iraq would have collapsed in anarchy and chaos then and would now if he were in charge.
Pat Lang 
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