I am just stealing the last half of a good post from Cernig on Op. Swarmer:

the words of Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi interim foreign minister, who said the attack had been necessary to prevent insurgents from forming a new stronghold such as they had established in Fallujah and you see how much spin Abizaid is attempting.

1500 troops, 200 armored vehicles, 50 aircraft. That’s no small effort. Then add in the method – helicopter assault. They may have been training Iraqi airborne troops (unlikely, the Iraqis don’t have enough helicopters of their own to make it worthwhile) or maybe trying to increase the element of surprise – but for 40 years the major reason the U.S, has used helicopter insertion has been that the roads have become too dangerous to use.

So here’s the scenario – an almost Fallujah-like concentration of insurgency forces which requires half a brigade to subdue. An area that cannot be approached by road without taking serious casualties from IED’s and ambushes and tipping of the targets because locals are so much on their side.

It’s been three years. This kind of situation shouldn’t be happening any more by any rational standard of “success” in fighting an insurgency. To still be holding operations like this now is a definition of “lost”.

As I noted yesterday at my place, the US has tried handing over security to Iraqi forces loyal to the Baghdad government three times already, most recently in the late November-January period. Right now if the US is launching a brigade led assault to the Samarra suburbs, there is most likely someone in CentCom drawing up plans and praying that the 4th time is a charm.

The other thing to note is how much this operation directly contradicts any attempt to win hearts and minds by thoroughly engaging with the locals and working in squad to platoon size groups as the primary operational level. This is a major brigade size surge effort, and we don’t see those that often. The most recent was the 3rd ACR going into Tal Afar. This is a big unit maneuver that is inconsistent with oil spot counterinsurgency.

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