US to Seal, Gate Baghdad Districts

Using a controversial tactic that had already failed in Vietnam, Algeria and the Palestinian territories, the US plans to seal off 30 of Baghdad's 89 districts with barricades, allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.

US to Seal, Gate Baghdad Districts

Using a controversial tactic that had already failed in Vietnam, Algeria and the Palestinian territories, the US plans to seal off 30 of Baghdad's 89 districts with barricades, allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter, Britain's The Independent has learnt.

"The initial emphasis of the new American plan will be placed on securing Baghdad market places and predominantly Shia Muslim areas," Robert Fisk wrote on Wednesday, April 11.

"Arrests of men of military age will be substantial."

Under the plan, American troops would enclose whole neighborhoods of Baghdad with barricades and joint US-Iraqi "support bases" will be established in nine of the 30 districts to be "gated" off.

The joint troops would supposedly clear militias from civilian streets before walling them off and only occupants with newly issued ID cards would be allowed in these "gated communities".

Fisk said there would be pass systems, "visitor" registration and restrictions on the movement outside the "gated communities".

"Civilians may find themselves inside a 'controlled population' prison."

The plan, the brainchild of General US commander in Iraq David Petraeus, was hatched during a six-month command and staff course at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas attended by army generals serving in Iraq, top officers from the Marine Corps and at least four senior Israeli officers.

Despite the deployment of additional 15,000 US troops and a massive military crackdown on Baghdad, more Iraqi civilians and American soldiers lost their lives in March.

Four Iraqi soldiers were killed and 16 US troops wounded on Tuesday, April 10,in one of the fiercest gunfights since the launch of the Baghdad security crackdown on February 14.

The International Committee of the Red Cross insisted Wednesday that the much-vaulted operation had still not managed to stabilize the lives of civilians.

Doomed

Fisk said the controversial "gated communities" plan has spectacularly failed when used the French occupation forces against Algerian resistance group, by American in Vietnam and by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In 2005, US forces built an eight-foot "berm" around the town of Tal Afar, close to the Syrian border, to prevent the movement of alleged gunmen and weapons.

Though US President George W. Bush insisted in 2006 that "Tall Afar gives me confidence in our strategy" the city has since fallen back into the control of Iraqi resistance fighters.

A former US officer in Vietnam with a deep knowledge of the new plan is skeptical of the possible results.

"These people (Iraqis) really have no choice. They are trying to save their families from starvation and reprisal," he told The Independent.

"At one time they may have believed in a unified Iraq. At one time they may have been secular. But the violence and brutality that started with the American invasion has burnt those liberal ideas out of people."

Another former senior US officer was equally pessimistic about the "gated" neighborhood plan.

He said "insurrectionists" will cut the lines of communication inside Baghdad, forcing more use of helicopters.

"The helicopters will be vulnerable coming into the patrol bases, and the enemy will destroy as many as they can," he told The Independent.

He said they will also try to destroy one of the patrol bases, using insiders within the "gated communities".

"The American reaction will be to use massive firepower, which will destroy the neighborhood that is being 'protected'."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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