Methods that proved successful in the past to pressure our NATO allies into abandoning Iraq will now be applied again to get them to abandon Afghanistan. At home the Democrats show their support for the troops in crafted bills dubbed “slow bleed”. The Surge has been successful in that Baghdad is becoming safer while Sadr’s Mahdi army stands down and the Sunni insurgents leave Baghdad for safer regions, especially Diyala. Diyala province is right in the middle of Iran’s pipeline to Al Qaeda. Local Sheiks are banding together to fight the increased Al Qaeda presence in Diyala similar to the way the tribal leaders in Anbar have. Surge forces yet to deploy may go to Diyala.
The plan was to set up 35 to 40 Joint Security Stations (JSS) throughout Baghdad. A Joint Security Station is a joint command post that establishes a permanent presence in the local neighborhoods. We will no longer be playing “whack a mole”, secure an area only to have the mole pop up somewhere else. We are now taking a more aggressive secure and hold strategy. Every JSS is ground no longer friendly to the moles. For example the Zafaraniyah Joint Security Station in the Security District Karadah:
Located just down the street from the Zafaraniyah Government Center, where a neighborhood council meets once a week and locals stream in and out to talk to their community’s leaders, the JSS is a place where American and Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi police can live and work together among the people they serve.
Capt. Dave Eastburn, commander of B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, spends two 24-hour periods at the joint security station every week. There are always at least two platoons of 2-17 soldiers, as well as other U.S. troops involved in training Iraqi forces, at the station at any time.
“When we got here, it was a lot more hostile,” he said, citing the deeply rooted presence of insurgents. “The estimated participation in [the Jaysh Al Mahdi militia] was probably 90 percent. They had a stronghold on gas stations, the police, some of the national police. Pretty much everybody was affected in some way, shape or form.”
His soldiers and their counterparts from 1st Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, have been able to improve the security in the area by maintaining a constant presence in the neighborhood, Eastburn said.
“Once the people started seeing they could trust us, the information started to flow,” he said. “The situation is extremely manageable now. We have days when we have a found IED or small-arms fire that you hear. The difference now is the Iraqi army and Iraqi police tell us they found the IED before it went off.”23 JSS are up and running and have been so successful that the plan now calls for up to 70 JSS. A JSS is established in Sadr City:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Faded graffiti on the rooftop of the Al Jezaaer Police Station in Sadr City is one of the only reminders that three years ago, coalition forces occupied the building and stood poised to take the entire area by force.
Now they are back. But this time, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, of the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C. come at the invitation of the mayor and other key leaders of the densely-packed Shiite district, and with the full backing of the Iraqi government. They come in partnership with the Iraqi Army and Iraqi police.
This time, they have come to stay