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May 26, 2005
Baghdad Sweep Coming

The London Telegraph reports this morning that Iraqis intend on conducting a major military sweep of Baghdad to combat the bloody series of bombings that have left hundreds of civilians and police dead. More than 40,000 Iraqi security troops will take part in this new operation, making it by far the most extensive military event in the nascent democracy's life:

More than 40,000 Iraqi troops are to be deployed in Baghdad to hunt down insurgents and their weapons, Iraq's defence minister has announced.

Sadoun al-Dulaimi said the force would include troops from the interior and defence ministries and would be by far the largest anti-insurgent operation carried out in Baghdad by Iraqi security forces.

He said: "We will divide Baghdad into seven main areas, and the number of the forces who will take part in the operation from the interior and the defence ministry will be more than 40,000 security men.

"We will also impose a concrete blockade around Baghdad, like a bracelet around an arm, God willing, and God be with us in our crackdown on the terrorists' infrastructure. "No one will be able to penetrate this blockade. You will witness unprecedentedly strict security measures."

Most significantly, no mention has been made of involvement by American troops. The Iraqis intend on securing Baghdad themselves, a good political choice and one that will underscore the nature of the insurgency as anti-democratic rather than anti-American. Undoubtedly, Americans will offer logistical support, and tactical support if needed, but the Iraqis have put themselves in command.

The number of troops being ordered into this operation must come as a surprise to Joe Biden and the New York Times. After all, it was just four months ago that they both argued that Iraq only had 4,000 or so fully-trained security personnel. Has American training improved so much that they have increased that number tenfold in 120 days? Or could it be that Condoleezza Rice knew what she was talking about during her confirmation hearings, and that Biden and the Paper of Record were only interested in spewing misinformation and derision rather than debating honestly?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 26, 2005 7:32 AM

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