Read the article and watch the video below, it highlights the abject buffoonery of the Bush junta’s troop ‘surge’ plan. The Shiite Iraqi troops that are embedded with the US troops, <b>will never be fully committed to engage in a 100% Bloodlust to kill their fellow county men & women. </b> More importantly the Sunni’s have access to hundreds of millions of dollars $$$$ - and tons of weapons & explosives. Bottom line : More Death and Chaos with Americans <font color="#ff0000"><b>killed</b></font> in the middle.
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Baghdad Battle Cry: 'Who's Shooting At Us?'</font>
<font face="arial" size="2" color="#0000ff"><b>A fixed contingent of U.S. and Iraqi troops operating on Haifa Street in Baghdad to dislodge ever-present insurgents and militias.</b></font>
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January 25, 2007
by Damien Cave
In the battle for Baghdad, Haifa Street has changed hands so often that it has taken on the feel of a no man's land, the deadly space between opposing trenches.
On Wednesday, as U.S. and Iraqi troops poured in, the street showed why it is such a sensitive gauge of an urban conflict marked by front lines that melt into confusion, enemies with no clear identity and allies who disappear or do not show up at all.
In a miniature version of the troop increase that the United States hopes will secure the city, American soldiers and armored vehicles raced onto Haifa Street before dawn to dislodge Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen who have been battling for a stretch of ragged slums and mostly abandoned high rises. But as the sun rose, many of the Iraqi Army soldiers who were supposed to do the actual searches of the buildings did not arrive on time, forcing the Americans to start the job on their own.
When the Iraqi units finally did show up, it was with the air of a class outing, cheering and laughing as the Americans blew locks off doors with shotguns. As the morning wore on and the troops came under fire from all directions, another apparent flaw in this strategy became clear as empty apartments became lairs for gunmen who flitted from window to window and killed at least one U.S. soldier.
Whether the gunfire was coming from Sunni or Shiite insurgents or militia fighters or some of the Iraqi soldiers who had disappeared into the Gotham- like cityscape, no one could say.
"Who the hell is shooting at us?" shouted Sergeant 1st Class Marc Biletski, whose platoon was jammed into a small room off an alley that was being swept by a sniper's bullets. "Who's shooting at us? Do we know who they are?"
Just before the platoon tossed smoke bombs and sprinted through the alley to a more secure position, Biletski had a moment to reflect on this spot, which the U.S. Army has now fought to regain from a mysterious enemy at least three times in the past two years. "This place is a failure," he said. "Every time we come here, we have to come back."
He paused, then said, "Well, maybe not a total failure," since American troops have smashed opposition on Haifa Street each time they have come in. With that, Biletski ran through the yellow smoke and took up a new position.
The Haifa Street operation, involving Bradley Fighting Vehicles and highly mobile Stryker vehicles, will probably cause plenty of reflection by the commanders in charge of the Baghdad "surge" of more than 20,000 troops.
Just how those extra troops will be used is not yet known, but it will probably mirror at least broadly the Haifa Street strategy of working with Iraqi forces to take on groups from both sides of the Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide.
Lieutenant Colonel Avanulas Smiley of the 3d Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2d Infantry Division, said his forces were not interested in whether opposition came from bullets fired by Sunnis or by Shiites. He conceded that the cost of letting the Iraqi forces learn on the job was to add to the risk involved in the operation.
"This was an Iraqi-led effort and with that come challenges and risks," Smiley said. "It can be organized chaos."
Many of the Iraqi units that showed up late never seemed to take the task seriously, searching haphazardly, breaking dishes and rifling through personal CD collections in the apartments. Eventually the Americans realized that the Iraqis were searching no more than half of the apartments; at one point the Iraqis completely disappeared, leaving the U.S. unit working with them flabbergasted. "Where did they go?" yelled Sergeant Jeri Gillett. Another soldier suggested, "I say we just let them go and we do this ourselves."
Then the gunfire began. It would come from high rises across the street, from behind trash piles and sandbags in alleys and from so many other directions that the soldiers began to worry that the Iraqi soldiers were firing at them. Mortars started dropping from across the Tigris River, to the east, in the direction of a Shiite slum.
The only thing that was clear was that no one knew who the enemy was.
At one point the Americans were forced to jog alongside the Strykers on Haifa Street, sheltering themselves as best they could from the gunfire. The Americans finally found the Iraqis and ended up accompanying them into an extremely dangerous and exposed warren of low-slung hovels behind the high rises as gunfire rained down.
American officers tried to persuade the Iraqi soldiers to leave the slum area for better cover, but the Iraqis refused to risk crossing a lane that was being raked by machine gun fire.
In this surreal setting, about 20 American soldiers were forced at one point to pull themselves one by one up a canted tin roof by a dangling rubber hose and then shimmy along a ledge to another hut. The soldiers were stunned when a small child suddenly walked out of a darkened doorway and an old man started wheezing and crying somewhere inside.
Ultimately the group made it back to the high rises and escaped the sniper in the alley by throwing out the smoke bombs and sprinting to safety. Even though two Iraqis were struck by gunfire, many of the rest could not stop shouting and guffawing with amusement as they ran through the smoke.
One Iraqi soldier in the alley pointed his rifle at an American reporter and pulled the trigger. There was only a click: The weapon had no ammunition. The soldier laughed at his joke.
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