Enemy becoming less effective in Ramadi

Stars & Stripes:

The security situation in Ramadi, long regarded as one of Iraq’s most dangerous cities, is finally improving, the U.S. military commander who oversees coalition operations there said Friday.

In a video teleconference with Pentagon reporters from Ramadi, Army Col. Sean MacFarland, commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, noted that when he last spoke to journalists, in July, he told them “we’re at a tipping point” in the fight for Ramadi.

“Well, I think we’ve actually tipped,” MacFarland said Friday.

Attacks against U.S. and Iraqi security forces “are down by 25 percent over the past couple of months,” from 20 per day to 15, MacFarland said.

“Overall, the effectiveness of the enemy attacks has decreased somewhat,” MacFarland said. “This month, particularly, there’s been a noticeable drop-off — I’d say about a 50 percent drop-off in effectiveness.”


Insurgents, meanwhile, are less willing to face coalition forces head-on, MacFarland said.

“The enemy is shifting to a standoff, low-risk type of attack,” he said. “The number of guys running around in black ninja suits during an attack has been cut by probably two-thirds.”

In the heart of Anbar Province, Ramadi is dominated by tribal sheiks who until recently showed little interest in aligning with Iraq’s new central government.

But earlier this month, the sheiks announced they would band together to flush out insurgent forces.

That change of heart is one of the reasons “the situation [in Ramadi] is beginning to spiral in our favor,” MacFarland said.

Meanwhile, “Iraqi police recruiting has soared tenfold,” MacFarland said, and Iraqi security forces “are now assuming the lead in portions of the city and the suburbs.”

I suspect the move by the sheiks had a lot to do with the changed situation. By making it clear that the enemy would not find sanctuary with the tribes of Anbar, they made it much more difficult for the enemy to maneuver and move to attack. It could also be that many of the enemy forces have moved to Baghdad where the decesive battle appears to be in play. Ramadi can use the breather either way.


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