Brigade's Return Launches Drawdown Of U.S. Troops




 
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Brigade's Return Launches Drawdown Of U.S. Troops
 
October 17th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Brigade's Return Launches Drawdown Of U.S. Troops


Brigade's Return Launches Drawdown Of U.S. Troops
Miami Herald
October 17, 2007 When the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division returns in December to the United States, the number of Army ground combat brigades in Iraq will fall from 20 to 19.
By Robert Burns, Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- Commanders in Iraq have decided to begin the drawdown of U.S. forces in volatile Diyala province, marking a turning point in the U.S. military mission, The Associated Press has learned.
Instead of replacing the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, which is returning to its home base at Fort Hood, Texas, in December, soldiers from another brigade in Salahuddin province next door will expand into Diyala, thereby broadening its area of responsibility, several officials said Tuesday.
In this way, the number of Army ground combat brigades in Iraq will fall from 20 to 19. This reflects President Bush's bid to begin reducing the American military force and shifting its role away from fighting the insurgency toward more support functions like training and advising Iraqi security forces.
The December move, which has not yet been announced by the Pentagon, was described to the AP by Col. Stephen Twitty, commander of the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry, in a telephone interview Tuesday. It was confirmed by three other officials in Iraq, including Lt. Col. Michael Donnelly, chief spokesman for the commanding general of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon.
The idea is to avoid vacating a contested area, like Diyala, which is northeast of Baghdad, while beginning Bush's announced reduction of at least 21,500 troops, of which 17,000 were sent to the Baghdad area last spring.
The shift in Diyala in December could be a model for reductions next year, with a redrawing of the U.S. lines of responsibility so that a departing brigade has its battle space consumed by a remaining brigade. At the same time, Iraqi security forces would assume greater responsibility.
In Baghdad, an explosives-laden sewage truck blew up Tuesday near a police station and a car bomb struck an Iraqi army checkpoint -- attacks that bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda and showed that extremists can still hit hard despite recent gains by U.S.-led forces.
A U.S. military spokesman said the terror network is on the run in some areas but it ``obviously remains very lethal.''
The bombings and a series of shootings on Tuesday mainly targeted Iraqi security forces and tribal leaders facing internal rivalries but, as usual, bystanders also were struck as at least 25 people were killed.
 


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