General says quelling violence in Baghdad takes precedence

General says quelling violence in Baghdad takes precedence
September 15th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: General says quelling violence in Baghdad takes precedence

General says quelling violence in Baghdad takes precedence
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 15 September 2006

WASHINGTON_U.S. troops were shifted from Iraq's al-Anbar province, where the
insurgency is still strong, to Baghdad because quelling sectarian violence
in the capital is a higher priority, a senior U.S. commander said Friday.

"The main effort is Baghdad, and we must ensure that we weight the main
effort," said Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, using military terminology for
drawing on available troops elsewhere in order to bolster the military
effort in Baghdad.

Chiarelli, who is responsible for U.S. military operations throughout the
country, said he may see al-Anbar through "a different lens" than even the
U.S. commander in charge of the province.

In addition to extending the combat tour of the Army's 172nd Stryker Brigade
and sending it from northern Iraq to Baghdad, a smaller unit was moved this
summer from near Rawah, in al-Anbar province, to the capital. The 172nd was
replaced by another Stryker brigade in the north, but the unit in Rawah was

Chiarelli said Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is
"totally focused on ensuring that we keep what we need in Baghdad to do the
job that we need to have done." He added that he believes that efforts to
stabilize al-Anbar, which stretches west from Baghdad to the Syrian and
Jordanian borders, are "moving in the right direction."

"The forces that were taken out of al-Anbar and moved to support the Baghdad
security plan were part of the process that I talked about, of winning the
main effort," he said, adding that they were moved from a location that is
"nowhere near any of the locations that you would commonly look at for
increased violence in al-Anbar."

In a Sept. 1 report to Congress on conditions in Iraq, the Pentagon said
that from May 20, when the new Iraqi government was seated, through Aug. 6
there was an average of more than 30 attacks a day in al-Anbar _ more than
any other province in the country and slightly more than in Baghdad.

Of the approximately 147,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, about 30,000 are in

Chiarelli also said he agrees with the central conclusions of a recent
intelligence assessment by the top Marine intelligence officer in al-Anbar,
Col. Pete Devlin, who wrote that more economic and political progress must
be made to break what amounts to a military stalemate with the Sunni
Arab-led insurgency there.

Chiarelli called on the Iraqi national government to do more to improve
economic conditions in al-Anbar.

"Commitments have been made out in al-Anbar; I hope that those commitments
come through and come through sooner rather than later," he said. "And when
they do they will go a long way to our combined goal of winning in

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