To comment on the planned security plan to be implemented shortly requires extensive treatment. I have been writing a lot of drafts but it requires a lot of time that I don’t have at the moment. So very briefly I would like to stress few points that I consider important and urgent amongst other things.
I have always been convinced that one of the best ways to benefit from the Americans and the MNF is the technical aid that they can bring into the equation. Our friend Richard has, on several occasions, presented concrete proposals and technical ideas that seem to me very worthy and serious information.
What is needed, in my opinion, is not just military action with guns and planes, but most of all a kind of informatics and technical blitz.
1- To combat the weapon of the car bomb – identification and careful control of all vehicles, and explosive remote detection technology.
2- To combat the individual terrorist – high tech and biometric identification and control of the population inside Baghdad to start with. This includes the “inventorying idea” that I proposed long ago.
3- To combat terrorists disguising as police, army and even lately as American forces; which is a very serious problem:
a- High tech. identification technology for genuine members of the security forces.
b- A special highly reliable and special secret service, whose task is to monitor and vet members of the security forces themselves; including mobile inspection teams to intensively check on forces deployed on the ground, and inspect military and police check points regularly to discover fake ones.
c- Mobile and rapid reaction forces, preferably air born to intervene and respond to guerilla attacks.
d- Improved communication and reporting of incidents, leading to rapid reaction and tracking of culprits. The forces on the ground should be held responsible for failures and severely accountable.
4- Lock down of the city of Baghdad at carefully studied points. The question as to where Baghdad boundaries actually are, is a crucial matter and requires very careful strategic consideration. For instance, should Abu Graib, be within or outside the protected periphery? This hotbed area is one of the havens of terrorism and the source of much of the action that afflicts central Baghdad. Likewise are the areas nearer to the center in West Baghdad. The objective is to work towards the goal of “Green Zone Baghdad” that I have proposed long time ago.
5- Recognition of the main threat and avoidance of engaging in secondary efforts that can only distract from the main objectives and open up unnecessary fronts that only serve to increase the risk to the troops and divert their attention. This point, I mention specifically concerning Shiite areas and the so-called Sadrists. These are not the main threat, and could be dealt with politically. Of course they must be controlled, but I believe the task is more political and social than military there.
6- Respect of the lives and property of ordinary citizen, and adoption of the principle of courteous and respectful approach to searches and information gathering. Avoid breaking of furniture and the various acts of vandalism, not to mention downright theft, that have been so common.
7- To distinguish community and tribal leaders in each area and convoke them before embarking on action in any neighborhood. Saddam was very effective using this method, holding these leaders responsible for what happens in their communities, recompensing them generously when cooperative otherwise punishing them severely when things go wrong.
8- Recognition that there are virtually closed neighborhoods completely under “insurgent” control (the Sods) where they can rig their car bombs, suicide men, I.E.D’s etc. etc. with complete impunity, especially after the thorough ethnic and sectarian cleansing that is almost completed by now. These areas comprise many parts of West Baghdad, Adhamiya, and in the entirety of the farmland belt around Baghdad etc. Unless there is preparedness and determination to go into these areas clean them and hold them, there is little chance of success.
These are just a few points purely on the military technical side, which does not mean that we underestimate the other more important political, sociological and economic factors, but these require volumes of research which is not within my capability at the present. But still the points above are of urgency in the immediate short term.
I throw the subject to full debate, hoping to learn more from the comments of my friends.