Post Election Developments
The results of Iraq’s first fully independent parliamentary election are still in question. Robert Mayer is concerned about the discord over the election results. But Omar at Iraq the Model sees hope, as there are negotiations among the leaders of the major parties. The summit between “the leaders of the four major lists (Allawi, Adnan al-Dulaimi, al-Hakeem and Barzani as well as president Talabani)” is directed at creating an inclusive government that represents the makeup of the Iraqi populace. Negotiations and compromise are cornerstones to a successful democracy, and we saw this process successfully play out in the past with an agreement struck on the handling of the constitution.
As the Iraqi political parties work to address the political outcome of the election, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has announced a drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq. Two brigades, the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, and the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, totaling over 7,000 troops will not be deployed to Iraq. The 1/1 ID was scheduled to go to Balad in central Iraq, while the 2/1 AD was slated to deploy to Eastern Diyala Province. Poland, which had planned on a complete withdrawal of troops over the next several weeks, has reversed its decision and will keep a large percentage of its forces in Iraq through 2006.
The U.S. drawdown is subject to change, and is attributed to the increasing proficiency of the Iraqi Security Forces and their ability to operate independently and take ownership of their own battlespace. One example is the 8th Iraqi Army Division in the city of Diwaniyah in al-Qadissiya province, south of Baghdad. Six battalions and two brigades of the 8th Iraqi Army Division have completed certification; “This means the division will now have the ability to plan and conduct the operations with limited support of Coalition Forces,” according to the CENTCOM press release.
The insurgency has not abated despite the popularity and participation of the recent election. Coalition and Iraqi forces continue to conduct patrols and small scale operations in an attempt to reduce the effectiveness and lethality of the insurgency.
In Mosul, Coalition forces arrested “an Ansar al-Sunna of Mosul Media Emir and Administrator.” Ansar al-Sunna is a jihadi terrorist organization and an ally of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Near Tikrit, a roadside bomb planter is killed and another is wounded when their bomb detonated during emplacement. Near Kirkuk, eight Iraqi soldiers were killed and seventeen wounded after insurgents attacked their checkpoint.
Near Bayji, a resident provided a tip that uncovered what Capt. Matt Bartlett, commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment described as “basically an ammo supply point for the enemy… Any attack they wanted to do, whether an IED or small-arms, they could get what they needed here.” The find included “1,600 rockets and missiles, 283 large artillery shells, 27 anti-tank mines and 80 assault weapons were pulled from the ground along with nearly a ton of bulk explosives.” The 1/187 also conducted a raid in Muslakhah, which netted another large cache as well as suspected insurgents.
In southern Baghdad and northern Babil province, nine insurgents and were killed and sixteen suspects detained. In northeast Baghdad, a weapons cache is uncovered, which included “27 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, three 82 mm mortar rounds, 13 armor-piercing rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 28 rocket-propelled propellant chargers, 10,000 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, and 400 4.5 mm rounds.” In eastern Baghdad, a local tip uncovered a rocket launcher factory.
The much touted “rise in post election violence” is merely a resumption of the insurgency, parts of which conducted a cease fire for the election, and other parts of which had their operations interrupted by the tough security restrictions in place during the election.