RealNews

Army Used Speed and Might, Plus Cash, Against Shiite Rebel

In April, as festering resistance exploded into full-fledged rebellion, soldiers of the First Armored Division were given their final mission in Iraq: to wrest control of a string of southern towns from a radical Shiite militia intent on disrupting the scheduled transfer of sovereignty on June 30. These American soldiers, some of whom had already left Iraq and others just short of leaving after a year in combat, would instead spend nearly three months in one of the most significant campaigns of the war. The division’s operation against the militia of Moktada al-Sadr, a rebellious Shiite cleric, is already being studied by an Army struggling to learn the lessons of a war that continues to evolve even as the formal occupation of Iraq changes gears next week. As described by top commanders in Iraq and senior policy makers in Washington, the campaign was a mix of military tactics, political maneuverings, media management and a generous dollop of cash for quickly rebuilding war-ravaged cities — a formula that, if it survives the test of time, could become a model for future fighting against the persistent insurrections plaguing Iraq. Full Story

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