US-Armee feiert Samarra-Operation als modellhaft

--- Die US-Armee sieht ihre jüngste Operation gegen Aufständische in Samarra als beispielhaft an, berichtet die LA Times: The new model — previewed in Najaf this summer and fine-tuned in Friday's invasion of this predominantly Sunni Muslim city — comes after a string of failed U.S. efforts over the last year to quell insurgents in other hot spots, including Fallouja, Ramadi and Baghdad's Sadr City. The blueprint involves invading with a massive show of force, relying heavily on Iraqi troops, attempting to win over the local population with swift reconstruction aid and maintaining a U.S. presence after the fighting stops. The approach had mixed success in Najaf, where the Old City was heavily damaged and scores of civilians were killed in three weeks of skirmishes that ended with an uneasy treaty that left radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr free to fight another day. But military officials are quickly claiming success in Samarra, which fell in less than a day with moderate damage and relatively light casualties. U.S. officials say the Samarra approach could become the model for crushing the insurgency in other so-called no-go zones. ... "This was how an assault is supposed to be, not like what you heard about in Najaf or Fallouja," said Army Spc. Robin Johnson of Task Force 1-26, who has also fought in Afghanistan and Africa. "It was textbook. We were expecting so many more casualties." Skeptics suggest that the Samarra invasion went smoothly because many of the insurgents simply dropped their weapons and hid in houses. The U.S. estimated that at least 500 insurgents were in Samarra, far more than the number killed or captured. Others suggest that the insurgency was never that big to begin with. "If there had been a large number of insurgents in the city, the fighting would have gone on for 10 days and there would have been a lot more casualties," said Qaten Hamada, a deputy governor for Salahuddin province, in which Samarra is located. Über die "Kollateralschäden" schweigt sich der Artikel lieber aus.