Urban Warfare For Dummies

The New York Times is reporting that the Iraqis plan to embroil US forces in urban warfare if an attack is made. (How the New York Times knows not only our war plans but those of the enemy is beyond me…)

American intelligence officials say Iraq’s regular army forces are kept far from the capital for fear that they might be involved in a coup against Mr. Hussein. That deployment enables them to contain indigenous threats but means that they can directly contribute little to the defense of Iraq’s capital.

The army’s logistical network is also in tatters, analysts say, making it hard to quickly move troops around the country, a decided disadvantage if the army confronts fast-paced American forces. In 2000, when Mr. Hussein ordered four of his army divisions to move west toward the Syrian border, and therefore toward Israel, as a gesture of support for the Palestinians, logistical problems arose and the deployment was never carried out.

If Saddam’s army can’t move, then they can’t fight. If they can’t hold Baghdad, then Saddam is essentially screwed. All we have to do is take out the air defenses as we did before, and start dropping in the troops. The civilian population isn’t going to fight for Saddam – he’s too paranoid to allow the average civilian the tools to fight for fear of coup attempts anyhow. I’d fully expect that once the MREs and medical supplies start dropping in, the Iraqi people aren’t going to give a fig about what happens to Saddam.

As for the other cities, the Iraqi army will likely do as it did during Desert Storm: run like hell. They’re not going to pull a Stalingrad, and even if they tried, we have the technology and the training to go in to an urban environment. The Army has been working on modern urban combat for over a decade now. Our combination of technology and training means that our armed forces are much more effective in fighting in urban centers than they’ve ever been before. Yes, it’s still not going to be easy, but it can be done.

Pacifying Iraq may be the easy part – getting a working government in place is going to be much harder. Still, that doesn’t mean that it’s not something that is n’t worth doing.

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