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BAGHDAD — Iraqi soldiers took control of the last bastions of the cleric Moktada al-Sadr’s militia in Basra on Saturday, and Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad strongly endorsed the Iraqi government’s monthlong military operation against the fighters.Nice to see that in the New York Times. (Hat tips to Tigerhawk and Instapundit) And how kind of Iran's ambassador to "endorse" the effort - perhaps we couldn't have one without the other.
By Saturday evening, Basra was calm, but only after air and artillery strikes by American and British forces cleared the way for Iraqi troops to move into the Hayaniya district and other remaining Mahdi Army militia strongholds and begin house-to house searches, Iraqi officials said.
But on that "only after air and artillery strikes by American and British forces" bit - that's true. Just like American troops, our Iraqi allies benefit from topcover.
Long before he became Barack Obama's campaign
manager (correction: "co-chair" or "defense advisor", depending on your source) former USAF Chief of Staff General Merrill ("Tony") McPeak explained the concept in the Washington Post:
For all but the resolutely sightless, it is now obvious that air combat determines the outcome in modern war. In the early hours of March 20, the salvo aimed at [Saddam Hussein] himself was preceded by nearly a month of air attacks in and around Baghdad -- to say nothing of a decade or so of bombing in connection with enforcing the no-fly zones. <...> Because of this aerial preparation, Iraq's air defenses stayed mostly silent and our aircraft were able to begin reducing opposing ground forces immediately. Army and Marine Corps formations, judged by "experts" to be much too small for the job, captured Baghdad in just 22 days, and with comparatively light casualties. Not only did coalition air power systematically disorganize Iraq's ground forces, it did so at small cost.Now I give a lot more credit to the ground forces than General (ret.) McPeak might care to, but I do know that they appreciate the sound of jet noise overhead.
And for those who are eager to provide that capability to the Iraqi Air Force - well, let's not rush into that, okay?
They do have limited airlift capability, though, (I was there when they got their first C-130, by the way) and reports I've heard indicate that they did use their own assets to transport troops to Basra. Good on 'em.
Thanks for pointing out the NYT story--encouraging story and encouraging placement.
Regarding the Iraqi AF, BillT over at thedonovan.com is reporting on his experciences as U.S.-contracted instructor for the Iraqi AF.Posted by FbL at April 20, 2008 07:14 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(1) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)