20 November 2003
U.S. General Says Intelligence is Key to Baghdad Military Operations
Defense Department Report, November 20: Iraq Security
The commander of the U.S. First Armored Division in Iraq says
that the primary enemy in Baghdad continues to be former regime
loyalists and that ongoing fighting in the capital is focused on
routing them out of specific neighborhoods.
Speaking via video teleconference from Iraq's capital, Army Major
General Martin Dempsey told reporters in Baghdad and Washington
November 20 that his forces are trying to determine who the enemy
is and how he operates.
Dempsey said the recent use of attack helicopters, fighter aircraft,
and gunships to target fixed and mobile targets does not represent
a change of tactics or a particular show of military force. Instead,
he said, his goal is to let the enemy know "that although I'm on
his home turf, he is not going to use that to his advantage."
Dempsey said it is difficult to make a definitive connection between
recent suicide bombers and former regime loyalists, but he said "when
they decide they're going to commit a sensational attack, one in
which they're going to try to grab the headlines and one in which
they're going to try to discredit our progress, because we're making
enormous progress ... I think they go outside (Iraq) to get a volunteer,
a jihadist ... a foreigner to come in and drive the car."
The commander of military operations provided some details about "Operation
Iron Hammer," which has been under way for several weeks. It is
a joint military operation involving the U.S. Army and Air Force
as well as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and Iraqi police. Its
purpose is to disrupt organized cells of resistance forces in the
few neighborhoods that are still not secure.
The resistance cells have been carrying out hit-and-run attacks,
primarily using mortars and rockets, Dempsey said. An effort to
break up the cells and gain additional intelligence from cell members
is "a work in progress," he said.
The joint military operation has resulted in the capture of armed
bombs and fake passports, he said. Dempsey also reported the capture
of leaders of a cell thought to be tied to the recent rocket attack
against the al-Rashid Hotel during a visit by Deputy Secretary
of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
When asked what he is doing to win the hearts and minds of the
general population, Dempsey replied that he is trying to win the
trust and confidence of the locals and provide the safe and secure
environment that is needed for normalcy.
Asked why an empty, looted Iraqi die factory was struck twice
by coalition forces, Dempsey answered: "I want to make sure the
enemy knows ... there is no sanctuary in