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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

10/04/2004

Meanwhile, back at the Quagmire

In a stunning blow to Johnny Cambodia's campaign,
American and Iraqi forces in Samarra finished retaking the last insurgent-controlled neighborhood early Sunday, completing a relentless three-day push through this ancient city in a first step toward wresting control of important central Iraqi areas held by Sunni guerrillas.

With the city in hand, American commanders said they were beginning the second phase of the operation, turning over the city to the Iraqi police and military forces the same way they took it - one neighborhood at a time.
the new york times
The question now is whether, using this model, the US can maintain operational tempo and take Falluja.
"That's when the tide really turned, when we started firing mortars back at them," said Lt. Shawn Tabankin, who led one of the platoons moving into the city. "They were already surprised, but when we started throwing indirect fire at them, they just disappeared."

In past fights in Iraqi cities, insurgents have had time to regroup after the first assault, often buying time by initiating negotiations. But in Samarra, the guerrillas appeared to be thrown off balance by the continuing attack. Some insurgents fled and others tried, unsuccessfully, to counterattack.

The idea, Colonel Hubner said, was to panic the insurgents at the opening of the battle in an effort to scatter them. "We studied what had happened in Najaf and elsewhere very carefully, and we learned some important lessons," he said.