Ghazaliya

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Ghazaliya (Arabic: الغزالية) is a neighborhood in the western outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq, in the city's Mansour district. To the north of Ghazaliya is the neighborhood of Al-Shu'ala, to the east is Al-Adel, to the south is Al Khadhraa, and to the west is Abu Ghraib. It is a working class neighborhood of about 100,000 residents.[1] Ghazaliya is situated around six major streets that all end at farms that formerly belonged to Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam Hussain.

Etymology[edit]

It is believed to be named after the Muslim scholar Abu Hāmed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzālī.

History[edit]

Ghazaliya was built in the mid-1980s and was home for many military officers during Saddam Hussain's rule.[1][2] It was a middle class area of mainly Sunni Muslims with some Shia,[2] Christians and others. Saddam hid here during the first Gulf War.[2]

When Sunni–Shia conflict flared in Irag following the February 2006 al-Askari Mosque bombing in Samarra, Shia militias pushed into Ghazaliya from neighboring Al-Shu'ala. Sunnis turned to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Shia families fled. Ghazaliya's mixed community split into a Sunni southern section and a Shia northern section. The US Army built concrete walls to segregate the two communities and to create a secure perimeter.[2][1]

Ghazaliya was originally patrolled by elements of the 82nd Airborne Division. From August 2005 until late June 2006 Bravo Company 1-87 IN was responsible for security of the neighborhood. It became the responsibility of 1st Battalion (STRYKER), 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, until October 2006, when they assumed responsibility for the overall Quick Reaction Force of Baghdad. Then 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment (2-12 Cav; operating under 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division) assumed responsibility for Al Ghazaliyah.

During the Baghdad security plan, C Company, 2-12 Cav built Joint Security Station (JSS) Casino to combat the Shiite influx from neighboring Al-Shu'ala.[2] Then D Company built JSS Thrasher, named after SGT Robert Thrasher who was killed by a sniper during a cordon and search mission inside Ghazaliyah. Then B Company built JSS Maverick. The combination of building the JSSs, surrounding Ghazaliya with concrete barriers, and hiring 450 local men (known the "Ghazaliya Guardians") to man the neighborhood checkpoints resulted in the pacification of Ghazaliya in June 2007.

Ghazaliyah was handed over to 1st Battalion, 75th Cavalry Regiment in November 2007. 1-75 CAV patrolled and continued pacification as well as finding and arresting high value targets within the area until December 2008 when operational responsibility was handed over to 5th Squadron 4th US Cavalry Regiment 1st ID.

The four JSSs located in Ghazaliya were then renamed "JSS Ghazaliya I, II, III, and IV" respectively. JSS Ghazaliya I was occupied by HHT 5-4 Cavalry (abbreviated CAV), JSS Ghazaliya II was occupied by HQ Platoon and 2nd Platoon, B Troop 5-4 CAV, JSS Ghazaliya III was occupied by 1st Platoon, B Troop 5-4 CAV, and JSS Ghazaliya IV was occupied by C Troop 5-4 CAV. In late November 2008, JSS Ghazaliya III was handed over to Iraqi Army and 1st Platoon B Troop joined HQ and 2nd Platoon in JSS Ghazaliya II, which was closed in late February 2009. HHT 5-4 CAV moved their operational headquarters to Camp Liberty, while B Troop assumed control of JSS Ghazaliya I for the remainder of their deployment cycle. JSS Ghazaliya IV was turned over to the Iraqi Federal Police in March 2009. B Troop 5-4 CAV continued working with Iraqi Army and Iraqi Federal Police until September 2009, when they handed over control of the area to units from 1st Cavalry Division.

During B Troop, 5-4 Cavalry's deployment cycle, they oversaw the security of Ghazaliya while working with Iraqi Security Forces. Their accomplishments included arresting all members of an insurgent group that called themselves "The 1920's Revolutionary Battalion" named after the coup that brought the Baath party into power. They also located a cache of over 300 mortar rounds, a 30-caliber automatic weapon, and a flag fashioned for the 1920s Revolutionary Battalion, with the assistance of a local farmer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McDonnell, Patrick J. (8 July 2014). "Iraq militants' advance casts shadow over Baghdad neighborhood". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Anderson, Jon Lee (19 November 2007). "Inside the surge". The New Yorker. Retrieved 15 August 2014.