Operation Together Forward

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Operation Together Forward
Part of the Iraq War
Date 14 June 2006 – 24 October 2006
Location Baghdad, Iraq
Result Insurgent victory
(Coalition operations are unsuccessful in securing Baghdad)
Belligerents
United States United States Army
Flag of Iraq.svg New Iraqi Army
Mujahideen Shura Council (incl. AQI)
al-Mahdi Army
Commanders and leaders
United States Gen. George Casey Ayyub al-Masri
Muqtada al-Sadr
Strength
15,000 unknown
Casualties and losses
101 killed
1 captured (U.S.);
197 killed (Iraqi security forces)
Several hundred killed or captured

Operation Together Forward, also known as Forward Together (in Arabic, Amaliya Ma’an ila Al-Amam), was an unsuccessful security plan in Iraq to significantly reduce the violence in Baghdad which had seen a sharp uprise since the mid-February 2006 bombing of the Askariya Mosque, a major Shiite Muslim shrine, in Samarra.

The plan was announced on 14 June 2006 by the then-recently installed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and intended to increase security conditions in Baghdad through instituting major new measures. Operation Together Forward was planned as an operation to be led primarily by Iraqis but with Coalition support and would put about 70,000 security forces on the streets of Baghdad.

The major provisions of the operation included a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., increased checkpoints and patrols, and further restrictions on carrying weapons. Additionally, Iraqi and Coalition troops would raid terrorist cells and attempt to disrupt insurgent activities through active missions against suspected insurgent locations.

However, although highly touted at the time of its introduction, the plan failed to increase security in the capital as the high level of violence continued with a spate of major bombings (at least four such attacks with 40+ deaths each occurred in a one week period) and sectarian killings throughout June and July.

Timeline[edit]

On 24 July 2006, it was announced that Prime Minister Maliki was heading to Washington, D.C. for talks about the security situation with President George W. Bush. The White House also publicly admitted for the first time that the Operation had been a failure, and that a new security strategy for Baghdad would be designed.

On 1 August it was announced that the U.S. would redeploy 3,700 troops, mainly the 172nd Infantry Brigade, from Mosul to Baghdad to bolster security in the capital. On the same day, 70 Iraqis (including 20 soldiers) were killed in Baghdad violence and bombings.

In October, Gen. William Caldwell said: "Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence."[1]

Baghdad attacks were said to have escalated by 22% over the beginning of the operation.

During the operation the number of sectarian killings throughout the capital were at an all time high. Each month during the operation between 1,300 and 2,000 civilians were killed. Attacks on American units in the city were happening each day. Members of the al-Mahdi Army conducted sniper attacks on American foot patrols, while Sunni insurgents attacked American convoys with roadside bombs. Some 81 American soldiers were killed during the operation in fighting in the capital along with almost 200 members of the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police. Also 20 American soldiers were killed in the fighting in the town of Taji, just 20 kilometers north of Baghdad. One American soldier was captured in Baghdad a day before the operation ended. An unknown number of Iraqi insurgents were killed or captured but it was probably several hundred. The U.N. reported that 14,000 civilians were killed in the whole of Iraq during the battle.

On 23 October the White House announced that it would be reviewing its overall Iraq security strategy as the unrelenting violence the country continued and the U.S. military death toll for October became the highest of 2006. The operation ended the next day.[2]

On 23 November a massive, coordinated car bomb and mortar attack in the Sadr City section of Baghdad killed 215 people and wounded a further 250.

On 12 December, a suicide car bomber targeting laborers killed 60 people in Baghdad and wounded 220 others. The truck driver signaled to the would-be workers that he had jobs—prompting people to crowd around the pickup before he detonated his bomb. This scenario has been used dozens of times in Iraq to inflict maximum casualties, yet Iraqis continue to look for work in this manner - despite the obvious risk - due to the poor economic situation in the country.

The Iraq Study Group, in its December 2006 report [3] cited Operation Together Forward II (i.e. the second phase of the Operation), writing:

In a major effort to quell the violence in Iraq, U.S. military forces joined with Iraqi forces to establish security in Baghdad with an operation called Operation Together Forward II, which began in August 2006. Under Operation Together Forward II, U.S. forces are working with members of the Iraqi Army and police to “clear, hold, and build” in Baghdad, moving neighborhood by neighborhood. There are roughly 15,000 U.S. troops in Baghdad. This operation—and the security of Baghdad—is crucial to security in Iraq more generally... The results of Operation Together Forward II are disheartening. Violence in Baghdad—already at high levels—jumped more than 43 percent between the summer and October 2006. U.S. forces continue to suffer high casualties.

On 22 January 2007, a suicide car bomber crashed into a market in the central neighborhood of Bab al-Sharqi, killing 88 people. This attack highlighted the complete inability of the United States or the Iraqi government to stop large-scale bombings in Baghdad more than six months after Operation Together Forward was announced.

Operation Fardh al-Qanoon[edit]

In February 2007, a new security operation was launched throughout Baghdad. The city was divided into 9 security zones which were cleared by US and Iraqi forces. Joint Security Stations were established following the securing of each sector to enable reconstruction work to begin in safety. As a result of this operation, made possible following a "surge" in US troop levels, large portions of the city came under Coalition control.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]