Operation Together Forward
(July 9 - August 6, 2006)
On June 14 Prime Minister Maliki announced a plan to increase security conditions in Baghdad through instituting major new measures. This plan was executed in response to the increased sectarian violence in the wake of the February 22 bombing of Samarra's Golden Mosque, a Shiite religious shrine. Operation Together Forward was planned as an operation to be led primarily by Iraqis but with Coalition support.
The major provisions of the operation include a curfew from 9pm to 6am, increased checkpoints and patrols, and further restrictions on carrying weapons. Additionally, Iraqi and Coalition troops will raid terrorist cells and attempt to disrupt insurgent activities through active missions against suspected insurgent locations.
The operation designated Phase 1 as beginning of July 9. During this phase, MND-B soldiers supported by Iraqi Security Forces killed or captured 411 suspected insurgents, conducted 32,300 combat patrols, and seized at least 43 weapons and ammunition caches.
(August 7 - ?)
On August 7, MND-B soldiers and Iraqi Security Forces launched Phase II of Operation Together Forward in order to further increase security and reduce violence in and around Baghdad. The goal of Phase II was to capitilize on "gains" made during Phase I and give Iraqi forces the chance to operate with more autonomy than previously. In support of Phase 2, 6,000 additional Iraqi forces were to be sent to Baghdad as well as about 3,500 soldiers of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The 172nd SBCT had its tour extended for up to four months beginning July 27, primarily to assist with this operation. In total, the Iraqi government was to send six additional battalions in support of Phase II. However, as of January 2007, only two Iraqi battalions had been deployed in the operation. The insufficient number of Iraqi and Coalition forces is pointed to as a reason for Operation Together Forward's lack of success. They are able to "clear" certain areas of resistance, but are unable to keep insurgents and militia members from funneling back in.
After the February 2006 Al-Askariya Mosque bombing and the subsequent increase in sectarian violence, militia and death squad activity surged. This created a more complicated and violent situation for Coalition Forces in Baghdad. Prior to the Al-Askariya Mosque bombing, the majority of violence in Baghdad stemmed from Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein loyalists.
Phase II of Operation Together Forward is still underway as of 15 January 2007.
As of November 20 2007, Operation Together Forward - planned to provide security for the neighborhoods in Baghdad - will continue. Patrolling continues in some neighborhoods, he said, with roughly 95,000 buildings searched, 282 persons detained and 1,900 weapons seized.