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Iraq Pacification Operations

Effective as of 1 September 2010, the US mission in Iraq was renamed from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn to coincide with US forces' shift to an advisory, assistance, training, and equipping role.

Military Operations continued to occur despite the end of major combat operations on 01 May 2003. Iraqi opposition forces showedsigns of organization. Continuing conflict seemed to be contained in the areas surrounding Fallujah and the Baghdad-Tikrit corridor. Attacks were opportunistic and showed signs of organization leading DoD officials to believe the attacks to be conducted by "dead enders" loyal who continue to be loyal to Saddam Hussein.

In August 2003 Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of US ground forces, decided to minimize the large military sweeps to the north and west of Baghdad. While the sweeps, conducted in June and July 2003, rounded up hundreds of Iraqis, they angered residents who complained of mistreatment, arbitrary arrests and humiliation at the hands of US soldiers.

The release of 30,000 felons in the fall of 2002 by the former regime placed a criminal element on the street that fought hard to ensure instability and take advantage of the lack of an effective security organization. Well-funded drug gangs unchecked for nearly a year were committing random murder and mayhem against US forces and the populace.

An influx of known third country nationals combined with remnants of the Saddam Fayadeen, constituted the bulk of the ambush teams that attacked convoys and individual soldiers. They used incidents at Fallujah (3 ACR in April 2003) and Baghdad (1 AD in June 2003) to incite incidents by planting instigators with AK-47s to fire on Army soldiers then let the human shields in the crowd absorb the lethal response. This response though "legally correct" under the force protection rules of engagement is depicted as "morally wrong" under the CNN spin effect that did not detail the presence of the AK-47 gunmen.

There were initially unrealistic expectations for the resumption of normal life support services and the immediate Americanization of the country on the part of the Iraqi people. This led to dissatisfaction and a lack of cooperation in combating the insurgents, as the people believed that if the US could defeat Saddam in three weeks the US should get them to a decent standard of living quickly, even with infrastructure that has been neglected for a decade.

The local police, state police, and federal law enforcement, and their various jurisdictions and strengths were unknown to Iraqis. The previous regime deconstructed the proactive police force of the 1970s and that which remained did not actively patrol or interact with the population. They were neither situationally aware of crime nor trusted by those they ostensibly protected. The police force protected the regime first and the populace second.


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