US and British Troops Hover Close by in Baghdad and Basra

Iraqi generals have been granted exceptional powers in their district jurisdictions as part of their proactive role in the US-Iraqi security push to cleanse Baghdad of violent elements.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources report that the Iraqi capital has been divided into two sections – Rusafa in the north and Karkh in the south. Both names were used in the time of Saddam Hussein.

Gen. Abdullah Hamis, a veteran Iraqi army officer, has been named supreme commander of Rusafa. His deputy is Gen. Abdel Karim al-Azzi, a police officer.

Rusafa has been sectioned off into 5 districts, each with its own commander:

Sadr City (Shiite) – Gen. Abdel Ali Karim

Khalij (New Baghdad) – Gen. Omar Qassad

KadhimiyaCol. Samir Abdel Karim

KardraCol. Abdullah Habib

RusafaAbdullah Abdel Karim


Gen. Abbas Hiyadri, a member of the Iraqi police force, is supreme commander of the southern Karkh section. His deputy is Gen. Amir Rashid, the only high-ranking Kurdish officer taking part in the Baghdad operation.

Karkh’s five sections are –

QadisiyaCol. Falah Kombar

MansurCol. Rassen Kajem

KarkhCol. Baha Yassin

DoraGen. Razuan Sharif

RashidGen. Mohsein Bahdili


All these commanders are familiar with their districts and acquainted with the American officers with whom they are to work. They know to which American command to turn for help or reinforcements. In addition to the military sweep of militias and terrorist elements, they are also responsible for maintaining normal public services in their districts, such as medical care, water and food provisions, schools and religious institutions.

This format is also the key to interpreting British premier Tony Blair’s announcement in parliament Wednesday, Feb. 21, about the withdrawal of 1,600 troops from the southern city of Basra, Iraq’s second largest city.


Blair uses British pullback from Iraq as grist for his legacy


His statement should not be taken at face value.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Washington and Baghdad sources disclose that it was phrased carefully to convey the impression that the UK was beginning to wind down its military presence in Iraq in the coming months. The White House approved the wording which was also endorsed by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki – but only as a gesture to the British premier.

Blair has been under heavy fire for miring the British army in the four-year war in Iraq. Now, in the final weeks of his third term as prime minister, Blair cast about for an image-lift to enhance his legacy. In actual fact, most of the 1,600 troops left Iraq some months ago to join the NATO force fighting in Afghanistan. The rest were redeployed out of Basra to other parts of Iraq and the Gulf. That still leaves more than 5,500 British troops in Iraq.

The process Basra is undergoing mirrors the sectioning-off of Baghdad.

Command of the various districts is being transferred to Iraqi officers who are at liberty to call for help on the thousands of British troops still present in the country. Each transfer enables a British contingent to redeploy outside Basra.

The security of southern Iraq’s oil fields, pipelines, terminals and military supply routes is in the charge of the USS Boxer Strike Force, which is also responsible for safe passage through the Shatt al-Arb outlet to the Persian Gulf. This waterway is split between the oil regions of Iraq and Iran.

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