So Kurds are going to be attacking Sunnis and Shias. They do not understand the language or culture. They need translators. They will be about as welcome as Americans. This is just sowing the seeds of more conflict and bad feeling among ethnic groups. One wonders if the US actually wants to make things worse or if they really do think they will prevail and make Baghdad more secure. It is clear that Maliki thinks that the Iraqi govt. will control the offensive but this is surely wishful thinking. The US says it can go anywhere it wants any time and that the gloves are off now. If there is a full attack on the Sadr slum this will ignite a tinderbox.
Kurdish gen.: brigade trains for Baghdad
By YAHYA BARZANJI, Associated Press Writer 8 minutes ago
KIRKUK, Iraq - An Iraqi army brigade based in the northern Kurdish region is undergoing intensive training in urban combat and will be dispatched to Baghdad as part of a new joint U.S.-Iraqi security drive in the sprawling and violence-ridden city, the commander said Saturday.
The brigade is one of two coming from the Kurdish region and a third brigade will come from southern
Iraq' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Iraq. The second Kurdish brigade will come from the northern city of Sulaimaniyah.
"We will head to Baghdad soon. We have 3,000 soldiers who are currently undergoing intensive training especially in urban combat and how the army should act inside a city," said Brig. Gen. Nazir Assem Korran, commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade, 2nd Division of the Iraqi army that is based in the city of Irbil.
Korran told The Associated Press he did not know how the drive would be carried out but said the Defense Ministry in Baghdad had asked the brigade to take part in the security operation announced by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a week ago.
Thousands of Iraqi and U.S. troops are expected to do neighborhood-to-neighborhood searches to clear the city of Sunni Muslim insurgents and local militias such as the Mahdi Army of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The Mahdi Army has been blamed for much of the sectarian killing in the past months.
"We are going to confront any terrorist elements or militias. We will confront any outlaws," the general said.
Korran said his troops would face a language barrier because 95 percent of the brigade is Kurdish and unable to speak Arabic. Kurds, a separate ethnic group, are largely Sunnis but not Arabs.
"I believe that we will bring translators with our brigade to solve this problem," he said.
The general said his troops were part of the Iraqi army and do not belong to local Kurdish militias, known as peshmergas, as some Iraqi media reports have claimed.
"We do not represent any sect or ethnic group," Korran said. "I believe that the plan will include street battles with militias in residential areas. It could also include raids that are needed to wipe out terrorists elements and militias."
Al-Maliki's office, meanwhile, expressed support for
President Bush' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> President Bush's new war strategy on Saturday but stressed the government would maintain control over military action in Baghdad.
The Shiite prime minister's opinion is that Bush's plan to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to stem the violence in Iraq "represents a common vision and a mutual understanding between the Iraqi government and the American administration," his spokesman said in a statement.
But the spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, stressed the American forces would be working in support of the Iraqis as they implement al-Maliki's plan to restore peace in Baghdad.