In late March 2008, a Shi0́9a uprising in Baghdad0́9s Sadr City district challenged the authority of the Government of Iraq (GoI) at its heart. The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center. Sadr City was built in Iraq in 1959 by Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qassim in response to grave housing shortages in Baghdad. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity. Six years this month, such a “new fate” arrived in Sadr City, Iraq. The Jaish al Mahdi (JAM) overran GoI outposts in the district and barraged the International Zone with short-range rockets. This mental map is our unique perspective of the world. Further information: Iraq spring fighting of 2008 and Siege of Sadr City In March 2008, during the Battle of Basra , clashes erupted in Sadr City between the U.S. and the Mahdi Army . Six years ago, such a “new fate” arrived in Sadr City, Iraq. The last remaining insurgency fighters came under increasingly destructive attack. “Sadr City right now is like a city of ghosts,” Abu Haider al-Bahadili, a Mahdi Army leader told the Washington Post by phone. Heavy armored forces have enduring utility in counterinsurgency and urban operations. The battle forced units that had been mainly focused on counterinsurgency operations to convert overnight into combined-arms teams of armor and mechanized infantry and engage a large […] He said he was talking to friends on a busy street, when the blast occurred. We mostly drove around in RG31’s, Buffalos, and Husky vehicle mounted mine detectors. The 2008 Battle of Sadr City wasn't simply one of the most kinetic and violent battles of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Even as American and Iraqi troops are fighting to establish control of the Sadr City section of this capital, the Iraqi government's program to restore basic services like electricity, sewage and trash collection is lagging, jeopardizing the effort to win over the area's wary residents. The 2008 battle for Sadr City offers a different model, in which the challenges were even more formidable than those posed by Grozny and Fallujah. Your email address will not be published. Snipers remain an important enabler in urban operations. U.S. forces launched an ambitious program of reconstruction intended to convince Sadr City's population to transfer its loyalties to the Government of Iraq. By March 2008, the urban enclave of 2 million people in northeastern Baghdad had quieted down to the point that just two companies of Stryker Infantry were needed to contain it. GOTTA SEE THIS-War Endur.Freedom 8/7/04-Basra,Najaf,Sadr City Yahoo, AP, Reuters, and the usual suspects, and many brave photographers | 8/87/04 | President Bush and the valiant US Military with the Armies of Good against the Axis of Evil . Isolating the enemy enables the counterinsurgent to seize the initiative. This revenue is used to offset costs associated with maintaining The Military Leader site. On desktop computers and some mobile devices, you may need to download an eBook reader to view mobi files. The resulting month-long fight ultimately reduced the Sadr militia’s combat power and a new 2.4 km wall across the city prevented them from affecting key coalition bases. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors. the real world. Members of the newly arrived 1st Cavalry Division and elements of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment were sent out to retake them. Where two companies once occupied, 14 companies now stood. In a matter of hours, the tactical situation in Sadr City shifted from low to high-intensity, with engagements akin to the Black Hawk Down depiction of Mogadishu in 1993. What are its implications for the U.S. Army in terms of the conduct of future urban operations? Location: Sadr City, Iraq During 2006 to 2008, 15 months, I was part of an engineering unit tasked with conducting route clearance around the greater Baghdad area. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2013. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR160.html. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School, Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND; Ph.D. We were given the job of driving up and down the roads in our very heavy armored vehicles. Enduring success depends on capable indigenous security forces. Subscribe to the weekly Policy Currents newsletter to receive updates on the issues that matter most. At the time named Revolution City (Arabic: مدينة الثورة‎, romanized: Al-Thawra), it provided housing for Baghdad's urban poor, many of whom had come from the countryside and who had until then lived in appalling conditions. U.S. forces seized key enemy rocket-launch sites early in the battle. Also available in print form. The Battle of Sadr City, March–May 2008. The digital map erupted red icons all over the city as our units tried to get a handle on the emerging situation. Multi-National Force - Iraq Commander Gen. Raymond T. Odierno listens to questions from 60 Minutes reporter Leslie Stahl during his visit to the People's Market in the Sadr City District of Baghdad, on Sept. 18, 2008. Gonzales relates numerous accounts in which people found themselves in survival situations and continued to cling to their old reality…the one where they were still sitting safely in a plane at 30,000 feet…or the one where a bear hadn’t just wrecked their campsite leaving them stranded. Rob MacMillan. Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links contained on this site are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. But as the saying goes, the enemy gets a vote…and Muqtada al-Sadr’s vote came at the end of March, when he unleashed an hourly barrage of rocket, mortar, IED, RPG, and gunfire attacks on the Green Zone and units in the area. Hundreds of Shi'ites loyal to al-Sadr gathered outdoors [on July 25, 2008] for Friday noon prayer and a heated sermon by an imam in al-Sadr's movement. The command deployed additional assets from surrounding areas and blocked the routes in/out of the city, then platoons fought their way north to reclaim a key road. Holding onto the prior trend of stability was pointless and risky. The Iraqi Army enjoyed increasing success in conducting operations on its own. This post is not a narrative of the combat in Sadr City that year, but it does serve as a perfect example of a situation that requires leaders to reframe their mental maps to the new reality. The fighting has not abated in Sadr City and other Mahdi Army-dominated neighborhoods in northern and eastern Baghdad. A total of 465 Mahdi Army fighters have been confirmed killed in and around Sadr City since March 25. The authors present the first full operational analysis of the battle and distill insights and lessons that can inform a broader understanding of urban operations, particularly those conducted as part of irregular warfare. U.S. casualties and collateral damage could have been substantial. Access control would ultimately enable U.S. forces to set the tempo of operations and methodically capture or kill insurgent leaders through targeted raids. The authors of this study highlight an alternative approach to block-by-block clearing missions: a wide area security approach, showcased in the strategies developed in the streets of Sadr City. On March 28, the US overseer of Iraq, Paul Bremer, ordered the 60-day closure of Al-Hawza, a newspaper published by Muqtada al-Sadr’s group, on the charges of inciting violence against the occupation. This new paradigm can help the Army focus on what capabilities it will need in the future for such operations. Feel free to email the site/content author at admin@themilitaryleader.com. In 2008, Lt. Col. MacMillan was serving as the battalion operations officer of 1-68 Armor in 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Calibre is an example of a free and open source e-book library management application. “It has turned from a city into a field of battle.” We were in a comfort zone. It’s our comfort zone; it’s what we rest on; it’s where we feel safe. Intelligence efforts, of course, seek to discover these initiatives, but leaders must live in a state of open-ended readiness to adjust and lead their organizations through change. About 270 Iraqi men from 18 … Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School, by David E. Johnson, M. Wade Markel, Brian Shannon. Conditions on the Eve of the Battle of Sadr City, Analysis of Contemporary Arabic Language Sources on the Battle of Sadr City. Naziha al-Dulaimiwas instrumental in turning the vast slums of eastern Baghdad into a massive public works and housing project that came to be known as Revolution … Success in this battle solidified Iraqi government control over all of Baghdad and throughout Iraq, creating conditions that enabled the United States to realize contemporary operational objectives in Iraq. Insurgents, their freedom of movement rapidly disappearing, were drawn into battle on disadvantageous terms. But there’s a problem in that our mental map doesn’t always align with “the real map”… i.e. Allied forces continued and improved suppression of enemy rocket fires. ... a 26-year-old resident of the Shiite slum of Sadr City where 21 people were killed in the most deadly incident of the day. Muqtada al-Sadr had likely been planning the April 2008 offensive for months. The enemy had achieved surprise and units were sustaining casualties. In the fourth episode of MWI’s Urban Warfare Project podcast, John Spencer is joined by retired Lt. Col. At that time, Sadr City was secured with the use of Strykers from the 1st Squadron, 2d … The leader of the uprising offered a cease-fire, though many individuals kept fighting. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. Technical capabilities must enable decentralized decisionmaking and small-unit initiative. The 2008 Battle of Sadr City, which took place in Baghdad nearly 15 months after the beginning of the U.S. "surge" in Iraq, has received relatively little scholarly attention. It was also one of vast importance to future policy and leadership. US forces, from the 759th Military Police Battalion, subsequently regained control of the police stations after running firefights with Mahdi rebels that kille… By March 2008, the urban enclave of 2 million people in northeastern Baghdad had quieted down to the point that just two companies of Stryker Infantry were needed to contain it. Sadr City Operations, April - May, 2008 Sep 2, 2008 - Institute for t... To see this map in context, please view Iraq Report #11. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Sadr City is part of Baghdad and has an estimated population of 2.4 million. Some might say that we had reached “steady-state operations,” and a routine of stability. He has been a student of leadership for two decades and designed The Military Leader to help other leaders develop themselves and grow their organizations. On desktop computers and some mobile devices, you may need to download an eBook reader to view ePub files. Sadr City. What was the full story of the Battle of Sadr City? The views expressed on this site do not officially represent the views of the US military or the United States Government. Office of Foreign Assets Control, Treasury. The Military Leader is hosted by an Army Infantry officer with 20 years experience and four deployments to Iraq/Afghanistan. By Michael R. Gordon New York Times April 22, 2008. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience. The brigade was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, where it took part in the battle of Sadr City. The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. M16 rifle (19,434 words) exact match in snippet view article find links to article 101st Airborne troopers on patrol with M4s in Sadr City, Iraq, c. 2006. The eruption of violence threatened to draw U.S. forces into a battle in a closely packed urban area inhabited by an estimated 2.4 million people, many of whom strongly supported the GoI's main antagonist, Moqtada al-Sadr. Stahl, Leslie, "The Battle of Sadr City," 60 Minutes, October 12, 2008. By March 2008, the urban enclave of 2 million people in northeastern Baghdad had quieted down to the point that just two companies of Stryker Infantry were needed to contain it. He. The Jaish al Mahdi (JAM) overran GoI outposts in the district and barraged the International Zone with short-range rockets. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”, Getting Your Mental Map Realigned (Sadr City 2008), Unit Leader Development Products & Resources, Realigning Your Mental Map: Sadr City, 2008, Telling the World How Smart We Are (Habit Series #6), The Principles of Military Leadership [Day 3]. 2008, Sadr City appeared to operate like a separate nation, where Sadr’s word was synonymous with the law. Six years this month, such a “new fate” arrived in Sadr City, Iraq. Eight US troops were killed and 51 more wounded in the bloody battle. From the Soldiers on the street to the Commanding General, the dramatic change in the tactical landscape demanded mental agility, measured emotional response, and poised leadership. Ground maneuver remains indispensable for shaping the battle and achieving decision. I was one of the officers assigned to those two companies at the time. By March 2008, the urban enclave of 2 million people in northeastern Baghdad had quieted down to the point that just two companies of Stryker Infantry were needed to contain it. The next day thousands of Iraqis rallied outside the offices of Al-Hawza in support of the newspaper. The Jaish al Mahdi (JAM) overran GoI outposts in the district and barraged the International Zone with short-range rockets. Sadr City. Persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; technical intelligence; and precision-strike capabilities enable the attacker to seize the initiative. Much of the overall insurgency had been neutralized. Dozens of people were killed by a car bomb in a crowded food market in the Sadr City section of Baghdad on Wednesday. We had regular meetings with local leaders and enemy attacks were very low. However, insurgents still enjoyed considerable freedom of movement making allied forces vulnerable to attack from unsecured portions of Sadr City. 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