FLASH: PHASE TWO IS COMPLETE
Based on this update from Fox, Phase II of Operation Al-Fajr is complete. What does this mean? A Predictive Analysis 1. US and coalition forces now "occupy" the city of Fallujah (by their presence), "control" the city (by virtue of their presence and their weaponry), and will now begin to "retain" the city. Retain is defined as: "To occupy or hold a terrain feature to ensure it is free of enemy occupation or use." 2. Sporadic fighting will continue. Though the cordon seems to have worked effectively, as we know from press accounts of men being turned back into the city, no doubt some of the insurgents both a. slipped through the cordon and b. will return to the city and attempt to attack US forces. The coalition will mitigate against these attacks by using a host of methods: a. Weapons caches will be destroyed in place or moved outside the city and destroyed. b. Any tunnel or sewer systems that can provide egress or other quick movement within the city will either be destroyed or patrolled by coalition forces. c. Human intelligence exploitation teams will interrogate all of the prisoners that the operation has netted, and develop databases of suspected insurgents. d. Iraqi military and government forces controlling the city will probably attempt to ease the identification process for all citizens, through the use of a single ID card system that is difficult to corrupt, or other means. e. The curfew for men will no doubt continue, though perhaps with some easing to allow men to work -- though this will likely be several days in coming. 3. Humanitarian aid will begin to trickle into the city. The aid will be composed of several parts: a. US combat service and support units may have a small role in initial humanitarian assistance operations until NGOs and other organizations with greater capabilities can safely participate. b. NGO and other relief organizations, which are non-partisan. These will be allowed into the city based on judgments as to the security threat against them. c. Private, and possibly Iraqi government or US military construction organizations (probably Seabees, long shot - USMC engineers) will begin to assist in reconstructing the city. The military forces will focus on quick fixes to infrastructure, while the private firms or Iraqi governement organizations will work toward longer solutions. It should be noted that the press may infer that the reconstruction is a necessity because of the destructiveness of US firepower; the truth is that the city has most likely benefited little from any reconstruction effort since the fall of the regime. 4. Psychological and media operations will continue. These will play a role in both continuing the pacification of the city, and in exploiting our success and advertising it to the rest of the country, and perhaps the region. These operations could take the form of video feeds of prisoner confessions or interviews, interviews with residents who did not support the insurgents, or allowing international reporters access to some of the more heinous aspects of the insurgent torture chambers and death rooms. 5. One-third to one-quarter of the US forces that participated in the battle will move out of the city within 72-96 hours. The rest, including especially 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, will stay and reinforce the pacification.