By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
June 29, 2007 – Coalition forces are in control of more than 50 percent of Baghdad and are making progress in the rest, the coalition's military commander in the city said today. Army Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr. spoke to Pentagon reporters from his command post at Camp Liberty, Iraq. He commands the Multinational Division Baghdad.
The coalition strategy starts with disruption of the enemy in Baghdad neighborhoods and moves through clearance, controlling, retention and then finally transitions to pure Iraqi security forces control. There are 474 mahalas - neighborhoods - in Baghdad, and coalition forces track progress in each, Fil said.
In April, coalition forces were in the first phase - disruption - in 41 percent of the mahalas, 35 percent were in the clearing process, and 19 percent of the mahalas were in the control phase.
"That has come up significantly, and now we're at about 15, 16 percent of these are in the disruption phase," Fil said. Thirty-six percent of the mahalas - 191 - are in the clear phase, "which means we're in there with our forces and the Iraqi security forces in active operations."
Around 195 of the mahalas are in control, and "then there are actually a little over 7 percent of them, 34 of the mahalas, that have actually transitioned into the retain pace. So control and retain together is about 48 and something percent."
The numbers will continue to change as more progress is made, Fil said. The number of neighborhoods in clearance of forces remains relatively constant, "because that's as much work as we are confident in doing with the forces we have available," Fil said.
Coalition forces are aggressively conducting operations throughout the capital and denying sanctuary for al Qaeda and other extremist groups in areas like East Rashid, Mansour, Amiriyah and Adhamiya, Fil said. "We are hitting them where it hurts, and we're taking away their ability to control neighborhoods and brutalize the population," he said.