Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrives with military escorts in Baghdad on Saturday.
It’s now five months into the U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq, and although American Defense Secretary Robert Gates claimed during his visit to Baghdad this weekend that it’s still too early to tell if the surge is working, one U.S. military higher-up, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, admitted that only 40 percent of Iraq’s capital city is consistently safe.
AP via Breitbart.com:
Odierno said there was a long way to go in retaking the city from Shiite Muslim militias, Sunni Arab insurgents and al-Qaida terrorists. He said only about “40 percent is really very safe on a routine basis”—with about 30 percent lacking control and a further 30 percent suffering “a high level of violence.”
The U.S. ground forces commander discussed the new offensive and the security situation in an interview with two reporters as he visited an American outpost near the main market in the capital’s southern Dora district, a major Sunni Arab stronghold.
“There’s about 30 percent of the city that needs work, like here in Dora and the surrounding areas,” Odierno said. “Those are the areas that we consider to be the hot spots, which usually have a Sunni-Shiite fault line, and also areas where al-Qaida has decided to make a stand.”