The Corner

Clear, Sweep, and–Finally?–Hold

From the New York Times today:

For months, the military has stormed towns in Anbar Province with hundreds of troops, who have moved from block to block, breaking into homes, detaining people suspected of being insurgents and searching belongings for evidence.

Once the mission was completed, however, the forces would withdraw, leaving insufficient numbers to prevent the insurgents from returning. This happened in Ubaydi in May, when marines last pressed a fight here.

But immediately after recent offensives in Haditha, Barwana, Haqlaniya and Sadaa, the American military established garrisons in those towns. Work on temporary bases in Husayba and Karabila began the day those sweeps ended last week. And on Wednesday, marines in Ubaydi were converting a neglected youth center into their post, ordering a perimeter of barricades and discussing the possibility of starting a soccer league for children.

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