Force Levels in Diyala Province
The Associated Press has reported that this January, the combat brigade currently responsible for most of Diyala province will rotate home without being replaced – the first step in the drawdown from 20 to 15 brigades that Gen. Petraeus laid out in his September testimony.
Viewed superficially, this move may look sadly like many others that have come before: just as U.S. troops “surged” into Falluja and Tel Afar and were then pulled out, so U.S. troops are being pulled out of Diyala on the heels of this summer’s offensive to secure the city of Baquba.
This view does not tell the whole story, however. If one looks only at the number of brigades, and not at the battalions those brigades control, then the removal of the brigade in question this January does indeed put the situation in Diyala back where it was a year ago – just one brigade where this summer there were three. But at the battalion level, the picture is more complex.