U.S. military officials said Nov. 24 that the overall number of American troops in Iraq will be reduced by some 5,000 with the withdrawal of a combat brigade from Diyala province. But the number of Soldiers in the volatile province will actually increase.
The U.S. command in Baghdad announced earlier this month that the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division had begun heading home to Fort Hood, Texas, and that its area would be taken over by another brigade already operating in Iraq.
Col. David Sutherland, commander of the 3rd Brigade, acknowledged concerns that the withdrawal of U.S. troops could lead to a reversal of a decline in violence but said the transfer of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, will actually result in more troops in the province northeast of Baghdad.
Diyala, you may recall, was the scene of much of the fighting during the “surge” after many insurgents in the Baghdad area fled to the province when additional US troops began heading into the capital.