Saturday, June 04, 2005

State of the Insurgency Part IV

Operation Lightening Effect

With reports of Zarqawi's injuries and his on again/off again availability to lead, Operation Lightening is taking advantage of the disarray of the insurgency efforts.

In today's reports,2933,158565,00.html, the insurgency managed to kill eight and wound a few dozen others with some poorly placed explosives and incompetent suicide drivers:

Sporadic attacks around Iraq killed eight people Friday in one of the least
violent days since the Shiite -led government took office about one month

Sunni clerics were calling for an end to the operations because they felt it was targeting Sunni unfairly. Reminds me of claims of certain minority groups in New York when Guiliani kicked of "broken windows". Amazingly, the crime rate went down in New York even while people were declaring descriminatory focus on their people. Sunni leaders are doing the same in Iraq and the effects are the same: the operation continues on and the insurgency continues a downward spiral.

Interestingly, Iraq the Model points to other Sunni Clerics who are calling for an end of the violence by Sunnis and, while concerned about the raids, actually give a reason not reported by the media:

The clerics said that they clarified to Jafari that their groups are trying hard to raise the voice of reason among the extreme mosque preachers and that they're leading an educational campaign to counteract the "takfiri" ideology (takfiri means considering anyone who disagrees with your view of religion an infidel). They said that their campaign includes convincing people that using arms against American forces is useless and illogical for the huge difference in capabilities that makes it crazy to fight a superpower.

The clerics also voiced their concerns to Jafari about the intensified raids of the security forces in their regions and that they're not feeling "safe" because the majority of Iraqi forces are comprised of She'at Iraqis and those She'at members of the forces think that everyone with a beard is a terrorist.

If the shoe fits...

Moving on to today's blood shed:

In northern Mosul, a suicide car bomber blew himself up near a police station in the southern part of the city, killing three police officers and wounding another five, Capt. Ahmed Khalil of the police operations room said. Two officers were seriously injured, hospital officials said.

Islamist terrorists/suicide bomb.

A mortar attack in Tal Afar, a city about 50 miles west of Mosul, killed two Iraqi men and injured three, police chief Col. Ishmael Mohammed said.

These shooters missed their targets so my thoughs are that they are new "jihadist" recruits the better trained mortar men appear to be ex-regime soldiers/ba'athi that are able to coordinate, triangulate and direct fire, walking the fire into the target using a spotter which seems to indicate, in Iraq anyway, that someone with previous military experience is directing it.

Read also, a report from Steven Vincent in Basra from several days ago about receiving mortar fire.

Gunmen killed Brig. Sabah Qara Alton, a Turkman official at Kirkuk City Council, after he left a mosque in the ethnically mixed northern city following Friday prayers, police Capt. Sarhad Talabani said.

Kurdish/Turkman/Arab sectarian fighting. Kirkuk continues to be a sticking point in Kurdish/Turkman/Arab relations in Iraq. The Arabs are there because Saddam put them there over ten years ago. The Kurds want it back and the Kurds suspect the Turkman population of being in cahoots with their long time nemesis and persecutors, Turkey.

Earlier, gunmen killed Razzouq Mohammed Ibrahim, an Iraqi contractor in charge of renovating a mosque in western Samarra, and stole his car, police Lt. Qassim Mohammed said.

Sorry, but I think this is criminal activity and not anything to do with "insurgents, terrorists or sectarian" fighting. Seems like people are stretching for some blood and guts to report

Insurgents also fired mortars at the Baghdad Medical City complex shortly after midday, damaging one of the roof of a building. They then shot and killed an Iraqi man standing outside the complex, U.S. military spokesman Sgt. David Abrams said.

Jihadist/terrorists. By their doctrine, jihadists attack government, security forces, journalists, professors and medical personnel in order to take out the "intellectuals" that would naturally oppose them. Standard insurgent operations.

That makes a total of eight dying today, though, according to the report, several dead bodies were found that were at least 24 or more hours old. Five bodies were "terrorists" according to the local police chief which makes me think that the police chief knew all about it and the Sunni might be right in fearing retaliation from "official" agencies acting in unofficial ways.

Two Iraqi civilians, including a child, were also killed when their car swerved into a U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle near Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

As I was noting earlier, stretching to find some blood and guts to report when you have to include traffic accidents.

In short, more deaths, but seriously decreased since the beginning of "Operation Lightening" and the detention of hundreds of possible terrorists.

Col. Mark Milley:

Milley said 84 suspects were detained Friday, while a "half a dozen suspected al-Qaida cell members" and several other "foreign fighters" from Sudan, Syria, Egypt and Jordan had been captured since the operation began.

"Al Qaida cell members". As previously noted in parts I, II and III, with Zarqawi's wounding and subsequent confusion within the ranks about who is in charge, information and "chatter" is flowing a little more freely. As predicted, many low and mid-level people are "showing" themselves and being picked off. A few high value targets have also been picked up as expected.

Maybe the violence was less because the jihadists were at "prayers"? Probably not.

The last three days were nothing compared to the end of April and mid May. Still predicting major attacks (five or more attacks per day) are down until next weekend or later as these groups try to coalesc, re-organize command and control and establish com lines. Sweeping up some additional people may be able to put it off another week.

Reserving opinion until then.

Major K Reports

Also, a suicide car bomber, succeeded in only blowing himself up while his following sponsors in another vehicle who tried to follow up with an impromptu ambush on the IP's were outflanked and captured by the Iraqi Army from a nearby checkpoint. Good on 'em. This particular battalion is known as "The Lions." They are far from perfect, but they sure got it right this time. In spite of all this, arhabi activity in our zone is decreasing, partly due to the leathernecks out west like Howdy and Hurl, as well as the continuing efforts of our guys and the Iraqis. Baby Steps. Rome was not built in a day....

And don't miss Hurl of Howdy and Hurl talking about raids netting bad guys and getting intel.

Got one....


Yep, we got one of the guys involved in an ambush earlier in Hadithah. It was a flawless raid at about 3am. Howdy and I supported a recon team sent in to snatch a particular fellow who would provide some very critical intel on a lot of the big shots in the area and their organization.

This guy lived in a house just to the West of the town of Haqlaniyah – just South of Hadithah. We held out to the West and observed with our FLIR as the recon bubbas ingressed and crept up to the house. They did an explosive breach, poured into the house – but nobody was home. Fortunately they had intel that a house nearby was a relatives house.

They moved to the next house, kicked in the door and entered. It turns out the target individual was cowering in the corner under a blanket, hiding behind some children. He was positively identified, bagged and carried away.

I see bad things ahead for the "insurgents". With the Syrian boder towns sowed up last month, egress from the area will be difficult. Some will try to go to ground and "disappear", but it's likely we'll be able to sweep them up with a few less "safe harbors" and entry of new fighters and materials.

This time we got a big shot – a moneyman – a sheik. As mentioned in an earlier post, our intel is really paying off.

Hurl also gives an explanation of why these folks are sometimes eager to talk when one would think they would keep their mouths shut:

I am guessing that it doesn’t take much to make these guys talk. All that is needed is to threaten to turn them loose. The torturous death they would probably receive at the hands of their fellow terrorists is more than enough incentive to start squawking. In a recent raid, an Egyptian “militant” who failed to perform his mission was found tortured, chained to a floor, and buried alive in concrete. These guys are brutal.

Might be another reason why "recruitment" is down. Wonder if Al Jazeera reports these activities?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Kat

Nice post. The insurgent terrorists will lose because
1)we have decided that we're not going to cut and run. ie Kerry lost the election.
2) the insurgent terrorists have no ideology that attracts the people of Iraq.
3) they are targeting the people of Iraq, which is hardly going to win them over
4) The people of Iraq are slowly coming out of their Saddam-induced shell and are assisting us and their own forces by providing more and more tips and intel.
5) The Iraqi elections were successful (or successful enough) and now they have a government they can look to as being genuinly their own
6) the Sunnis seem to have recognized their mistake in boycotting the elections and are looking to correct that by participating (somewhat anyway) in the government.
7) more and more the insugency is made up of "foreigners" thus they are unable to recruit as many Iraqis as they need. Iraqis will kill foreigners much more readily than they will their own.
8) The new Iraqi police and army forces are slowly but surely building up strength. What is truely inspiring is how many Iraqis are volunteering for these units despite their high casualty rate. This cannot simply be explained by economics; people joining just to get a job etc.

(note the new URL, I've moved!)