Successful "Surge" Operations Continue
News in balance:
The mainstream media continues Saturday to under-report the broad success of the "Surge" and focus mainly on individual acts of violence in Iraq.
For example, focusing totally on violence, AP reports American soldiers rolled into Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City slum on Saturday in search of Iranian-linked militants and as many as 26 Iraqis were killed in what a U.S. officer described as "an intense firefight."
But residents, police and hospital officials said eight civilians were killed in their homes and angrily accused U.S. forces of firing blindly on the innocent. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki condemned the raids and demanded an explanation for the assault into a district where he has barred U.S. operations in the past.Separately, Reuters and AP report two American solders were charged with the premeditated murder of three Iraqis, the U.S. military said Saturday. And in Muqdadiyah, 60 miles north of the capital, police said a suicide bomber blew himself up near a crowd of police recruits, killing at least 23 people and wounding 17.
Also of note, Congressional Democrats, as of yet to exhibit the political skills needed to do more than perform vocal obstructionism, have promised to step up their efforts to end the war according to AP, The Washington Post, and The Politico.
The Surge, however, moves forward and signs of progress are evident. AFPS reports Coalition forces are in control of more than 50 percent of Baghdad (up from the last report) and are making progress in the rest, the coalition’s military commander in the city said Friday.
A new Iraq strategy that targets multiple terrorist outposts and capitalizes on Iraqis’ growing dislike of al Qaeda are combining to degrade insurgent operations in the country, a counter-insurgency expert said today in Baghdad.
“The intention behind the counter-operations that we’re doing is to try to knock over several insurgent safe havens simultaneously,” David Kilcullen, the senior counter-insurgency adviser to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, said during a conference call with military analysts.“I think that al Qaeda have really worn out their welcome,” Kilcullen said, noting a key U.S. objective in Iraq is to prevent it from becoming a safe haven for terrorists.
“What we’re seeing here is the population of Iraq starting to reject terrorist groups,” Kilcullen said. “I think that’s a good sign, in that it’s not us enforcing absence of al Qaeda, which would mean that we’d have to essentially occupy Iraq for a very long term period to make that stick.”Kilcullen acknowledged peace isn’t breaking out in Iraq, just yet. But recent developments there, like Sunnis’ rejection of al Qaeda, provide cause for optimism, he said.
Instead, the Iraqis are “driving out al Qaeda from their midst,” he said.
“There’s a long way to run, but I think it’s a positive indicator at this stage,” he said.
AFPS notes Americans still face a tough fight inside Baghdad, but the trend lines are improving, the commander of Multinational Division Baghdad said today.
Iran-Tied Terrorist, Other Suspects Nabbed In Iraq Raids(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2007 -- Coalition forces captured 27 suspected terrorists, including an alleged terrorist with ties to Iranian elements, during missions conducted across Iraq today as Operation Phantom Thunder continues, U.S. military officials reported.
Coalition forces detained a suspected secret cell terrorist today in Baghdad’s Sadr City section. It is believed the suspected terrorist has close ties to Iranian terror networks and is responsible for numerous attacks on Iraqi civilians as well as on Iraqi and coalition forces in Baghdad.
The detainee also is suspected of recruiting Iraqis to fill the ranks of Iranian terror groups operating in Iraq, officials said.
“Coalition troops continue to target the terrorists who bring explosively formed penetrators and other aid into Iraq,” said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesperson. “We remain committed to dismantling terror networks that seek to kill innocent Iraqis and coalition forces.”
Explosively formed penetrators are sophisticated roadside bombs designed to penetrate armored vehicles.
This and other ongoing military operations are part of an overall offensive against insurgents in Iraq called Operation Phantom Thunder, which began June 15, once all “surge” troops were in place.
Also today, coalition troops killed three terrorists and detained 26 others during a series of operations targeting al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders and terrorist-bomb networks.
Coalition troops disrupted the al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader network during a raid on several buildings east of Fallujah. Three terrorists were killed and 16 suspects were detained.
In Anbar province today, coalition forces raided a suspected terrorist haven northeast of Karmah. The ground forces captured four individuals at the scene, including one man who allegedly has ties to a senior al Qaeda leader who was killed during a May 1 coalition operation.
Just south of Baghdad, coalition forces today raided a building in search of a suspected agent for a leader in the Baghdad vehicle-bomb network. The ground forces detained two suspected terrorists and moved to a second building, where they found and captured the suspected agent.
Also today, coalition troops captured a close associate of the suspected military commander for al Qaeda forces in the Tarmiyah area during a raid west of the town. And in Mosul today, coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists while targeting the alleged al Qaeda emir in Kirkuk, believed to be responsible for issuing anti-coalition edicts.
In other Iraq news, U.S. and Iraqi security forces uncovered weapons caches in two mosques in Baghdad’s Rashid district during June 27-28 operations.
On June 28, U.S. soldiers with Company A, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment and Iraqi security forces entered Al-Sadiq Mosque and found six AK-47 asault rifles and a bag of hand grenades buried in the courtyard.
Inside the mosque, they found a PKM machine gun, a drum of PKM ammunition, 22 assault rifle magazines, an expended rocket-propelled grenade booster, seven demolition boosters, 30 feet of detonation cord, a stick of dynamite, two RPG warheads, 10 blocks of TNT, a 122 mm mortar round, a sniper scope, three RPG fins, 14 blasting caps, more than 500 loose 7.62 mm rounds, six pressure switches, six timers, 12 9-volt batteries, a 6-volt battery and assorted communications devices.
The cache, enough to build numerous roadside bombs, was destroyed by an explosive ordnance disposal unit. Under Iraqi law, citizens are allowed one assault rifle and one 30-round magazine for protection.
Early on June 27, Company A, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, and Iraqi Security Forces entered the Al-Mahada Mosque in the Saydiyah portion of the city and found eight AK-47s with 40 magazines and body armor.
In other news, members of the 4th “Dragons” Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, found a cache of Iranian-made rocket materials, stopped the emplacement of an improvised explosive device and detained numerous suspected terrorists during operations in Baghdad’s Rashid district June 27-28.
On June 28, U.S. soldiers killed three insurgents, wounded two others and detained 10 suspects. In Risalah, a patrol from 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment “Vanguards” began to take fire from two machine guns. The patrol returned fire, killing both insurgents and confiscating their PKC machine guns. During that same operation, the Vanguards captured an alleged IED cell member with known connections to Jaish Al-Mahdi leaders.
A few hours later, an insurgent was killed and three Iraqis wounded when three teenagers tried to breach a checkpoint on a tractor. When the three were stopped and tried to flee, one raised an AK-47 and Multinational Division Baghdad troops opened fire, killing him. The two others were not targeted, but were hit by stray rounds. A girl was hit by a ricochet round, treated for her injuries at the scene and was released.
Also on June 28, soldiers of 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, detained six suspected terrorists, one of them believed to be a financier of a local terrorist cell.
On June 27, the “Black Lions” of Company A, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, found a cache of Iranian-made rocket parts in Aamel. The cache consisted of several empty 107 mm cases with the same lot numbers as those seized June 17, a rocket launcher, materials to build more than 50 launchers, 13 60 mm mortar rounds, an 81mm mortar, rocket-propelled grenades, a large quantity of homemade and plastic explosives, a bag of shotgun shells, two bags of loose 7.62 rounds, a light anti-tank weapon, three assault rifles, an optical sight and an assortment of initiators and grenades.
Also on June 27, troops from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, currently operating in the Rashid district under the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, witnessed a suspicious person digging a hole in an area where IEDs have been previously placed. The troops opened fire. The digger and two other individuals supervising nearby were injured.
The individual digging the hole was a teenager. He was taken to a coalition medical facility for treatment. All three suspects were detained for further questioning. Also that day, soldiers of 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, detained four more suspects.
In other news, U.S. soldiers recovered three weapons caches and seized five suspected insurgents in three separate incidents in eastern Baghdad, June 26.
Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, found two rocket-propelled grenades, three rocket-propelled grenade motors, a drum of ammunition and a spool of wire in New Baghdad, thanks to a tip from residents. Two suspects were detained in the operation.
A second raid by the same unit in New Baghdad that day netted a pistol, an air rifle and three more insurgent suspects.
A third operation, conducted by soldiers with 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, uncovered a weapons cache in Baghdad's Rusafa district. The troops recovered a cache containing two AK-47 assault rifles, two machine guns, an armor vest and four grenades.
Operation Phantom Thunder is a large-scale operation targeting al Qaeda strongholds in and around Baghdad.
Operation Arrowhead Ripper is one operation in a drive to take on insurgents in the towns and villages ringing Baghdad.
Operation Marne Torch, southeast of Baghdad, and offensives in Anbar province, the Sunni-dominated region west of Baghdad, are also targeting militants living in villages there.
Tags: Open Thread, Wire, Headlines, War, Military, terrorism, Middle East, Operation Iraqi Freedom, United States, coalition, Iraq, Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Marine Corps, USMC, CENTCOM, Phantom Thunder, Arrowhead Ripper, Marne Torch
Global Tags: Washington DC, News and Politics, News, Politics, Current Events, Current Affairs, Life, Culture, Buzz, Tension
Maintain THE TENSION, visit the online store:
THE TENSION EXCHANGE
Shop Today's Deals at Amazon.com and Save!
Buy.com's Deal of the Day! A Different Product Every Day.
Labels: Open Thread