Hot in Haditha
The River War continues. US Marines are engaged in a tough fight in the Euphrates River city of Haditha. Operation New Market commenced on May 25 to pacify the city, and the fighting has intensified in recent days. On August 1, six Marines were killed when engaging the enemy in a firefight. On August 2, terrorists conducted the perfect roadside bombing, and fourteen Marines were killed when their amphibious assault vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.
The terrorists continue to shield themselves by using civilian infrastructure as their bases of operations. A school is turned into a pillbox and an armory.
Marines from Regimental Combat Team-2 were attacked with mortar fire from terrorists occupying a local schoolhouse. The building was rigged with explosives and fortified with .30 caliber machine guns in the windows. Coalition forces determined that the school was being used as a weapons cache site.
The engagement began while forces were conducting a cordon and search of the area, during which a weapons cache of rockets was discovered nearby. M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks were in support of the assault on the building. Coalition aircraft also engaged targets within the building. Numerous secondary explosions were observed. Coalition forces on the scene described the secondary explosions as being larger detonations than the bombs that were dropped.
While the Coalition pushes harder in Anbar, the disparate elements of the insurgency met in Lebanon to create a central front to the American presence and the Iraqi government. Mohammed from Iraq the Model details the meeting, and reports the meeting didn't last long before turning into a "grand failure" .
After the 1st session, objections came 1st from the armed groups themselves where they said that no one had the right to represent them "we are the ones to lead Iraq and we are the only body that has the right to decide for the Iraqi people and there shall be no politics or negotiations of any kind" That statement of the armed groups left the other groups in bewilderment; who's going to fill the security vacancy if America left? UN peace-keeping forces? Or forces from the Arab league?
The armed groups answered by "NO" for both suggestions as they believe that both institutions are under American influence and they helped America invade Iraq(!!). The representatives of the armed groups said that they are capable of controlling Iraq and that there's no need for any kind of foreign troops Actually even the Sadrists were shocked when the heard those people talking in the name of Saddam and Ezzat [Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the former vice chairman of Saddam's Baathist Revolutionary Command Council] and referring to them as if they were the legitimate leaders of Iraq.
The Sadrists and the patriotic democratic trend [pan-Arabist] asked the Ba'athists to give up on the past regime and apologize to the Iraqi people for the atrocities committed by the Ba'ath as a condition to resume cooperation. But the Ba'athists refused and the Sadrists left the conference and so did the patriotic democratic trend.
Mohammed reports the Sunni parties are planning on participating in the upcoming elections this fall. Iraq's constitutional committee has pledged to complete the draft on time, and the committee chairman reports "even the Sunni Arabs insisted on meeting the deadline."
The push into Anbar province is chipping away at the insurgent's control of the Sunni regions. The saner elements of the insurgency understand the intractable nature of the extremists. Sunni groups are committing to the political process.
Add these events together, and the reasons for violence in the Sunni regions of Iraq become clear. The insurgency is disjointed and unorganized, and cannot muster any meaningful support among the Iraqi people. To achieve victory, they must disrupt the political process, and the only means they have at their disposal is violence. That they can offer, and do so regularly.