Operation Swarmer Near Samarra


A joint U.S. & Iraq force launches large air assault operation; Iraqi military uniforms discovered


North-central Iraq has become a main focus in the fight against the insurgency. In what is described as the "largest air assault operation since Operation Iraqi Freedom I," a joint Iraqi & U.S. multi-battalion task force, comprised of elements of the Iraqi Army's 1st Brigade, 4th Division, the Iraqi police 2nd Commando Brigade, the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team and the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade struck at a town northeast of Samarra. Samarra and the surrounding region has been a hotspot and it is believed al Qaeda is operating in this region.

CENTCOM reports the task force is made up of "more than 1,500 Iraqi and Coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft..." and gives the blow-by-blow on the raid:

Attack and assault aircraft provided aerial weapons support for the operation and also delivered troops from the Iraq Army's 4th Division, the Rakkasans from 1st and 3rd Battalions, 187th Infantry Regiment and the Hunters from 2nd Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment to multiple objectives. Forces from the 2nd Commando Brigade then completed a ground infiltration to secure numerous structures in the area.

Blackhawks from the 101st Airborne Division's aviation brigade departing a military base to begin Operation Swarmer near the city of Samarra. Image courtesy of Sgt. First Class Antony Joseph, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade.

The assault netted "a number of enemy weapons caches have been captured, containing artillery shells, explosives, IED-making materials, and military uniforms." The inclusion of the military uniforms, while certainly not a new development, serves as a reminder that insurgents are using Iraqi Army and police uniforms, and that some of the reported sectarian-related violence may in fact be initiated by the insurgency to discredit the Iraqi Security Forces and stir up ethnic tensions.

Further evidence of masking insurgency action under the guise of police forces is discovered in a separate raid in north-central Iraq; "After receiving information on a possible fake identification workstation, Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, conducted a cordon and search with members of the Iraqi Police. Once inside the target residence, the combined force discovered more than 300 false identification cards, including Iraqi Police IDs."

Again, while none of this is earth shattering news, these insurgent activities must be remembered and factored into reporting of sectarian related violence as well as claims the Iraqi Security Forces are involved in death squads. No doubt there are illegal actions by rogue units or individuals in Iraqi Security Forces, but some of these killings are very likely the actions of insurgents hoping to discredit the ISF and degrade the security situation.



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READER COMMENTS: "Operation Swarmer Near Samarra"

Posted by Marlin at March 16, 2006 12:21 PM ET:

Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the operation "has been anticipated for some time."

"It is very close to Baghdad ... and really it has been the transit for many of these terrorist insurgents to send car bombs or to attack convoys in that part of the country," Zebari said.

"The insurgents and the terrorists have been assembling themselves there trying to create another Falluja," said Zebari, referring to the establishment of an insurgent command center in Anbar province that was the object of a bloody November 2004 offensive.

The operation is expected to last several days, while the military searches for insurgents and weapons stockpiles.

Zebari said the Samarra push shows the "rising capabilities" of Iraqi forces.

"This is a good exercise and indicates that this strategy is working to build Iraqi troops to be sufficient," he said.

CNN: U.S. launches largest Iraqi air assault since invasion

Posted by Jimbo at March 16, 2006 1:16 PM ET:

Bill could they be hunting for Zarqawi?

Posted by Jim,MtnViewCA,USA at March 16, 2006 1:16 PM ET:

Although the operation was in the works "for some time", one wonders if the foiled mini-Tet resulted in intel which helped identify targets. Obviously uniforms and IDs were needed for mini-Tet.
Can someone give Swarmer some perspective? If most provinces (other than Baghdad's and other than Anbar) are increasingly under control. If the river campaign last year dried up the most important ratlines from Syria. If significant Sunni elements are turning against AQ-Iraq. If there are widespread reports of AQ members streaming out to Syria, Iran, Jordan. Then why is the "largest air assault since invasion" needed?
I can't help but think the MSM is playing this operation as a rebuttal to reports of progress.
But so far it sounds like the op is mostly Iraqi and that there is no organized resistance.

Posted by dj elliott at March 16, 2006 1:54 PM ET:

If you are curious about how much territory we have handed to the Iraqis, watch the weekly Baghdad brief by MG Lynch:

www.pentagonchannel.mil/

Most of the press did not bother to attend.


Air Assualt element: Iraqi Army 1 Bde/4th Div; US 3 BCT & CAB/101st AB Div

Ground component: Iraqi MOI 2nd Special Police Commando Bde

This is the third Air Assualt that the Iraqi Army has participated in. Previous ops employed Iraqi 1st Bn/1st Bde/4th Div (same Bde doing this op) and 3rd Bn/1st Bde/6th Div in joint US-Iraqi assualts. This is just the largest.

PS: Do you want a copy of my current Iraqi OOB put together from press releases and official web sites.

Posted by sjreese at March 16, 2006 2:32 PM ET:

Uh.. NO, this op is used to keep the insurgents on the defensive -- Nothing more.. It was hopped by creating a safe town Samarra, located in north central Iraq on the Tigris River, full of spies after it was the scene of fierce fighting between insurgents and US forces in 2004. The US plan was to let the Iraqi's feel free and collect intelligence at the same time and as time went on the spies would be found out and killed. We know this because the intelligence was bad and as you well know the US KIA count is up. So in Israeli fashion they can attack the town over-run with insurgents and thus tie-up the insurgents. While the US lackey's in Baghdad vote themselves pay-hikes.

Winners: The puppet Iraqi Parliament convenes in peace and not under fire. Although I think they convene at that secret location.

Losers: US Army who will kill and die so that the Iraqi Parliament can have a few hours of voting themselves more retirement benefits. Sorry to those like Jessica Lynch who will never walk unaided again... So that Mr. Al-jafari can hold on to his post a few more days. And Mr. Chalbi can spend more US dollars trying to bribe his way in and get into power.

Bye the way.. The town is a pilgrimage center for Shiite Muslims.

Posted by Soldier's Dad at March 16, 2006 2:37 PM ET:

Jim,MtnViewCA,USA

Todays Baghdad briefing noted a another substantial drop in attacks in AlAnbar, which would make Salahadin, the most violent province on a per person basis, or second most violent after Baghdad.

Also announced was that 2 battalions have been moved from other areas of Iraq into Baghdad, and 1 battalion was brought up from Kuwait.

THe 101st Airborne is in the business of Air Assaults. If it was an Armor or Infantry Division, it would probably have been a ground assault.

Assault is probably too strong a word. More like a surprise, large scale cordon and search. Going in by Air, adds an element of surprise.

Posted by Alan Furman at March 16, 2006 2:44 PM ET:

Air assaults have the nice feature of skipping over IED-infested roads.

Posted by MarcoBlogo at March 16, 2006 3:22 PM ET:

sjreese:

You need to add a group to your list of losers: The multiple foreign fighters that ended up on the wrong side of a 5.56 round. I hope there were many.

Posted by cjr at March 16, 2006 4:02 PM ET:

dj elliott:

"PS: Do you want a copy of my current Iraqi OOB put together from press releases and official web sites."

I have also been putting together an Iraqi OOB from press release. I would very much like to compare notes.

CJR

Posted by dj elliott at March 16, 2006 4:11 PM ET:

Iraqi MOD/MOI units seen in press reporting/releases (ICOD 15 Mar 06):
1 Division (aka IIF) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
- 1 Bde: 2 Bn 3 Bn (cert)
- 2 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn 5 Bn (cert)
- 3 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn (cert)
- 4 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn 4 Bn (cert)
- ? Motor Transport Rgt:
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
2 Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
- 1 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn
- 2 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn
- 3 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn
- 4 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn
- ? Motor Transport Rgt:
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
3 Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
- 1 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn
- 2 Bde: 2 Bn
- 3 Bde: 3 Bn
- ? Motor Transport Rgt: (forming)
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
4 Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
- 1 Bde: 1 Bn(AirAslt) 2 Bn 3 Bn 4 Bn
- 2 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn 4 Bn
- 4 Bde: 2 Bn 3 Bn
- ? Motor Transport Rgt: (forming)
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
5 Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
- 1 Bde: 2 Bn 3 Bn
- 2 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn 4 Bn
- ? Motor Transport Rgt: (forming)
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
6 Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>(cert)
- 1 (Cobra) Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn(AirAslt) 4 Bn 5 Bn (cert)
- 2 (Tiger) Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn (cert)
- 3 (Muthanna) Bde: 2 Bn 3 Bn (cert)
- 4 Bde: 2 Bn 3 Bn
- 5 Bde(AirAslt): 1 Bn(AirAslt) 2 Bn(AirAslt) 3 Bn(AirAslt) (cert)
- 6 Bde: (forming)
- ? Motor Transport Rgt:
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
7 Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
- 1 Bde: 1 Bn 3 Bn
- 2 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn 3 Bn
- 3 Bde:
- ? Motor Transport Rgt: (forming)
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
8 Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(cert)
- 1 Bde: 2 Bn
- 2 Bde: 1 Bn (cert)
- 3 Bde: 3 Bn (cert)
- 4 Bde: 1 Bn 2 Bn
- ? Motor Transport Rgt:
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
9 Mechanized Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
(77x T72/50+x T55/148+x BMP1/57+x MTLB/170x M113/100x Spartan)
- 1 Mech Bde: 1A Bn (T55) 2M Bn(MTLB/BMP) 3M Bn(MTLB/BMP) ? Mech CSS Bn(forming) (cert)
- 2 Armor Bde: 1A Bn (T72) 2A Bn(T72) 3M Bn(BMP1) ? Mech CSS Bn(forming) (cert)
- ? Mech Bde: ?A Bn ?M Bn ?M Bn ? Mech CSS Bn (forming)
- ? Motor Transport Rgt: (forming)
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
10 Division >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
? Bn ? Bn (forming)
- 1 Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn (cert)
- 2 Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn (cert)
- ? Motor Transport Rgt: (forming)
- Base Support Unit: (forming)
Ind/unk assign units ****************************************************************************************
- 1 SOF Bde: 36 Cdo Bn(AirAslt/91 M1114) 2 C-T Bn(AirAslt) 3 ServSup Bn
- 5 Strat Infrastructure Bde:
3 StrInf Bn 5 StrInf Bn
(1st group of 3400 pers trained; 2nd group training; total 14x SI Bns planned?)
- ? Special Security Bn (forming)
- ? Marine Bn
- 1 Engineering Training Bn
- 1 Training Bn
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ministry of Interior Units (PO & SPC Bdes being reorganized into 8x Police Bdes):
Border Guards ****************************************************************************************
? Region
? Region
? Region
? Region
? Region
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
- ? Bde: ? Bn ? Bn ? Bn
National Police Public Order Division ************************************************************************
- 1 Public Order Bde: ? PO Bn ? PO Bn 3 PO Bn
- 2 Public Order Bde: ? PO Bn 2 PO Bn ? PO Bn
- 3 Public Order Bde: ? PO Bn ? PO Bn ? PO Bn
- 4 Public Order Bde: ? PO Bn ? PO Bn ? PO Bn
National Police Commando Division ************************************************************************
- 1 Special Police Cdo Bde: 1 SPC Bn 2 SPC Bn 5 SPC Bn
- 2 Special Police Cdo Bde: 1 SPC Bn ? SPC Bn ? SPC Bn
- ? Special Police Cdo Bde: ? SPC Bn ? SPC Bn ? SPC Bn
- 4 Special Police Cdo Bde: 1 SPC Bn ? SPC Bn ? SPC Bn
Independent MOI Police Units: ************************************************************************
- 8 Police Mech Bde: 1 Pol Mech Bn 2 Pol Mech Bn 3 Pol Mech Bn (115x BTR80/50x BTR94/44x Panhard M3)
- Emerg Resp Unit (SWAT/Bde-):
- Highway Patrol:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-Equip of U/I assignment: 713x M1114 (IOS nlt 31 Jul 06), 600x DZIK3, 16x UH1; 20x W3 Sokol; 24x MI17. Swiss 180x M113
transfer was canx. 170x (vice 77x) T72 per SACEUR brief? Total number and types of tanks/apcs salvaged from old Iraqi
army reported at 200 vehicles of T55/MTLB/BMP types (NFI).
-Unit IDs changed during consolidation of IIF, NG, and army resulted in renumbering of 1st Mech Div to 9th Mech Div,
IIF to 1st Div, and change in NG Div's IDs.
-? indicated units id not specifically known but total number of units identified.
-Reporting on 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th & 10th Divs, Border Guards, equipment assignments, air assualt trained units, and
specific Bn/Rgt TO&E is thin at best.
-6th and 8th Divisions certified and 6 (of 8 remaining) more expected to be by certified by end summer.

If you got any updates, let me know.
(Ret USN Intel Spec who cannot quit.)

Posted by Marlin at March 16, 2006 4:15 PM ET:

"We are conducting a real thorough search of the area, ensuring that we are very precise in determining who we detain," said Maj. Tom Bryant, a public affairs officer in Tikrit for the 101st Airborne Division.

Bryant said there were no initial reports of injuries among the U.S.-led coalition and Iraqis.

He said there were "a few more" Iraqi troops than coalition soldiers. Many of them were ferried in by UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, he said.

The offensive is focusing on three villages in a largely Sunni area where fighters are believed to be based, Iraqi security sources said.

The insurgents are suspected in lootings and killings, including the deaths of three Al-Arabiya journalists in Samarra.

The reporters were killed while covering the aftermath of the February 22 bombing of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra that escalated sectarian tensions and pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

CNN: U.S., Iraqis launch raid on insurgent hotbed

Posted by Marlin at March 16, 2006 4:26 PM ET:

The operation, residents said, appeared to be concentrated near four villages - Jillam, Mamlaha, Banat Hassan and Bukaddou - about 20 miles north of Samarra. The villages are near the highway leading from Samarra to the city of Adwar.

Waqas al-Juwanya, a spokesman for Iraq's joint coordination center in nearby Dowr, said "unknown gunmen exist in this area, killing and kidnapping policemen, soldiers and civilians."

[...]

Ret. Army Lt. Col David Hunt, agreed that this kind of military operation would not have been launched without some very specific intelligence regarding the location and plans of Al Qaeda.

"We would not commit this kind of manpower   and the amount of equipment it takes planning to do an air assault   without very specific, very good intelligence," said Hunt.

The difference between Thursday's operation and the "shock and awe" campaign launched by U.S. forces when they first invaded Iraq is that the strikes launched three years ago were primarily by air. Thursday's airborne assault, on the other hand, allowed the largest insertion of coalition forces into enemy strongholds on the ground.

"This is really an air-ground op but it allows you to insert a lag number of troops with tactical surprise," explained Ret. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney. "That's why this is effective, they know that there are people that are watching them very closely so what they're trying to do is get that tactical surprise. They know Al Qaeda's in that area so they're trying to disrupt Al Qaeda."

Fox News: 'Operation Swarmer' Air Assault Launched in Iraq

Posted by Marlin at March 16, 2006 5:44 PM ET:

Wretchard at the Belmont Club uses Bill's post for a nice analysis of Operation Swarmer as well.

The Belmont Club: Operation Swarmer

Posted by cjr at March 16, 2006 5:53 PM ET:

dj elliott:
Great stuff.
See OOB for 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th div. I also have OOB for Police Commando and Police Public Order Battalions in next post.


3rd div HQ Al Kasik
1st bde Q-West:
-1st
-2nd
-3rd
2nd bde Tel Afar
-1st
-2nd
-3rd
3rd bde
-1st Avgani
-2nd Amalah
-3rd Muzerea

5th Div HQ Kurkish
1st bde E Diyala
-1st
-2nd
-3rd
2nd bde Baqubah
-1st NE of Baqubah
-2nd Balad Ruz
-3rd ?
-4th Muqdadiyah
3rd bde
-2nd ?

7th division HQ Ramadi
1st bde Ramadi
-1st Ramadi
-2nd Ramadi
-3rd W Ramadi
2nd bde AlAsad
-1st Hit
-2nd Hadditha
-3rd Rawah
3rd Bde Western Anbar. 3 battalions
-1 in Karabiah, probably 1 in Rutbah

8th div HQ: Diwaniyah
1st bde Diwaniyah
-1st Diwaniyah
-2nd Najaf
2nd bde Hilla
-1st Hilla
-2nd ?
3rd bde Kut
-1st ?
-2nd ?
-3rd Suwaryah
4th Bde Haswah
-1st Jurf al Sakor
-2nd Iskanderiyah

10th Div HQ Basrah: to be 10 battalions total by June06. 4 bde total, 1 bde for each province: Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar, Muthanna.


6th division
I think the 6th bde has been deleted. Last I read there would only be 5 bdes.

I think that does it for the Army. Should be a total of 37 bde and 110 battalions

Posted by cjr at March 16, 2006 6:21 PM ET:

dj elliott

3rd bde / 9th div:
to be 1xbat T55, 2xbat BMP1

4th bde / 6th div:
4 battalions total

4th division
I dont this there is a 4th bde. I have:
1st bde Tikrit
2nd bde Kirkuk
3rd bde Sulumanyah

1st bde / 1st Division
-1st bat
-2nd bat
-3rd bat

Posted by cjr at March 16, 2006 6:26 PM ET:

dj elliott:

Swiss shipment of 180 x M113 was cancelled.

Posted by dj elliott at March 16, 2006 6:59 PM ET:

- "Canx" means canceled ("Swiss 180x M113 transfer was canx.")
- December 30, 2005 News Briefing with Maj. Gen. Webster was source of 6th Bde/6 Div:
"The Iraqi security forces in Baghdad during this period have increased tenfold. They are now in charge of 60 percent of the city, with support from us. When we arrived, there was one Iraqi army battalion, and now there are 22 in Baghdad, with 12 of them in charge of their own areas of operations. And now there's an Iraqi division, the 6th Division of the Iraqi army, and he has six brigades for him and working for us."
It may have changed since then. I have seen no further reporting on it.

Posted by GK at March 16, 2006 7:31 PM ET:

So when do we win?

Posted by dj elliott at March 16, 2006 7:50 PM ET:

We win when we kill the enemys propaganda service (PRESS). Until then we are screwed.

Previous Iraqi-US Air Assault operations the press ignored.

Extract from:
U.S., Iraqi Troops Score Successes
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, March 10, 2006 ?


"Operation Glory Light" was designed to deny terrorists sanctuary and preempt enemy attacks in the Baghdad area. The week-long operation was launched March 2 with a joint air assault by U.S. and Iraqi troops into the Sadr-Yusufiyah area by soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division soldiers.

Following the air assault, the soldiers were attacked by indirect and small arms fire. They also discovered a roadside bomb. Soldiers from the 6th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions then moved into position to clear, search and secure roads and houses in the town. March 5-6, the 9th uncovered nine weapons caches, consisting of 131 mortar rounds, nine 50 mm mortars, 17 rockets, two rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, six AK-47 rifles, two BKC machine guns, and a large amount of bomb-making materials.

In total, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers found 26 roadside bombs, two car bombs and 15 weapons caches. The operation also involved seven firefights with the enemy resulting in the detention of 16 suspected terrorists, two terrorists killed and one wounded, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Extract from:

U.S. Army and Iraqi soldiers look out the rear of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter as they are extracted after completing a mission to detain or eliminate insurgent activity southwest of Samarra, Iraq, on Feb. 27, 2006. U.S. Army soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment and Iraqi army soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Iraqi Division were airlifted to and from objectives during the combined-joint operation. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Alfred Johnson, U.S. Army. (Released)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


This was the first US-Iraqi mission

Extract from:

November 23, 2005

Release A051123e

Air assault mission takes down terrorist stronghold

TIKRIT, Iraq - A joint Iraqi and U.S. mission against a terrorist hideout near Bayji uncovered a large amount of money and weapons.

The operation named Old Baldy was launched Nov. 21 by Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and "Rakkasans" from the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. More than 30 suspected terrorists and a large cache of money, weapons and material were captured during the operation.

The air assault mission was centered on al Bayji Island, a 10 square kilometer land mass splitting the Tigris River north of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown. The island has served as an isolated hideout for terrorists and criminals in the past.

According to Lt. Col. Randy George, commander of Task Force Leader...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


V/r Dorlon Jay Elliott, IS1(SW), USN(Ret), Westminster CO

Posted by cjr at March 16, 2006 8:34 PM ET:

dj elliott
RE: 6th bde / 6th div
I read that also. The reason I said 5 bde's is because, a few weeks ago, in a press conference, some general said something like "4 brigades IA brigades in Bagdad now control their battle space. There will be 5 total".
So, there are conficting reports......

Posted by Bill Roggio at March 16, 2006 8:39 PM ET:

dj elliott,

I covered Glory Light on the 5th of March: http://billroggio.com/archives/2006/03/air_assault_in_the_t.php

As well as this one in the second week of February: http://billroggio.com/archives/2006/02/counterinsurgency_op_2.php

Old Baldy on the Nov 23, 2005... http://billroggio.com/archives/2005/11/operational_issues.php

I stopped looking after that...

Posted by HK_Vol at March 16, 2006 8:52 PM ET:

Has anyone broken down the US casualties by area in the past few months?
To me at least, it appears that 90+% of all Coaltion casualties are within a 50 mile radius of Baghdad, thus implying the remainder of the country has become quite safe for the average Iraqi, who now receives 13+ hours of electricity per day. Anyone done the numbers? Am I off?
I use casualty data from:
www.icasualties.org
Electricity data here:
http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rpt/iraqstatus/2006/c16536.htm

I also note that hostile casualties have been steadily dropping on a 52 week moving basis for nearly 6 months now. Positive news that is once again not reported.

Posted by Mike E at March 16, 2006 8:53 PM ET:


The assault netted "a number of enemy weapons caches have been captured, containing artillery shells, explosives, IED-making materials, and military uniforms." The inclusion of the military uniforms, while certainly not a new development, serves as a reminder that insurgents are using Iraqi Army and police uniforms, and that some of the reported sectarian-related violence may in fact be initiated by the insurgency to discredit the Iraqi security forces and stir up ethnic tensions.

This really supports the theory that the "Police commando death squads" in Iraq were really Sunni insurgents, dressed as security forces, klling Sunnis.

Posted by Marlin at March 16, 2006 8:56 PM ET:

Residents in the area of the assault reported a heavy U.S. and Iraqi troop presence and said large explosions could be heard in the distance. American forces routinely blow up structures they suspect as insurgent safe-houses or weapons depots. It was not known if they met any resistance, but the military reported detaining 41 people.

[...]

Many operations in Iraq since then - in such cities as Fallujah, Ramadi and Najaf - have included far more troops. But none has involved such a large force moved in by air. Some 650 U.S. and 800 Iraqi troops were participating Thursday.

[...]

Presidential security adviser Lt. Gen. Wafiq al-Samaraei said the operation was targeting "a bunch of strange criminals who came from outside the country and among them a bunch of Iraqi criminals who help them."

AP: U.S., Iraq Launch Massive Air Assault

Posted by dj elliott at March 16, 2006 9:01 PM ET:

My comment about the lack of reporting was directed to the MSM (Fox included).
Here they are reporting this as a first
when Fox had a video from an inbed on their web site of one of those ops...
This must have been a slow news day for the MSM.

Posted by dj elliott at March 16, 2006 9:08 PM ET:

Todays Baghdad brief addressed the casualty rates. Seeing a targeting shift to soft-targets by terrs (civilians).
http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/

Posted by Jamison1 at March 16, 2006 9:35 PM ET:

dj elliott,

Don't make too much of it. March is always a low month for US casulties.

Posted by k. pablo at March 16, 2006 9:45 PM ET:

Operation Shawarma? nyuk, nyuk....

Posted by dj elliott at March 16, 2006 10:18 PM ET:

It is probable that the 4th Bde/4th Div was reassigned. All of my references on that one are prior to consolidation of ING with IA.

Remarks as delivered by Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste to Soldiers of the 1st and 42nd Infantry Divisions, Forward Operating Base Danger, Iraq Monday, February 14, 2005.

"Iraqi's continue to improve their Joint Coordination Centers and produce
security force formations that are getting better and better. The insurgents
know they are fighting a losing war because Iraqi soldiers and policemen
continue to grow in number and effectiveness. For example, the 4th Iraqi
Army Division is well led by LTG Abdul Aziz, a man of courage and conviction
who is dedicated to freedom, an integrated society, and the value of every
human being. LTG Aziz has adopted a fitting motto for his division --
'Unity is Strength'. It comes as no surprise that the 4th Iraqi Army Division
with its four brigades and 15 battalions is growing stronger every day.
I predict that the Iraqi army, just like the American military, will be the
institution that integrates Iraq's diverse ethnicities. The Iraqi people can
be very proud of their security forces. LTG Aziz, thank you for your service
to your country."