Monthly Archives: May 2005

al Qaeda in Iraq: Next in Line

al Qaeda in Iraq: Next in Line The Times Online reports Zarqawi was seriously wounded as he fled the battlefield during Operation Matador. According to an ‘insurgent commander’; “Shrapnel went in between the right shoulder and his chest, ripped it open and is still stuck in there.” He is believed to have been taken to […]

Zarqawi Successors

Conflicting reports of the status of al Qaeda commander in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi abound. Egyptian blogger Hammorabi reports Zarqawi is dead and his family in Jordan is preparing his funeral (note: Hammorabi has been accurate in the past, he led on the news of Zarqawi being wounded). Al Qaeda in Iraq claims all is […]

The Dogs of War

While the media continues to press for American self-flagellation over supposed flushing of Qur’ans in Gitmo (which by the way has no basis in fact), our enemies in Iraq continue to act in the most depraved manner. We already know insurgent snipers intentionally target doctors and journalists. Their training materials explicitly state this. Their selection […]

The Struggle for Zarqawi’s Throne

The Iraqi government seems to be reasonably convinced Zarqawi has been seriously wounded. If this is indeed the case, how will al Qaeda in Iraq handle the transition from Zarqawi to his successor? As Dan Darling astutely pointed out last night, it might get messy as various factions, from the foreign al Qaeda elements to […]

Zarqawi: “Chest Pains” and More Middlemen

Rumors on the status of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi continue to swirl. Earlier this week it was believed he suffered a gut shot. The latest has Zarqawi fleeing the country with a serious chest wound: An Islamic Web site statement claimed Wednesday that Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s point man in Iraq, has fled to a “neighboring […]

Operation New Market Commences in Haditha

Operation New Market has commenced in the city of Haditha. The city is strategically located on the Euphrates River; it sits at the midpoint between Baghdad and Qaim on the Syrian border, as well as at the crossroads to a major highway to Mosul in the north. Wretchard’s prediction and explanation of The River War […]

Back to the Wild West of Anbar Province

In an article titled “Insurgents Flourish in Iraq’s Wild West” , the Los Angeles Times offers a bleak assessment of the availability of Coalition and Iraqi forces in the Anbar province. While the Marines involved in Operation Matador were able to easily sweep through Western Iraq and kill and capture al Qaeda members, they have […]

Wounded Z, Revisited

Rumors that al Qaeda’s Commander in Iraq Abu Musab al Zarqawi has been wounded prior to and during Operation Matador are beginning to resurface. When Zarqawi’s lap top was seized, it was believed he was taking painkillers while recovering “from a wound to his stomach.” A week ago Zarqawi was reported to have visited a […]

Iraq Updates

I’ve posted two updates over at Winds of Change.NET on Iraq: Wounded Z, Revisited discusses reports of on an al Qaeda website that Zarqawi needs your prayers. Infiltrating the Iraqi Insurgency follows up on Operation Squeeze Play and the possibility that the insurgency has been penetrated by Iraqi agents.

Infiltrating the Iraqi Insurgency

There are no significant follow up reports on the military operations south and west of Baghdad conducted over the past two days. Omar from Iraq The Model provides some detail from Al-Iraqia TV broadcasts. According to Omar, Operation Squeeze Play was executed primarily by Iraqi forces and was highly successful, with the number of insurgents […]

Squeeze Play

Persistent military pressure is a vital part of defeating the Iraqi insurgency. A question that occasionally emerges after a significant combat operation in Iraq is: Are there enough combat forces available to sustain persistent operations against the insurgency? While there may not be enough American forces in Iraq to effectively execute each and every operation, […]

Snipers and the Targeting of Journalists

How has the enemy developed its tactics in Iraq? DefenseTech points us to a PowerPoint presentation for insurgent sniper training (the HTML version is available for those without PowerPoint). The presentation has some tried and true tactics for all snipers: target officers, communications and heavily armed soldiers; do not engage overly superior forces; target high […]

The State of the Insurgency

How is the insurgency faring as a political entity, and what are their chances at defeating the democratically elected government and driving the Americans from Iraqi soil? Last weekend the New York Times published an article by James Bennett titled “The Mystery of the Insurgency” which asserts the Iraqi insurgency has no real political base […]

The Scattering

The fallout of Operation Matador rains down in Northwestern Iraq along Mosul – Tal Afar axis, another ratline that most be severed in order to defeat the foreign support for the insurgency. After completing operations in the area on May 10, further efforts are made to uproot terrorists and interdict fighters fleeing from Qaim. Joint […]

Fight Amongst Yourselves Redux

Further evidence surfaces of the conflicts between the local Iraqi tribes in Western Iraq and the foreign terrorists of al Qaeda. Knight Ridder reports the local Iraqi tribes of Albu Mahal and Albu Nimr, some of whom have been active in the insurgency, became disgusted at the methods of the jihadis and tried to fight […]


Undercutting the middle management of terrorist groups is an important tool in disrupting the leadership and operations of the organization. In Org Chart we looked at the effect Coalition operations have had on al Qaeda in Iraq’s leadership. While the senior-most leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq (Zarqawi, his deputy, media and military commanders, as […]

The Message

“People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?” – Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita on the unnamed source who reported Qur’ans were desecrated in Camp X-Ray The Newsweek report of Qur’ans being flushed down the toilet in Guantanamo Bay to “torture” al Qaeda inmates was based […]

Wounded Z?

Rumors that al Qaeda in Iraq Commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been wounded in combat during the battles in Qaim have taken on a new life. Early last week an Iraqi officer reported Zarqawi was seriously wounded, if not dead already. The Times Online has details of the purported visit by Zarqawi to a hospital […]

Mission Completed?

The US military has released a statement that Operation Matador is over: “Marines, sailors and soldiers from Regimental Combat Team-2, 2nd Marine Division successfully completed Operation Matador today, concluding a seven-day operation securing objectives in and around the Euphrates River cities of Karabilah, Ramana and Ubaydi, near the Syrian border,” a statement said. The curious […]

Fight Amongst Yourselves

US Marines have encircled the town of Ubaydi and are beginning to root out the insurgents. In the town of Qaim, an interesting development has emerged. The insurgents are preparing for an American assualt on the city by creating checkpoints and fighting positions. It was reported earlier that the leaders of Qaim requested American intervention, […]

Fire at Will

The hunt for al Qaeda continues in Pakistan. Less than two weeks after the capture of senior al Qaeda operative Abu Farraj al-Libbi, yet another operative has been taken down in Pakistan (hat tip to Justin C.): Haitham al-Yemeni, a native of Yemen known for his bomb-making skills, had been tracked for some time in […]


The media reports from Matador have been confused at best during the course of the operation. Initial reports indicated combat occurred only north of the Euphrates River, while later accounts indicated the push occurred both north and south of the river, driving east to west. At no point was this anomaly explained and there were […]

Org Chart

Note: The Organizational Chart for al Qaeda in Iraq is now avaliable for viewing, click here to see the PDF. The document is also available for download via The Counterterrorism Blog. Evan Kohlmann of Global Terror Alert and The Counterterrorism Blog has allowed me to preview a graphic of the organizational structure of al Qaeda […]

Zarqawi: All’s Well in Qaim and Elsewhere

Al Qaeda’s Commander in Iraq weighs in the events of the past several days, including the operations in Western Iraq, the arrest of his lieutenant and the reports of the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq. Evan Kohlmann provides translations for the communiqu

Pushing Westward, Winning Hearts and Minds

“We are glad the Americans are here.” The Marines’ drive westward in Operation Matador appears to be almost complete. Solomon Moore, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, describes the tragic death of Marines from Lima Company of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment (3/25) whose amphibious vehicle was struck by either a landmine or IED. […]

Another Ratline

Operation Matador has yielded little new information in the past 24 hours (Chester provides a roundup of some available news). The Washington Post rehashes the fierce fight in between Marines and terrorists in Ubaydi. This story has repeatedly made the rounds, and with a title of “Demise of a Hard-Fighting Squad” and a byline of […]

Grist for the Mill

Captain’s Quarters links to an Adkronos International article stating Zarqawi may have been seriously wounded or perhaps killed during Operation Matador. The source is an Iraqi Colonel: The Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is “serious injured, possibly dead” according to Colonel Fouad Hani Hassan, commander of the fifth division of the Iraqi armed forces, cited […]

Foreign Elements

The Marines are methodically pushing westward, conducting detailed searches in the towns along the Euphrates. The Marines are driving the insurgents and terrorists towards the blocking force of the Marines in the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment in Qaim and the platoon(s) providing over watch along the ridge overlooking Rabit. Col. Bob Chase reports the local […]

The Matador’s Sword

Click this link to see the map of the area of operations. This map highlights (in pink) the towns where fighting was reported and was shamelessly copied from Belmont Club. Operation Matador is being carried out by three companies of Marines with an attached armored company, making it an armored battalion (Chester has more on […]

Bringing It On

The Coalition effort to interdict, deny and destroy the insurgent’s capabilities in the Western regions of Iraq bordering Syria is dubbed Operation Matador. Colonel Bob Chase, the chief of operations for the Second Marine Division, reports that insurgents are standing their ground and fighting, and all the better: “When we get there, they are deciding […]