Battle along the Northern Ratline

U.S. and Iraqi forces have launched the largest operation since Fallujah last November. Over 5,000 U.S. and Iraq troops strike at the town of Tal Afar, which is located west of Mosul, along the northern ratline from Syria. The insurgents have taken heavy casualties, and U.S. Army helicopter pilots are learning to spot IED deployments via air, and react accordingly.

During the course of the day, at least 30 insurgents were killed as U.S. troops conducted house-to-house searches in the baking sun. Apache attack helicopters that circled the city of 250,000 all day killed 27 people, including eight who were attempting to conceal roadside bombs in old tires, commanders said. No American or Iraqi army casualties were reported.

While the composition of the force is unclear, it appears at least two Iraqi Army battalions are in the fight. They were airlifted by Iraqi Air Force C-130 transports several days ago (see the one sentence blurb at the end of this AP report). The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is also engaged in Tal Afar. There are likely five to six battalions participating (Iraqi battalions are about 600 to 800 men strong).

As the Washington Post points out, Tal Afar is a contested town, and has been the subject of repeated cordon and search operations. The effort to fully secure the town has not yet been made. While this is pure speculation, the size of the assault team and the inclusion of Iraqi Army units indicates a significant force ( a battalion or greater – about 1,000 men) may remain to secure the city. If true, this might indicate a transition from the harassing operations to clear and hold operations, a crucial step to securing the peace and defeating the insurgency.

Whether or not Coalition troops remain in force in Tal Afar, the Coalition still maintains the initiative in western and northern Iraq (see The Anbar Campaign for a list of successive operations). As the Anbar Campaign has shown, insurgent IEDs or suicide attacks cannot prevent the U.S. military from operating at the time and place of their choosing.

Iraqi Army units are now entering the fight with significant formations capable of independent operations. During the operations along the Euphrates, typically an Iraqi Army company was embedded within a Marine battalion. In Tal Afar, two Iraqi battalions have been deployed, using their own airlift. The times are changing, and al Qaeda and the insurgents’ comfort zone is slowly shrinking.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

75 Comments

  • 5,000 U.S.-Iraqi troops enter Tal Afar

    On Friday, more than 5,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops moved into Tal Afar before sunrise and engaged in a day long firefight with insurgents in the city. During the course of the day, at least 30 insurgents were killed as U.S. troops conducted house-to-hous…

  • hamidreza says:

    Thank you Bill for being the only blog that is tracking such critical military developments, and reporting such developments to readers.
    I hope your speculation is correct, as the positioning of a battalion of Iraqi troops, after the cordon and search is over, will probably be a first in Iraq (outside of a Baghdad and Mosul), and have a material negative impact on the insurgency.
    This new military development, along with the political development going on in Baghdad should send a strong signal to the less committed and less ideologically driven Sunnis such as nationalists and Baathists that the payoff would be greater if they participate through legitimate political action (such as voting down the Constitution).
    Again, I float the idea that the Iraqi government should declare the policy that all oil monies will be distributed equally to each and every Iraqi, and directly to that Iraqi, as opposed to funding the central or local governments. This will remove the mistrust, cynicism, and outright hostility that Sunnis and others may have regarding the ownership of oil, which unfortunately is inseperably entangled with the question of Arab identity in Iraq.
    There is no better way to buy the allegiance of the citizens by paying them their fair and equal share of the oil income, directly on a monthly basis, coupled with open and transparent accounting of oil income and costs.

  • hamidreza says:

    It should be further mentioned that with oil at $70 a barrel and Iraq sitting on top of 150 bbls of oil and humongous amounts of natural gas, a simple calculation will show that each and every Iraqi household (of 8 persons), is the legal owner of $ 4,000,000 of underground resources. A method has to be found that immediately and quickly realizes some of these assets and passes them on to the citizens, free of the corruptive practices so prevalent in that part of the world.
    If Iraqi oil exports can be raised to 6 mbd, and oil stays at $70 with production costs at $3, then each and every Iraqi household (of 8 persons) can receive a check for $3,700 per month. This should have the effect of immediately quashing this idiotic insurgency for good.
    The government should receive its budget from taxes, user fees, and loans from banks, and not from oil income or customs and duties.

  • ‘Largest operation since Fallujah’

    A significant operation is underway in Iraq to cut off the terrorist supply-line from Syria.

  • ET says:

    Another excellent article, Bill. You blow away MSM.
    Hamidreza, I don’t see your oil redistribution plan working. The proposal does not seem much different than communist economic policies (in theory) which time and again are failures in the real world, not just economically but they are corrupt morally, too. The ownership of the facilities and reserves should be a factor in who receives income from the product, and just living in Iraq may not be the proper or even enough justification to entitle a person to a piece of ownership. Also, how would a central government receive funds to operate and provide essentials (e.g., infrastructure and defense) usually expected by its citizens if it did not have funds to do so? Your simplistic proposal faces too many problems in the real world to be a reasonable proposition. I think the citizens are going to have to find jobs and work to survive.

  • ricksamerican says:

    Excellent post as usual, Bill. I am reminded that on Aug. 17, you wrote: “I am of the mind the ops tempo will pick up in late August or sometime afterwards.”
    This looks like it. Not bad, Bill. Thanks for all of your work keeping up on this for the rest of us–no one else seems to have the same focus and tenacity.

  • Dawn Patrol

    Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics – from the MilBlogs, other blogs, and the mainstream media. If you’re a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link…

  • legion says:

    Good post, Bill. People need to know that there is a method behind the madness. Otherwise the lame steaming media will propagandize the entire war to futile oblivion.
    Oil redistribution is a sure route to lazy pampered incompetent citizens. Oil is a curse to countries that nationalize the industry and redistribute the profits as a welfare scheme. All the oil rich arab countries are cursed cesspools with incompetent citizenry. They all import their workers from abroad, to do all the real work, and their own citizens are incapable of lifting a hand. Pathetic.

  • Tall Afar

    With all of the news about Katrina, the news about all three of the suspects (Deepak Kalpoe, 18, and Satish Kalpoe, 21, and Joran van der Sloot, 18) getting out of jail in Aruba) did not even get much publicity, so I am not surprised that nothing was s…

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Thanks for the kind words everyone.
    ricksamerican, I’m not popping any corks on the champaign just yet. There is still the matter of the Euphrates. Tal Afar and the increased tempo of ops in Qaim is a good start.
    Concerning oil wealth distribution, I am not entirely against this. If done properly, it can work. Perhaps place moneys into funds for individual education, home & business grants, etc. But definitely not a direct payout.

  • mirco says:

    The distribution of the oil money (o part of it) could simply be linked to behaviour.
    All citizen are entitled of their share.
    Their are stripped of the entitlement (forever or for a limited time) as they are find guilty of criminal acts.

  • legion says:

    Again, direct redistribution entitlements to citizens is a horrible idea–a sure route to societal laziness and incompetence. Much better to use the assets to improve national infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, roads, oil pipelines and ports, national security, and incentives to private groups to stimulate the local economy, create new industries and commerce to shift the economic emphasis away from oil as virtually the sole economic support of the country.
    Oil is a curse unless it is viewed as a temporary bridge to assist the transition to a post-oil economy. Improve the human capital. Cash entitlements tend to destroy human capital.

  • Kartik says:

    Here is an article from Yahoo news about the same Tal Afar fight :
    //news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050903/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_050903081159
    Yahoo news tends to be ridiculously biased, but what are your thoughts on this?

  • Enigma says:

    What bias are you referring to, Kartik?
    Insurgents launched a series of assaults Saturday in a province north of Baghdad, killing at least 20 Iraqi security forces, officials said.
    The insurgents are on the offensive, not the Coalition. The insurgency maintains the strategic initiative.
    Nine policemen died in a pair of shootouts in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, officials said. Six policemen and two soldiers were killed in another gunbattle in Buhriz, a suburb of Baqouba, officials said. Three Iraqi soldiers also died Saturday when their convoy was attacked by gunmen near Adhaim, 30 miles north of Baqouba, police Col. Abdullah Qadir said.
    The insurgents are unstopppable. The Iraqi security forces aren’t up to the task.
    Hospital officials said they were unsure of casualties because it was too dangerous for ambulances to reach the area.
    Civilians are being killed in droves, probably by Coalition air strikes.
    Sunnis fear establishment of a Shiite federated state would deprive them of oil wealth from the south, open the door to Iranian influence and lead to the disintegration of the state.
    Because there is no possibility of influence going the other way. A democratic Iraq can not possibly be a positive influence on Iran.
    “We condemn the view that the (U.S.-led) occupation’s existence is beneficial for the Iraqi people because if it ended, there would be sectarian war – as if sectarian war has not already begun,” al-Sadr said in a sermon Friday
    I don’t see any bias in this article. It all looks perfectly reasonable to me. That is, it would look reasonable if bloggers like Bill weren’t working as hard as they do to get the facts out that our media won’t report.

  • Enigma says:

    My favorite line from the article is this:
    U.S. and Iraq troops clashed with insurgents near the northern city of Tal Afar.
    The largest operation since Fallujah is a clash? I take this to mean that the operation is in fact going very well. I hate to be so cynical about the media, but with reporting like this, how can one be anything but cynical?

  • maggie katzen says:

    legion reminded me of a joke i heard last week:
    an American, a German, and a Saudi were asked “is sex fun or work?”
    The American was very clear that it was fun.
    The German spoke seriously of the duty, the work, to continue the race.
    The Saudi agonized over the decision, muttering to himself. Eventually, he said “It must be fun. If it was work, I would hire a
    Pakistani to do it.”

  • vucommodore says:

    Bill:
    Someday you’re going to have to join the real world.
    If no progress against the insurgency has been made in the past 2 years, it’s not suddenly going to change today especially with the Sunnis not agreeing to the Charter.
    Stop living in a dream world

  • Kartik says:

    Vu,
    It is rather strange to say Bill is in a dream world, when each of his articles is supported by maps and many sources.
    You, on the other hand, have no such support, and merely appear to be making an emotional outburst. This too is due to Bill telling you yesterday to get out into the real world – you merely project the same back without even being creative.
    Now, if you have detailed proof, with many links and maps, that indicate how we have made no progress in 2 years, I will read it.

  • hamidreza says:

    vucommodore, its amazing to see how the western reactionary left take pleasure in this idiotic insugency of fascists and religious thugs, and wish that the American liberal democratic project to fail.
    The difference today from 2 years ago is that 150,000 Iraqi security forces have been trained, and this force will put a stop to the thuggery and opportunism of a few gun and bazooka toting idiots and their western reactionary leftist supporters ideologically allied to them.
    The Islamist fascists, both Sunni and Shiite, in the past 12 months have lost Karbala, Najaf, Fallujah, Qaim, Mosul, and most of Baghdad. They have thrown in the towel by agreeing to participate in the elections. Tel Afar is next, and by Bill’s analysis, is now permanently in the bag.
    Its pathetic to see western reactionary leftists gloat over a serious defeat to fascism whom they wish to portray as a legitimate stand-off.
    What happened to Spain 1936 where the leftists, true to their enlightened heritage, went to stop fascism? Now 70 years later we see the new kitsch leftists cozy up with the most reactionary forces of national socialism and religious fascism to surface on this planet. Falsely gloat away and stop trolling you.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Vu,
    Here is a link to yesterday’s Al Queda In Iraq press release. They claim there is a conspiracy against them and wait for it….they fired off a single mortar at an American stronghold.(They left out the fact that they missed there target)
    //siteinstitute.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=publications90705&Category=publications&Subcategory=0
    Here is a link to yesterdays Ansar Al Sunnah press release…they shot at a helicopter in Mosul thursday, and set off an IED on Friday in Mosul and they shot at a sniper in Sammarra.(They left out the fact that the helicopter shot back and the fact that hitting someone wearing Body Armor is not quite the same as killing them)
    //siteinstitute.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=publications90805&Category=publications&Subcategory=0

  • vucommodore says:

    hamidreza: I’m not taking pride in anything. I am being realistic. There’s a huge difference between supporting the enemy and being realistic. When I see an agreement on a constitution and a significant decline in attacks due to it, I will conclude that progess is being made. But until then, I’m forced to be a realist.
    Kartik:
    Here is the proof that no progress has been made in Iraq.
    //www.icasualties.org
    If you look at the numbers, they have not declined. If you look at the locations of the casualties, they are almost all in locations where operations have already been conducted like Samarra, Fallujah, etc. The insurgency has not been eliminated in one single Sunni muslim city or one single part of the Sunni Triangle. The only progess that has been made the entire War was against Sadr last year but even he seems to be rising again. A bit of progess was being made on the political front but now it is hugely disappointing that the different parties cannot set aside their differences for the good of Iraq.
    Showing these maps of the operation is proof that NO progess has been made because operations have been conducted in Tal Afar before and now they have to be conducted again. If there had been any progess in Tal Afar before, the city would be secure.

  • vucommodore says:

    The War in Iraq may have been lost this week on the Gulf Coast. The Commander of the Louisiana National Guard said in an interview with WDSU
    TV New Orleans this morning that the Louisiana Guard’s response was constrained by the fact that so many of their resources were deployed in Iraq. I will post a link when I find one.
    The most important aspect of winning this war is keeping up public support and the fact that the National Guard has been stretched so thin is not likely to look very good to the American public.

  • Enigma says:

    vu,
    If you continue to make the specious argument that ongoing casualties equates to no progress, then there is no point trying to reason with you any further.
    Some Thoughts on Casualties in Times of War and Peace
    Of Minds and Metrics

  • vucommodore says:

    Enigma: The National Review is not a credible news source. It is a bunch of ideologs that don’t know what’s going on.
    The Commander of the Louisiana National Guard is a hell of a better source to know what’s going on.
    Enigma:
    Not just the casualties show no progess but the fact that the casualties are occurring in the exact same cities that we have conducted numerous operations in and should have been pacified a long time ago. The failure to properly rid even one Sunni city of insurgents show the failure.

  • Justin Capone says:

    vucommodore,
    Your a fool if you think body counts determine success or failure in an insurgent war.
    All we need to do is to create an inclusive government, and if the Sunnis vote in December it will be. The Constitution is just the icing on the cake, I am pretty sure it will be passed even without changes (but as of today deep discussions are going on to change the wording to make the Sunnis happier).
    //english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/8F645DDD-5255-4C6F-9918-F898D18B42A3.htm
    Once you have a government with support from every major community in Iraq all we they need is about a 300,000 strong army and police force (that is able to self build) to maintain order. That day is coming in about a year from today. And, by that time we can remove most of our forces and leave behind special forces and aircraft for the Iraqis to use as backup.

  • hamidreza says:

    vucommodore, obviously you are unfamiliar with the Iraqi realities to troll that the idiotic insurgency is continuing unabated.
    icasaulties.org is claiming that US casualties are significantly down. If you remove the non-hostile casualties (you know, like car accidents), and take out the one incidence of 18 Marines being killed due to a single IED, an unlikely and singluar event, you will see that according to icasualties.org the number of US deaths have significantly declined from about 65 a month on the average in 2004 and up to June 2005, to 50 a month in July and August, and to 30 or less projected for September.
    The number of attacks has also declined form 120 a day to about 70, and this after the US has stepped up its anti-insurgency operations in Sunni areas.
    So your assessment of on the ground realities is seriously flawed.
    Did you not read Bill’s writeup about a battalion of Iraqi soldiers (about 900) being stationed in Tel Afar? What do you have to say about Karbala, Najaf, Fallujah, Qaim, Mosul and most of Baghdad which were overrun by the murderous thugs and now are safely in Coalition hands? Even Eskandarieyh, Yousefiyyeh and Mahmoudiyeh are quiet.
    Its so obvious that you wish the US to pullout from Iraq so your ideological brethren, the national socialist Baathists and the Islamic fascist Salafis can go and slaughter the seculars, liberals, non-Muslims, and democratic minded citizens of Iraq. I suppose enslaving and objectifying women, beheading dissenters and critics of Islam, stoning homosexuals, and instituting torture chambers and political prisons, squares well with the agenda of the reactionary western leftist.
    Read
    //www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0393057755/qid=1125258232/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-7848969-6080915?v=glance&s=books
    to fathom the extent of your historic betrayal of the 3rd World (Rwanda, Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine, and now Sudan, Iran, Egypt). Its tragic.

  • vucommodore says:

    Justin:
    I agree with you. When the Sunnis agree to the Charter, vote and join and processs, the situation will greatly improve. You’re talking about a year from now when I’m talking about today. TODAY, there is no inclusive constitution and no constitution that all the groups can agree on.

  • vucommodore says:

    Everyone here is on the far right fringe of politics. The centre is starting to see through America’s Emperor Nero.

  • Justin Capone says:

    vucommodore,
    And, I am saying the Constitution doesn’t matter much. All that matters is if the Sunnis vote in the next two elections. I think the Constitution may very well be tweeked enough so it won’t be voted down in any of the provinces. However, even if it wasn’t tweeked according to everyone I have talked too the Sunnis don’t have nearly enough to veto this thing and they are too divided with some tribes already ok with it.
    I have never been one to put alot of importance in the Constitution itself. I am pretty sure it will pass, but that is not what I think is important.
    The December 15th election are what I consider to be important. If the Sunnis vote they will have representation and we will likely see a secular Shia like Allawi take the PM ship. Representation and the feeling they don’t have a pro-Iranian, anti Sunni government anymore will really cause a sea change in the Sunni community.

  • vucommodore says:

    How can the constitution not matter? It forms the basis of all the laws and distribution of power and wealth in the country. It’s very important. The Sunnis voting in the elections is also hugely important.
    A lot of people are also overlooking Sadr and the fact that he is giving out a lot of welfare and increasing his popular support. Something has to be done about Sadr so he doesn’t cause trouble in the Shiite areas and make this bad situation a hell of a lot worse.

  • Justin Capone says:

    I am not saying it doesn’t matter period, but what I am saying is that the Constitution as written (before being tweeked) is not bad enough to the Sunnis even if it gets passed without any changes to get them to give up on the political process and not vote in December.
    Basically, if it is passed without any changes they will scream, they will yell, but at the end of the day they would still vote in December as well.
    If the Constitution is changed enough to make a few of the Sunni parties to come on board that is the best case sitution.
    If the Constitution is rejected (which I see is the least likely of the three possibilities), then the Sunnis would be happy as hell with the political process, but the Shia and Kurd’s wouldn’t be that happy. However, Telebani and Sistani have enough sway with the Shia and Kurds to keep them with the political process. And, I would predict a lesser Shia and Kurd turn out along with a massive Sunni turn out in December, which might not be the perfect sitution, but would still work in our favor.
    Sadr is an annoyance that grows as discontent in the Shia community grows with the current moronic government. Much of the air will be sucked out of Sadr’s ballon if the Constitution and December elections are successful, because I suspect we will get a much smarter and better governmental structure that doesn’t rely on loser exiles from Iran.

  • Justin Capone says:

    I should also say that there are still three ways we could lose.
    1. We cut and run early.
    2. Zarqawi explodes a chemical bomb on Najaf (like he tried to do in Amman last year) killing thousands including Sistani. In which case civil war breaks out and the Shia do to the Sunnis what they had done to them by Saddam. This is the possibility I worry most about right now, because I can just see the scumbag trying it and I know he has been thinking about it.
    3. The Sunnis boycott the elections like they did in January.
    The third possibility would be very bad, but not horrific as it would leave us right where we are now, dependent on the military solution of putting enough Iraqi troops in Anbar and other Sunni areas to keep the Sunnis down when we leave.

  • Hyscience says:

    Iraq: Battle along the Northern Ratline

    Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail (much more commentary) posts on the largest U.S. and Iraqi forces operation launched since Fallujah last November. “Over 5,000 U.S. and Iraq troops strike at the town of Tal Afar, which is located west of Mosul, along the…

  • vucommodore says:

    …Or if the American people decide that Louisiana and Mississippi is a better place for the troops than than Iraq
    I was very naive in thinking that the aid in Mississippi was adequate just because it wasn’t on TV. Mississippi is not getting adequate aid either and saw no federal response until 4 days after the storm either. A lack of clean water in one of the shelters has caused an outbreak of dysentry. Dead bodies are all over and people are concerned that they are going to cause disease while 40% of Mississippi’s nation guard is currently deployed in Iraq. I wonder if Republicans are going to blame “state and local officials” for the disaster in Mississippi too.

  • Kartik says:

    I am still surprised that we have not managed to kill/capture Zarqawi yet. If he were eliminated, our objectives would take a huge leap forward, and Al-Qaeda will suffer its biggest blow to date.

  • Super 6 says:

    V’dore, again I say stay on topic or start your own personal Hurricane blog elsewhere. I have family in western Iraq and come here for the news that is lacking in the MSM. If I wished to talk hurricanes, I would go to one of the thousands out there. What are you learning at Vandy, it sure isn’t civility……….

  • Kartik says:

    Vucommodore is again attempting to change the subject, after he has been soundly rebutted and defeated in his claim that Bill and the rest of us are ‘living in a dream world’.
    It is sickening to see the Hurricane used in this way, through the maniacal, fanatical desire to suppress any good news about Iraq. This is a new low that leftists have sunk to.

  • Super 6 says:

    My personal theory: When the soon to deploy 101st airborne arrives, they will be used to seal the border area while the Marines and Iraqis push the terrorist into an ever decreasing area. I have even read articles claiming that others soon to deploy are dusting off some old Viet Nam air mobile tactics. It’s been a few weeks, I’ll see if I can still find the links and post them here.

  • Enigma says:

    Enigma: The National Review is not a credible news source. It is a bunch of ideologs that don’t know what’s going on.
    And how’s that different than the rest of the media? Are you saying that the statistics quoted in the article are not true? Are you saying that the Washington Post story referenced in the article is not a credible source? Please provide a list of credible news sources.
    The Commander of the Louisiana National Guard is a hell of a better source to know what’s going on.
    With respect to what? Is he an expert on the Missippi National Guard, or the Alabama National Guard, or the Georgia National Guard, or the Florida National Guard, or of any other National Guard besides his own? Do we listen exclusively to his opinion and disregard the opinions of others such as the chief of the National Guard Bureau?
    Enigma:
    Not just the casualties show no progess but the fact that the casualties are occurring in the exact same cities that we have conducted numerous operations in and should have been pacified a long time ago. The failure to properly rid even one Sunni city of insurgents show the failure.

    It’s still a specious argument. By your logic, the fact that we still have an occasional casualty in Fallujah means that the operation there last year was a failure. I’m sure the residents who lived through Zarqawi’s terror would agree with you. I’m sure the Marines and soldiers who fought there would also agree with you. I’m sure that even Zarqawi himself would agree with you. I’ll bet that bin Laden is ecstatic over the impending failure of the US in Iraq.

  • Super 6 says:

    Enigma stop encouraging the troll……..

  • vucommodore says:

    Enigma:
    Yes, the statistics are very accurate
    30% of Louisiana’s and 40% of Mississippi’s National Guard are deployed in Iraq. That definitely will constrain a response.
    It’s sad that news sources are not credible today. In the past, the networks used to just report the news. There was no political spin put on the Bombing of Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy Assassination. But today, it’s very sad that almost every news organization has a political agenda. I agree with you. In my opinion, there are a few credible news sources left and they are mainly local.
    Super 6:
    Sorry, I will stay on topic from now on. I know I’m wasting space and seem to be “trolling” but I truly believe that the War in Iraq cannot be won without a belief back home that their security is not being compromised. Cutting off the border is the absolute most important thing. These insurgents and terrorists cannot function without supplies. There’s only so far the old crap they looted from Saddam’s bunkers is going to go. Iraqi forces are needed in the Tal Afar and Qaim areas to stop the flow of weapons and foreign fighters. Eventually, the Iraqi government may have to build a fence like we have with Mexico.
    Kartik: I’m not using the hurricane for anything except to express sorrow for those who have died and disgust with those (both Republicans and Democrats) who didn’t properly do their jobs and failed their citizens. One person who has shown himself to be a great leader is Gov. Rick Perry. His National Guard deployed extremely quickly and he has agreed to take most of the refugees. If Texas ever has a disaster, the citizens are under good management.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Kartik,
    I very much doubt he is going to come back to Iraq. He left Iraq after he got dinged in early May and I bet he is operating from Iran or more likely Syria.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Also, I was going to say that I also doubt he will go back into Iraq anytime soon as I been hearing that he has been taking over control of al-Qaeda in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. He is now the most important person in the al-Qaeda network because he controls the jihadist base which is currently in Iraq or trying to get into Iraq (it used to be in Afghanistan) and he who controls the base controls the network.
    Zarqawi from what I have learned from a study on his personality has a massive ego and wants his name to repeated throughout the ages. Currently his name recognition isn’t great compaired with Bin Laden, the media still has to explain who Zarqawi is for the many Americans who are clueless in news articles when they use his name unlike Bin Laden. The same is true if you asked people on the street, I bet most wouldn’t know who he is or if they did they would just know we are fighting him in Iraq.
    Zarqawi is looking at his legacy right now. I don’t think he believes he can win in Iraq, I think his goals lie elsewhere going after Jordan or more likely setting up shop in Africa.
    //news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4185596.stm
    But, I also think he is going to shift many dozen fighters to European countries in the next year and try to pull off the next 911. I think Italy will probably be his prime target for Zarqawi. He isn’t stupid enough to go after the US yet, that would be hard and it would unify America on the War on Terror again and give the president a blank check to hunt him down in whatever country he is being sheltered or hiding.
    ———————————————
    The New Bin Laden?
    Al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, was rumored to be gravely injured or dead just a few months ago. Since then, his organization is believed to have been behind barbaric attacks in Iraq and has even claimed responsibility for a failed rocket assault on a U.S. ship in the Red Sea. It’s hard to separate the man from the mythology, but recent European intelligence reports reviewed by TIME suggest that al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda franchise is expanding far beyond Iraq and that he now rivals Osama bin Laden in influence among Middle Eastern and European jihadists.
    Al-Zarqawi has been overseeing preparations by highly trained operatives for a “large scale” terrorist attack in Europe, the reports claim. In communications with another al-Qaeda leader, he has spoken of sleeper cells in Turkey and Iran. The reports imply that these cells may be in contact with European jihadist groups that previously had no links to al-Qaeda. “The fear is we’ll see these disparate, relatively inexperienced groups around Europe hook up with Afghan-trained terror cells, all under the influence of Zarqawi,” says independent French terrorism expert Roland Jacquard, who says he has seen intelligence similar to that in the reports. “That could reverse the atomization of cells and networks that occurred after the invasion of Afghanistan.”
    European officials say the reports are based in part on U.S. officials’ interrogation of suspected al-Qaeda deputy Abu Faraj al-Libbi, captured last May in Pakistan. (The CIA declined to comment.) Al-Zarqawi has written to al-Libbi about setting up camps in Jordan, Turkey, Syria or Lebanon, European officials say. He hoped the camps would provide instruction in European languages to facilitate jihadi attacks in Iraq and Europe.
    For now, al-Zarqawi is still on the run from U.S. forces. So there are limits to how much global networking he can do. But he is a skilled delegator, says one French official. And he doesn’t even have to contact far-flung cells to influence them; he just has to inspire them from afar. –By Bruce Crumley
    //www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1098950,00.html

  • Enigma says:

    Everyone here is on the far right fringe of politics.
    We’re so far right that we’re shaking hands with Lenin. Any other constructive ideas you wish to present?
    And please stick to the topic. If you have any complaints about the relief effort, there’s plenty of blogs out there that are talking about it. I’m getting sick and tired of listening to people like you complaining about the relief effort. You’re more than welcome to come down here and show us dumb yokels on the Gulf Coast how it’s supposed to be done.
    Yes, there were mistakes, and we need to fix them. There’s plenty of blame to go around at the federal, state, and local levels. And rest assured, those of us affected will hold our politicians accountable. But this is not the time for taking political swipes. Politicizing this disaster shows a callous disregard to what’s really going on. We’re in the midst of one of the worst humantiarian tragedies our country has experienced, and all you people on the left seem to want to do is score points against Bush.
    I have friends in Mississippi that lost everything and are darn lucky to be alive. Many people I know have friends and relatives that were in the hardest hit areas. A lot of people evacuated to our area, and now they have nothing to go back to. And we’re going to be taking in more refugees.
    What Katrina did to LA, MS, and AL, she darn near did to us. My state has been hit hard by six hurricanes in the last 13 months, including Katrina. Our neighbors in LA, MS, GA, AL, and other states came to our aid in our time of need. Repair crews and relief workers from around the country came down here to help us out. And even as we continue the work to recover from the past year’s devastation, we are going to help our neighbors who have been hit so much harder than most of us in Florida can possibly imagine.
    Any and all help is appreciated, but what’s not appreciated is the incessant Bush-bashing over this disaster. For those of you don’t live down here, please be advised that most decisions made regarding hurricane preparation and recovery are local. It isn’t the President that tells us when to evacuate. It isn’t the President that tells us when to board up. It isn’t the President that tells us to stock up on supplies. It isn’t the President that sets our building codes. It isn’t the President that develops our emergency management plans. It is done mostly at the state and local levels because there is no flipping way that anyone at the federal level can possibly know everything that needs to be done in each and every community. Only we ourselves can know that.
    So, if you feel that Bush is personally responsible for the disaster, fine. That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. But please take your opinion elsewhere. It’s not helpful and it’s not appreciated.
    OK, I’m done talking off topic. Sorry about the rant, Bill.

  • vucommodore says:

    Enigma:
    I agree with you. Politicizing a tragedy is terrible. I was just very upset by the whole debacle and the sense of helplessness that it caused. And yes, local officials do handle hurricanes. But this was a disaster on a much larger scope and too big for them to handle. I am not blaming Bush for this. He could not have made the Hurricane turn back. The only comment I’ve made the whole time that faulted Bush was “the buck stops on the President’s desk” which is true.
    Sorry if I have offended you. I was just expressing sorrow and maybe misplaced anger that something better could have been done or more people could have been saved. If I had a boat, I would seriously travel down there to see if I could help. I’m not trying to be political about this, only humanistic.
    I will no longer speak off topic either. No more rants, only intelligent discussion.
    I really don’t believe that significant progess has been made yet because the constituion talks are bogged down and insurgent attacks have not decreased but I think it can be. I think we can probably win this thing in 2-3 years. But these operations don’t seem to be miracle solutions for anything. The magical formula is the political process which is bogged down right now. A real government that Sunni and Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis are proud of is the solution. The proposed constitution actually seems to fit Iraq very well but it is unlikely that the Sunnis would approve it in its current form. Iraq is one country and the Sunnis are entitled to some of the oil wealth even if it does not reside in their province. The supply lines also have to be cut-off.

  • hamidreza says:

    vucommodre: Everyone here is on the far right fringe of politics.
    From where I come from, which is the middle east, siding with the Islamist and fascist suicide killers of Iraq, squarely puts you (vucommodre) on the far right wing fringe of Iraqi politics. There is virtually nothing progressive about what you write on Iraq.

  • Rookie says:

    vumoonbat: “I will no longer speak off topic either. No more rants, only intelligent discussion.”
    Good, so this is meaning you will not make any more posts…

  • Justin B says:

    I have been in Austin, Texas all week and just got back to find that I am on the right fringe of politics. I must have missed something in the last week of hearing constantly about how Bush caused Global Warming in the last 5 years by not signing Kyoto and therefore was completely responsible for not only causing Katrina, but also for all of the idiots that are looting and rioting in New Orleans right now.

    VU, I guess from your seat next to Cindy Sheehan (whose 15 minutes of fame ended with Katrina showing up), Michael Moore, Howard Dean, and Nancy Pelosi, we sure do appear on the right fringe of politics. But let’s check the polls on things… not the polls that left leaning media organizations conduct, but the polls that occur about every 2-4 years in November to confirm your hypothesis about us lying on the “right fringe”…

    WOW! The right fringe sure is a small group of nutjobs and I should take your statement as meaning that we are members of an isolated group of bigots and religious zealots who support the Zionist Isrealis and want the Neo-con New World Order where Haliburton controls all of the world’s oil… If only America could get rid of all the Right Wing Fringe groups and send the 60 Million people that voted for Bush to GITMO for “Re-Education”. Please continue to educate us in the errors of our ways. VU, you have changed my mind already. WOW, listening to guys like Bill Roggio was like joining a Cult. He had me brainwashed. But ever since I threw my brain away to clean out that whole logic thing that Bill keeps telling me to us, your ideas make so much more sense.

    CURSE YOU BILL ROGGIO! YOUR EVIL RIGHT WING HATE SPEAK IS DESTROYING MY MIND BY POLLUTING IT WITH THOUGHT AND REASON!

  • Justin B says:

    VU,

    And hey, don’t you worry about our hate speak and bigotty rubbing off on you? If you accidentally thought for yourself and saw something that contradicted what Michael Moore said and mentioned it to your buddies that you smoke pot on the couch with, they might throw you out of the club.

    Why exactly do you post on a site with a bunch of fringe right wingers? You ever think about seeing a professional for your issues? Maybe finding a job? I mean you appear to have attended Vandy, you surely could do something with your life better than annoy the hell out of a bunch of Neo-cons.

  • vucommodore says:

    Justin:
    These personal attacks are terrible. I’m not a big fan of Michael Moore. I thought Farenheit 9/11 was crap. Bowling for Columbine was alright. His only good film was Roger and Me. I don’t smoke pot. I never have in my life. And I don’t sit on my couch. I work hard.
    It’s terrible that I have to be personally attacked for caring about the flood victims. Did you see Aaaron Broussard on Meet the Press this morning? I don’t know what his political affiliations are and it really doesn’t matter. He’s a HUMAN BEING who did his best to save other HUMAN BEINGS. If you do not feel sorry for that man or for the plight of the hundreds or thousands of others that died while awaiting rescue, I question your humanity. New Orleans’ pulitzer prize winning Newspaper wrote an editorial that the city was completely betrayed by President Bush and the federal government that was supposed to protect them. I don’t know what their affiliations are and it doesn’t matter. They cared about their city too. This Labor Day weekend witnessed a great tragedy of American history, where the most poor and most weak of its citizens were not properly cared for. Hopefully 500 years from now when people write about this phase of the history of America, this is not what will be remembered.
    The next President of the United States may be either a Republican or Democrat but I guarantee you it will not be another divider like George Bush. There will never be another George W. Bush. This nation needs to be united and to rebuild and learn from this dark time in its history. The demographics of this nation are changing. The Conservative revolution will run its course and there will eventually be changes. Let it not be written that these people betrayed their most meek and desperate citizens in their time of need. Charity begins in your own background. Only then can you export it to the far corners of the globe.
    “Blessed are the poor for they will inherit God’s kingdom”

  • Charles in Texas says:

    vucommodore,
    Your last mealy-mouth post WILL NOT FLY. Your hatred of everything decent about America has been vividly displayed by almost all of your posts. You have earned the contempt of all decent Americans (and particularly active duty service people) who post here. You have NEVER, EVER, STATED anything about Iraq that is remotely true!
    You see, I know. I am just recently back from Iraq. You are just an ignorant college age punk who thinks “intelligence” comes from SAT scores. I have 2 degress, by the way, so I see that statement as what it is, total Bull shit. That is all you ever write, so go home to Mommy and suck your thumb, baby.

  • vucommodore says:

    Charles in Texas:
    Here we go again with the unpatriotic stuff. It’s either “you’re waste-matter”, you’re “deranged”, you’re “unpatriotic”, etc.
    It’s never “we disagree, we’re both patriotic, we’re both decent and we’re both entitled to our opinions”
    I have NEVER said any of these things against anybody and the only personal remark I’ve made was to Bill and it was identical to what he said to me.

  • legion says:

    Please do not feed the trolls. It wastes bandwidth and everyone’s time. Ignore the trolls, please. Bill is providing a great service here, and it is unacceptable to allow it to be diluted by all this garbage.

  • GK says:

    V’Dore,
    I have said that you are not among those who are genetic waste matter, from your support of the Patriot Act and disdain for Michael Moore.
    But I am baffled how you could read dozens of Bill’s articles and still think we are losing.
    Let me ask you this : have you learned ANYHING about the Iraq War from this blog? Anything at all, good or bad? If so, what is it?

  • Media Lies says:

    Bill Roggio reports on….

    ….major operations taking place in northern Iraq with heavy involvement from Iraqi forces acting independently.

    U.S. and Iraqi forces have launched th…

  • Justin Capone says:

    Chemical Weapons Lab Found in Iraq (probably blister agents IMHO) and US and Iraqi troops kicking ass
    TALL AFAR, Iraq, Sept. 4 — Under the cover of a moonless night, U.S. soldiers on Sunday strung nearly a mile of razor-sharp concertina wire across the northern edge of a neighborhood dominated by insurgents to prevent them from fleeing without a showdown.
    Several small teams of five or six troops quickly uncoiled spools of wire and fastened it along the deserted sidewalk of a broad thoroughfare. The cordon was intended to prevent insurgents from blending in with the hundreds of people who fled the city during heavy clashes Sunday.
    “The idea is to trap them in Sarai or force them toward our checkpoints to the south,” said Col. H.R. McMaster, commander of the Army’s 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, referring to the neighborhood that U.S. forces believe has served as a launching point for many attacks in the city. “We don’t want them to slip out.”
    More than 5,000 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers entered Tall Afar on Friday in a broad sweep for insurgents who have held sway in the northern city since a previous U.S. invasion, and subsequent withdrawal, last September. In three days of fighting, as many as 200 insurgents have been killed, McMaster said. Two U.S. and four Iraqi soldiers have been wounded, none seriously.
    Elsewhere Sunday in Tall Afar, an Iraqi army unit freed 35 hostages held in a house south of downtown, according to Maj. Gen. Khorsheed Salim, commander of the army’s 3rd Division, which is heavily involved in the operation.
    Soldiers in the western part of the city found a laboratory rigged with explosives, McMaster said. The lab also contained a chemical that burned the troops’ throats and eyes when they entered. The Army is investigating the type of substances.
    //tinylink.com/?dLoPQjqza8

  • vucommodore says:

    GK:
    I never said losing. I personally think it’s a stalemate right now until the political situation improves (ie. Sunnis agree to constitution and elections). I agree with the person who said serious progress is about a year away.
    Now this is why I’m upset, not because I hate “everything that’s good and decent”.
    //www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001054586
    I’m very open to arguments that this may not be the case but I really doubt this newspaper is trying to score political points at this time.

  • vucommodore says:

    Justin:
    US troops should stay there this time combined with a larger presence of loyal Iraqi forces. Withdrawing didn’t work last September. It’s too important of a place to let insurgents hold sway. It’s one of the 2 key areas where their supplies are being replenished so it holds great strategic importance.
    What do you think they could have done with those chemicals? Would chemical weapons do anything in this conflict except kill a lot of innocent Iraqis? Has there been any evidence of chemicals used in IEDs so far? If so, what was the result?
    Sorry for “trolling” in the previous post. I was just letting off some steam about something I wasn’t too happy about.

  • Rookie says:

    This is I think the best site about Iraq operations… great job, Bill !
    “We don’t want them to slip out.”
    That’s the way to finish this…

  • dariush says:

    on topic:
    Ninwa Province.
    Tall ‘Afar.
    Nine US troops reported killed in Friday night fighting.
    Iraqi sources close to the Resistance told Quds Press in the northern city of Tall ‘Afar that nine US soldiers were killed in fighting that raged in the city on Friday, 2 September.
    The sources said that the bodies of the nine American soldiers were seen on a military vehicle being hauled away following the fighting that lasted more than one full hour during the night when US forces tried to break into Tall ‘Afar.
    The sources told Quds Presss that four US military vehicles were completely burned up and one vehicle belonging to the Iraqi puppet army that was helping the Americans was disabled.
    More than 5,000 US troops and Iraqi puppet army soldiers tried to storm Tall ‘Afar Friday night, but the fighting prevented their getting in. Reports from the city said that about 30 Iraqis were killed in the fighting, Quds Press reported Saturday.
    The only thing different is the number of US casualties during the operation.

  • vucommodore says:

    dariush:
    LOL. They sound like Baghdad Bob.

  • Justin Capone says:

    What do you think they could have done with those chemicals? Would chemical weapons do anything in this conflict except kill a lot of innocent Iraqis? Has there been any evidence of chemicals used in IEDs so far? If so, what was the result?
    ———————————————-
    The terrorists tried to make a sarin IED last year, however it didn’t work.
    Yet, I have been thinking for some time that Zarqawi would try to do to Iraq what he tried to do to Jordan and that is destroy a major city with chemical weapons. I think Zarqawi would probably go after Najaf in order to kill thousands of Shia in order to spark a long and bloody civil war so that he would have a long term base in Iraq.

  • Jamison1 says:

    What about this?
    //www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/05/AR2005090500313.html
    BAGHDAD, Sept. 5 — Abu Musab Zarqawi’s foreign-led Al Qaeda in Iraq took open control of a key western town at the Syrian border, deploying its guerrilla fighters in the streets and flying Zarqawi’s black banner from rooftops, witnesses, residents and others in the city and surrounding villages said.
    A sign newly posted at the entrance of Qaim declared, “Welcome to the Islamic Kingdom of Qaim.” A statement posted in mosques described Qaim as an “Islamic kingdom liberated from the occupation.”

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Just to get an understanding of the complexity of the Iraq situation –
    “Human Rights Center in Iraq on Monday called on the Iraqi government to intervene and stop the intense and random raids on civilians in the city of Talafar, 70 kilometers west of Mosul.”
    //www.kuna.net.kw/Home/Story.aspx?Language=en&DSNO=766592

  • Justin Capone says:

    gilliam1,
    It is bad, but expected, it will be another 6 months to a year before there is enough Iraqi troops where we can prevent al-Qaeda from sweeping in from Syria and taking over poorly defended Iraqi towns and cities.

  • hamidreza says:

    dariush, There is nothing wrong with the raids on homes. If they harbour terrorists, then the homeowner should receive a mandatory jail sentence. After all, they are plotting to overthrow the freely elected and hence legitimate Iraqi government. Remember, that place is under martial law.
    Besides, there is no link to your article. “Iraqi puppet army”? Sounds like Baghdad Bob.
    9 soldiers killed on Friday? Then I suppose all their families back in the US are complicit in a conspiracy to keep these casualties hidden. What nonsensical propaganda fed to the “insurgents” to motivate them to commit more crimes.

  • hamidreza says:

    from AFP – //www.politicalgateway.com/news/read.html?id=4765
    BAGHDAD, Sept 5 (AFP) – Iraqi and US troops, backed by helicopters and fighter aircraft, are battling insurgents in the restive northern town of Tal Afar, where at least 13 rebels were killed Sunday, the US military said Monday.
    The casualties included seven rebels killed by helicopter fire after opening up on the forces from inside a mosque.
    Soldiers conducting security operations in the town, 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Iraq’s main northern city of Mosul, were fired on in several separate incidents, but required air assistance to dislodge insurgents in the mosque, the military said in a statement.
    “Terrorists operating from within a mosque… engaged Iraqi and coalition troops… (who) were unable to suppress the barrage of machine gun and RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) fire so they requested the assistance of coalition helicopters,” it said.

  • leaddog2 says:

    Be cautious about anything written by ANYONE associated with the Washington Post, or NY TIMES.
    The Lame-Stream media NEVER leave their hotels inside Iraq’s green zone. The Post’s “leading reporter” (Chuckle, Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee!) was notorious for his yellow backbone in 2003 and 2004.
    The Times is not yet on this Qaim story, but they supported Joe Stalin consistently in the 1950’s and they have NEVER CHANGED! Just remember that when you see ANYTHING they “Jason Blair” together.
    You DO REMEMBER how the “Jason Blair” Times puts stories together, don’t you?

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    hamidreza,
    “9 soldiers killed on Friday”
    In British English, a “casualty” is anyone that requires medical treatment.
    In US military english, a “casualty” is anyone that requires medical treatment as a result of hostile fire.
    In Jihadi English, a “kill” is the same as a British casualty.
    In US and British english, “destroyed” is something beyond repair.
    In Jihadi English, “Destroyed” is anything that requires repair.
    Sample US press release – An IED went off near a HMVV resulting in a flat tire. Soldiers were treated for cuts and bruises.
    Sample Jihadi press release – An explosive device went off under a cross worshippers vehicle, completely destroying the vehicle and killing all within it.

  • vucommodore says:

    leaddog:
    There is no different between the NYT and the Washington Post and the Washington Times, NY Post or Fox News. They report the EXACT same things. Spin doesn’t matter. You have to read through spin and just look at the story and make your own opinion. Fox, ABC, NBC, Washington Times, etc. are all “mainstream media”. “Mainstream Media” does not refer to strictly liberal publications. It just refers to the sources where most people get their news. Our MSM is a hell of a lot better than anywhere else in the world. Would you rather have Al Jazeera or ABC News? Come on.
    About the Qaim story, it may be true and it may not be true. I don’t think anybody knows 100% what’s going on on the ground in Iraq except for the commanders and they are not going to divulge everything to the media.

  • Rookie says:

    Ha, msm (capital letters are precious… I’ll keep them for something else) and unbiased… This is why we are all here, doesn’t it?
    I follow lately all main msm channels, mainly all of them are publishing ap and reuters news. Same news on all channels, no extra info no nothing. So with the right people in the right place hired on 2 or 3 news agencies, “they” got all newspapers/TV channels output. With newspapers/TV channels complicity, of course.
    I tried to write to some of them, for example bbc. The result? In one hour my firewall reported that somebody from a bbc domain was scanning all my ports… wrote to [email protected], and never heard of them since; probably same morons were involved…

  • Terrorists have seized Qaim

    Qaim has been the recent site of a brutal infighting amongst the Sunni tribes. Links here,here, and here. Al Qaeda and its ally, the Karabila, has perhaps successfully wrenched control of the town from the Coalition and its allies, the…

  • Robert M says:

    I disagree with Bill on a number of things to the point I was once kicked off this site. I do not like Bush except for the GWOT. Bill has and still does one of the best jobs of posting on the strategy and tactics of the US Military in their fight for us against the terrorist enemy. Let’s keep this site on point. There are plenty of other places to discuss the disaster on the Gulf Coast

  • AMac says:

    To follow up on Robert M #67’s comment

    Bill has and still does one of the best jobs of posting on the strategy and tactics of the US Military in their fight for us against the terrorist enemy. Let’s keep this site on point.

    Indeed, Bill Roggio’s synthesis gives the best open-source window on military ops in Iraq, specifically in al-Anbar, that is available anywhere. Period.

    When this site attracts in-depth comments from USG and private-sector analysts, and from a Marine stationed in the Haditha Dam, it’s a sign that Roggio is doing something profoundly right. And, thank God, since the enemy is certainly reading this site as well, Roggio remains concerned about not providing them with tactically-useful information.

    A number of the contributors to this thread should feel some embarrassment. There are careless, casual, ideology-soaked remarks here, and the thread veers way off topic.

    We would all do well to remember that the default TypeKey setting is registered comments only. 4th Rail will lose some excellent outside perspectives if we drive Roggio to take that step.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis