More Ops at the Gateway to the Euphrates Ratline

There is little rest for al Qaeda and the insurgency in the Qaim region, or in northwestern or southwestern Iraq as well. Reuters AlertNet reports multiple airstrikes in Karabila and ground operations in Gumruk.

“American aircraft have struck the city of Karabila more than 10 times,” the source said. A security source added that the Iraqi army also clashed with insurgents at Gumruk, near Karabila, on Tuesday.”

The involvement of Iraqi Army units, if true, is an interesting development, as most operations in this region have been conducted by U.S. Marines. Word has it that families are moving to Haditha to escape the recent fighting.

The efforts to seal the three main border crossings of the insurgency and al Qaeda are now in effect. Tal Afar and Rabiah are under lockdown in the north. The Qaim region is under repeated interdiction in the center. Rutbah is being isolated in the south.

Defense Minister Dulaimi laid out the plan for all to see well over a month ago. While dismissed at the time by many as bluster, his words appear to be quite accurate.

“Our forces will start from the Syrian border   till we reach Ramadi, then to Fallouja We have taken precise measures on the ground and acquired the president’s approval to start the operation.”

Both the political will and the physical capacity appears to be avaible to conduct these operations as Dulaimi described. Perhaps the insurgents and al Qaeda should have paid attention. Not that there is much they could have done to prevent it.

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

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  • hamidreza says:

    In addition to how to combat IEDs, there is this idea:
    Take captured soviet shells and IEDs, and remove the explosives so it will not detonate, and install a GPS locator and a transmitter which periodically broadcasts the location of the IED.
    Add a lookalike remote triggering mechanism, to make it look like a genuine IED. Have double agents deliver these broadcasting IEDs to the terrorists.
    Drones and humvees can then scan the area and report the location of these IEDs to command, which will then raid the safe house or the IED ambush.
    Alternately, do not remove the explosives and add a radio receiver that would detonate the IED given a certain digital code. Have drones fly over infected areas and issue the code and watch the safe houses blow up. Humvees can continuously issue the code, and cause the IED to blow up at a safe distance.

  • hamidreza says:

    A significant milestone has been achieved. The running rate of US casualties has dropped to less than 20 a month, despite a large number of offensive operations taking place.
    This with 140,000 US troops in Iraq, and supposedly a “popular” anti-occupation urban guerilla insurgency in effect.
    Looks like peace and security may be breaking out! – to the chagrin of the western reactionary leftists and anti-US fascists who wish to see a lot of US casualties resulting in a US pullout, leading to the triumph of anti-western Islamism and Islamic oppression and enslavement throughout the Middle East and beyond.

  • leaddog2 says:

    We have miles still to go, but this is progress. Taking out Syria and Iran will probably come at a later time and in a different way.
    I really expect some significant events to take place vs. Syria after the December elections, PERHAPS even before then, but I really DOUBT it! Get the elections done and then the freely elected & totally legitimate Iraqi government will take care of the Syrian’s and the Saddamites in Syria. We can provide logistic support of all kinds to them then.

  • Justin Capone says:

    al-Qaeda chemcial weapons plan revealed
    WASHINGTON — A U.S. Army commander asserted Tuesday that extremist fighters in northern Iraq committed atrocities against civilians, including beheadings, torture and the booby-trapping of a murdered child’s body. “The enemy here did just the most horrible things you can imagine _ in one case murdering a child, placing a booby trap within the child’s body and waiting for the parent to come recover the body of their child and exploding it to kill the parents; beheadings and so forth,” McMaster said in an interview from Tal Afar with reporters at the Pentagon.
    His comments came two days after the al-Qaida leader in Iraq, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, purportedly accused American forces of using poison gas in the Tal Afar fighting, a charge that U.S. officials have denied. The accusation was made in an audiotape posted on the Internet on Sunday and attributed to al-Zarqawi.
    McMaster alluded to that accusation and said he believed the insurgents had planned to detonate chemicals in a building in a residential area and then claim that U.S. forces had employed poison gas against civilians. “In one of these buildings the enemy had big barrels of chemicals that had explosives implanted in the chemicals, wires running around them. The whole house was rigged for demolition,” he said.
    When U.S. troops went into the house, “immediately their eyes began burning, their throats began burning. So they withdrew out of the house immediately and then we conducted reconnaissance with some chemical protective gear, with a remote reconnaissance capability, into the house. And we could tell that the thing was rigged with chemicals.”
    McMaster also said U.S. troops found manuals that described how to make “these kind of chemical dirty bombs and so forth.”
    I knew Z-Man was up to something when he came out a few days ago and claimed US forces had attacked Tal Afar with chemical weapons.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Some clowns actually claimed to have fired 5 chemical munitions in Baghdad(missed all there tergets, no casualties reports). AlQueda was quick to deny any association.(IMHO The Kurds take chemical weapons use on a very personal basis).
    The four week moving average on wounded is pretty flat. Wounded will be a “trailing” statistic.(i.e…the last number to fall off dramatically)
    There is a way to go…Ramadi and Sammarra are larger than TalAfar.

  • Jeff says:

    Gumruk and Karabila? I think they’re starting to make these places up; I’ve never heard of these.

  • hamidreza says:

    Karabila is a town 5 miles from the Syrian border. Check it up in Microsoft Encarta. Also the name of an important tribe in that area.
    Gumruk in Arabic means “customs”, and is the town on the border where the custom house is located.

  • cjr says:

    This is a great summary of the Tel Afar operation by the comander of the 3rd ACR.

  • Suffering the slings and arrows

    Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail has been doing tremendous work documenting the US campaign in western Iraq. Hanson points out what Roggio has written about, some bridges were destroyed to box the terrorists in. This questioner betrays a common ignoran…


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