Strikes in the Sunni Triangle

Coalition forces continue to press operations in the heart of the Sunni Triangle. The towns of Haditha and Karabilah are the latest targets. Haditha, which has been inaccurately referred to the Zarqawi’s “Islamic Republic of Haditha” , was the focus of a raid by ground forces, followed by airstrikes. A terrorist complex was uncovered, and weapons caches and a VBIED (car bomb) factory were destroyed. Some of the car bombs were ready to use, others were close to completion. According to CENTCOM, the residents of the “Islamic Republic” provided the intelligence to conduct the operation.

In Karabilah, near Qaim, nine terrorists were killed when the school they are using to store weapons and fire mortars is destroyed in an airstrike. The terrorists continue to use building such as schools and mosques in an attempt to preclude Coalition action against these buildings.

There are reports that residents of Qaim are leaving the city in expectation of an upcoming offensive. This mirrors the reaction of some residents in Ramadi, where clashes are occurring between U.S. and insurgent forces, and an all out assault is feared.

While the Coalition continues to attempt to keep the terrorists off balance in Anbar, al Qaeda continues to offset their losses by conducting vicious assaults on soft civilian targets. A Shiite mosque 130 miles north of Baghdad was attacked by a suicide bomber, killing ten worshippers and wounding over twenty. Yesterday over twenty police were killed in separate bombings.

Al Qaeda likely has several reasons for the spate of attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere. There is no doubt that this is an attempt to overshadow recent successes in Tal Afar and Mosul, as well as around Qaim. Reuters reports “over 500 insurgents killed or detained in Tal Afar  226 had been killed and 757 detained in recent operations in Mosul  with 45 more detained in Rutba.” Well over 1,500 terrorists have been removed from the battlefield, and Tal Afar, their main base of operations in northern Iraq, has been lost. This is a significant degradation of their power and influence, which al Qaeda can only compensate for by conducting a media-terror campaign. Blood sells, particularly the blood of pro-government Iraqis and American soldiers.

The other reason al Qaeda is lashing out is that the recent Coalition operations have garnered intelligence that very likely have exposed some of its network. The recent success in targeted airstrikes along the Euphrates would certainly give this impression to al Qaeda. al Qaeda is very likely worried it has been compromised, and as it cannot determine exactly where the faults lie, it is in a situation where it must ‘use-it-or-lose-it’, meaning they must expend caches and fighters now or risk having them captured or destroyed.

SW Iraq.JPGIf this is the case, it will be interesting to see if al Qaeda has enough resources to conduct it’s planned “Ramadan offensive.” While al Qaeda has been degraded by recent operations, they have proven to be resourceful in the past. For this reason, the Coalition must press forward with their offensive in along the Euphrates River in order to deny al Qaeda the ability to recoup their losses.

Also See:

Security Watchtower has a graphic of the recent operations in Iraq.

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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  • Angel says:

    Hi Bill!
    I’ve read the U.S. states the terrorist attacks are mainly by Iraqi Sunnis but the Iraqi government states they are foreign jihadists. Which statement is correct?
    I also read in Phila. Inquirer Currents section a general suggested 50,000 terrorist insurgents have been killed or captured. What do you think about that number.
    If true, I would think the war would have been over by now or how BIG is this movement against the West. What a frightening thought!

  • Lorenzo says:

    I wish the major media would deliver this daily review of real progress and not that of terror alone. I am sharing the Fourth Rail HP&WT site from now on to all my contacts.
    Lets keep rolling and smash the next 50,000 worthless miscreants if they ask for it, one by one like GW says! Learn to let live or die.

  • Ike says:

    50,000 troops is a huge underestimation.
    I know in a four a five month span that 400,000 plus were killed or caught. I saw that in WashTimes article.
    I get furious about not seeing a enemy death count but an American one.
    My guess on how many killed/caught enemy combatants? Almost 1,000,000. Someone shoudl research this though.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    “Attack on Mosque in the outskirts of Baghdad”
    The mosque was actually 130 Miles North of Baghdad. IMHO THe Kurds will resolve the security situation in that area without MNF interference.
    There were also two security incidents reported “Just West of Baghdad”, they were actually West of Ramadi.
    Of course, the media is going with the “All out assualt on Baghdad continues” BS.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Noted and correct, Soldier’s Dad. Thanks for the guidance, as always.
    Angel, I’d have to see the claims you speak of. The overall opinion is that a majority of the suicide bombings have been carried out by foreigners.
    The 50,000 numbe ris misleading, as some of these are folks who were caught & released, others who have been rounded up two or three times, etc.
    You have to remember the makeup of the insurgency. There are the foreign jihadis, the Baathists, the nationalists who oppose the US presence, and criminals who take money to conduct attacks.
    There were hundreds of thousands of Baathists in Iraq alone, and Saddam emptied the prisons before he was removed from power, adding another 80,000 to the streets (if I remember that correct). So the number isn’t outragous. 50,000 of a population of 25,000,000 is 0.2%

  • Kenenth says:

    Angel, according to the After Action Report, 60% to 70% of the terrorists killed or captures in Tal Afar were foreigners. So it’s a mix, not an either-or situation.

  • Iraq Operations Summary: September ’05

    Security Watchtower has an outstanding visual recap of September 2005 US Operations in Iraq. Visual, creative, informative and concise, it’s everything you can ask for in a one-shot recap. From the airstrikes in Karabilah to Operation Flea Flicker and …

  • M says:

    “it is in a situation where it must ‘use-it-or-lose-it’, meaning they must expend caches and fighters now or risk having them captured or destroyed.”
    The individual captured today who was headed to the second Mosque with an explosives belt is the first non-VBIED suicide attack that I recall having occured recently. Correct me if I am wrong. VBIED’s take considerable more resourses and space (Stealing or buying the vehicle, a place large enough to convert multiple vehicles etc…)as opposed to an explosive belt or backpack. It also seems that it would be easier to force an unwilling suicide bomber to conduct an attack with a belt as opposed to a VBIED. As these resources are drying up in the west, and having expended 11 VBIEDs 2 days ago, is todays event the first indication of a shift away from VBIEDs to smaller devices? Time will tell.
    “A terrorist complex was uncovered, and weapons caches and a VBIED (car bomb) factory were destroyed.”
    3 VBIEDS were ready for use, 2 more were wired and waiting for explosives. Indicating that the explosives are made somewhere else and/or there is a impending shortage of explosives or the know how to make them, relative to the resources required to prepare the vehicle.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    There is a lot of “where” and “whats” when talking about Foreign/Iraqi fighters. In different areas the mix is different, and the mix is different depending upon what type of attacks and upon who the attacks are directed against.
    The commander in Mosul talked about the “rent-a-fighters”. Basically, unemployed malcontent Iraqi’s who will take a few dollars to fire off a mortar or RPG. For the “resistance” they are a relatively cheap method of keeping the “Attacks/day” statistics high enough to convince the NY Times and Washington Post that “All is Lost”.
    Mortars and RPG’s almost certainly constitute the bulk of the attacks, but only a small fraction of the casualties.

  • Cruiser says:

    Angel, I suspect the government tries to downplay Sunni Iraqi involvement in the attacks in order to avoid inflaming the Shiites. The fear being that Shiite Iraqis will seek revenge against Sunni Iraqi’s (it is already happening on a small scale).
    However it is clear that foreigners are behind the worst civilian attacks and, apparently, are almost uniformly the suicide attackers.

  • Cruiser says:

    By “government” in my last I meant Iraqi government.

  • Rookie says:

    Let’s keep our heads cool here… 1,000,000? This is huge and unrealistic. 50,000 ? Maybe, even double seems likely. But not more.
    Angel: how many are still out there? Well, counting all Islamic countries, france, germany and UK “minorities” included, there are tens of millions. With hundreds of thousands, even millions willing to fight. Just look at Gaza images, it will be one huge reservoir of terrorist in the future.
    I must say that I’m amazed that z-woman (sorry ladies …) did not get killed since now. he really must have a rat life, or it’s safe in Syria by now.

  • Matt says:

    9/11 was an inside job. Period. The World Trade Cener towers had explosives hidden side. 9/11 was not an attack by terrorists, it was a pstchological attack by the American government on its citizens.

  • hamidreza says:

    Iraqi Sunnis are coming out strongly against Zarqawi and the jihadis.
    As predicted, Sunni insurgency defeats, and political Constitutional developments, along with the consolidation of the insurgency under bloody Zarqawi whose “Final Offensive” seems to have tapered off, has given the fencesitters, nationalists, opportunists and Baathists cause to ponder.
    StrategyPage has a good article on the insurgency today.
    As they say, nothing wins hearts and minds faster than military success.

  • xanthrope says:

    Matt- Your knowledge will make you a target. It is foolhardy to post on a public blog. I have seen what has happened to others like you, secret prisons, torture, unimaginable horrors. Destroy the computer you used to post, change your hair style/color. Destroy your credit cards, gather all the cash you can and move. And keep moving, third world countries are best. Good luck.

  • M says:

    Matt- 9/11 was actually an inside job by Israel to bring the US closer to their side, they took control of the planes with their super decoder rings, now the Mosad is after both of us.
    Where do these wack jobs come from?

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Today’s mighty Jihadi claims -(source
    Ansar AlSunna
    IED in Balad
    IED in Kirkuk
    IED in Al-Ishaki(Between Baghdad and Mosul)
    Mortar North of Baghdad
    Mortar in Haditha
    Mortar in Mosul
    Attacking an ISF checkpoint in Mosul
    Unspecified attacks in Ramadi
    Unspecified attacks in Bagdhad
    Unspecified attacks in Mosul
    Victorious Army –
    Killing 5 members of the Badr Leadership
    Fired mortars at Al Taji military complex.
    Considering the “Final Battle” has been declared. These guys are not exactly 10 feet tall.

  • leaddog2 says:

    The “conventional wisdom” of religious Civil War is Total Balony, as you know! In addition, there are MILLIONS of inter-married Sunnis, Shites, Kurds, etc. Are they going to shoot their own Mothers, Fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters? Hell, No!
    I have seen estimates (and I suspect they are PURE GUESSWORK) that from 20 to 40 % of Iraqi’s are inter-married. I have ALWAYS been suspicious of that 40% Number, but 20% I can agree with!
    Even if it is only 10% that is at least 2.5 million inter-married Iraqi’s.

  • ricksamerican says:

    It actually was Mosad. It was on Iranian TV last Sunday. Here’s the link:
    That’s how Matt got it wrong. He was watching CNN instead of SaharTV-Iran.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    “Correct me if I am wrong. VBIED’s take considerable more resourses and space ….as opposed to an explosive belt or backpack. ”
    The amount of training and brain washing it takes to get someone to actually walk into a crowd calmly and explode an explosive belt is substantial. The fact that the second suicide bomber today was caught prior to detonation proves the point.
    In a VBIED, the “driver” is drugged and then strapped into the vehicle in such a way that if he “chickens out” the car explodes anyway.
    The last succesfull “vest” suicide bombing was August 24th in Baquba. Alqueda claimed it took one month to prepare the attack.

  • Mixed Humor says:

    Last time I checked the Brookings Institute Iraq Index, they listed something like 66,000 insurgents killed or captured.

  • Oded says:

    ‘9/11 was an inside job. Period. The World Trade Cener towers had explosives hidden side. 9/11 was not an attack by terrorists, it was a pstchological attack by the American government on its citizens.’
    And all the joooos were told to stay home …

  • ike says:

    I am searching my old documents, maybe I am off a zero or so but I was pretty sure I saw 400,000 kills/captures of enemy combatants in a Washington Times story and that was for just a few month span when a lot of missions took place. I will post it when I find it.
    Here it is…
    50,000 Iraqi insurgents dead, caught
    By Sharon Behn
    July 26, 2005
    He noted that he did not know how large the insurgency was, but said that, in spite of the number of people imprisoned or killed, “we are still dealing with a rather formidable force out there.”
    He also said American commanders have found it difficult to penetrate the insurgency. Despite painstaking work undertaken to sift through thousands of interrogations and field reports, a clear picture of the midlevel structure of the insurgency was hard to see.
    “We have not been able to put the mosaic together to anybody’s satisfaction,” Gen. Keane said.
    He added that the insurgents think they could keep up the current level of violence for about 10 years, waiting out the American forces, whom they feel will eventually leave Iraq.
    Jeffrey White, former head of the Regional Military Assessments Group at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said Syria was a serving as a crucial conduit and safe haven for the insurgent forces.
    “Syria is critical to the insurgency — it’s the closest thing they have to a foreign base,” he said.
    Mr. White, who now works at the Washington Institute, said the insurgency stretches from Syria through a wide swath of central Iraq, into seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces. He added that the level of attacks was not likely to go down anytime soon.
    “There are some 60 to 65 incidents a day; [you] can expect it to continue for six months to a year, and expect further peaks as key political events unfold,” he said.
    “The insurgents are a learning opponent,” he added. “These people actually know what they are doing. They do not attack randomly, and they can shift across lines of operations as they deem necessary.”

  • Mider says:

    Does anyone know if we have infiltrated the fascists with iraqi (muslim) spies, with success? I find it so hard to believe that we can’t get someone into their side to find (pardon my spelling) zarqawi. Why is this so hard? I guarantee if I had a 25 mil bounty on my head, I wouldn’t last a minute. Maybe someone can explain the complexity of finding such an individual that has so many amrican dollars attached to his capture. He’s lasted longer than Hussein for crying outloud. Why can’t we nab this islamo fascist murdering psychopath? Sorry, I just get angry.

  • Rookie says:

    Muslim terrorists are hard to infiltrate; from the childhood they are brainwashed every single day 5 times per day; spending time together in training camps (not so much lately, as many of their safe heavens are destroyed).
    You cannot “fake” their way of life, it’s not like a drug gang. What the “insider” will do if he’ll be asked to cut a throat of someone, or execute a bunch of civilians?
    Matt, 30 years ago guys like you were treated in special clinics. Now you’re on the streets, gathering together and make politics. Good for you! But dude, be aware, NRA rigged your chair you’re sitting now, don’t stand up for ANY reason. Urinate on yourself, if needed. It helps.

  • M says:

    Soldiers Dad- You have a good point , but in either case they can kidnap a guys family and threaten to kill them unless he carries out his mission, which leaves the complexity of the device. And a ‘walker’ can be kept under gunpoint. When an attack occurs it is common for other insugents to be near by watching or taping. See Hamas’s website for videos of attacks carried out in Iraq.
    Ike- I would have to roughlly agree with that analysis based on what I know from my job.
    Mider- What many fail to grasp is that the insurgency is not a well organized machine with specific chains of command. It is very unorganized, consisting of loose connections acroos many groups. It is only as ‘successfull’ as it is (getting off 10’s of attacks a day) becuase of it shear numbers. While it has popular figuires claiming to be leaders (Al-Z) This is largely in the mind of the populous and perpitrated by its own propaganda machine and reinforced by the MSM. When you look at the connections among captured terrorists it quickly become dizzyingly complex, just one or two levels from any given individual. Even if such a loose organization is infultrated no one group of people or even their close contacts knows enough by themselves to stop anything but their local activities. The key here is to get the Iraqi populous to turn in insurgents when they see them, which we seem to be seeing more and more. To get a true idea of what I’m trying to say here, try reading ‘Osama Bin Laden: The man who declared war on America’ and make a diagram of all the players and there inter-related connections as you read. This very loose organization is also reflected in the Islamic religion itself, where clerics and Mullahs assend to there positions and are given titles based on the consensus of their peers.

  • The Honest Liberal says:

    What the real agenda is for liberals such as Matt and I is the total weakening and decline of the United States. Thus, we share a common goal with Al-Qaeda.
    That is why we, who control the MSM, can get away with merely reporting the negative, and getting a lot of mileage out of incidents like Abu Ghraib and the Guantanamo Qu’ran. Each of those two incidents increased anti-American hatred due to our coverage of it, which is what we liberals want.
    Hey, at least I am honest about by left-wing goals.

  • leaddog2 says:

    Honest Crackhead,
    Check where you got your last shipment! It put you in a different universe, AGAIN!

  • ike says:

    By the way, I put that WashTimes story up earlier and I want to add that of Saddam’s army (which was at least a few hundred thousand was also decimated/captured/killed) most of it at least added to the 50,000 in a few month span. From there I kind of just projected. I may be way off but does anyone have a better figure for those enemy casualties other than M?

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    In the Vietnam war, DOD underestimated enemy casualties by a factor of 3. It is one of the reasons fallen shoulders are not left on the battlefield(Keep from the enemy which attacks tactics are most effective). Even the US delays “evac” statistics by 90 days.(I can’t think of a reason besides hiding the number of “seriously wounded” from the enemy.)
    Zarqawi and crew are in the habit of removing their dead and wounded from the battlefield as well. The only one to possibly have an accurate count would be Zarqawi, and he is not advertising.


Islamic state



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