Iron Fist Update

The first day of Operation Iron Fist concludes. Eight terrorists are killed during separate engagements and one is captured – a potential source of intelligence on the enemy’s infrastructure and defenses in the town. Multiple car bombs are destroyed. Airstrikes, infantry and armor were utilized during the day’s fighting. The fighting appears to be occurring at the perimeter of the Sada, and the insurgents are either attempting to flee the assault or are attacking the Marines head on. No Marine casualties have been reported. Captain Patrick Kerr sends a roundup of the day’s fighting:

Coalition Forces, including helicopters from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, engaged and killed eight armed terrorists in fighting early in the day.

During another engagement, insurgents drove two vehicles in the vicinity of a Marine position, dismounted and began to attack with small-arms fire. One of the vehicles was found to be rigged with explosives. The gun battle left four terrorists dead. The fifth surrendered to the Marines.

In the late morning, Marines discovered and destroyed a roadside bomb on the outskirts of Sa’dah. Shortly afterwards, a M1A1 Main Battle Tank’s destroyed a vehicle car bomb with one round from its main gun southwest of the city. North of Sa’dah, U.S. Forces killed three Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists after the group attacked their checkpoint with small-arms fire.

The eighth insurgent was killed when an AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter destroyed a vehicle after its driver fired on a Marine position with a rocket-propelled grenade. Another vehicle traveling with the attacker was seen to be carrying additional RPGs and was subsequently destroyed by missile fire from the Cobra. The driver and passenger escaped the blast.

The most interesting aspect of Captain Kerr’s report occurs at the end of the update:

The goal of the operation is to root out Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating within the area and disrupting insurgent support systems in and around Sa’dah. The offensive is part of an overall operation called Sayaid (Hunter), which is intended to deny Al Qaeda in Iraq the ability to operate freely in the Euphrates River Valley and to prevent the terrorists from influencing the local population through murder and intimidation.

As stated earlier today, Operation Iron Fist is “an opening feint in a larger operation designed to clear the Qaim region of al Qaeda and the insurgency and move in Iraqi forces to establish security.” That larger operation is indeed Hunter. Here is the overview for Operation Hunter.

Operation Hunter is designed to bolster the U.S. and Iraqi presence in the western Anbar region from Qaim to Haditha. Sayaid will add several U.S. battalions and Iraqi battalions to the region, as well as add several hundred Iraqi border guards along the Syrian border. Iraq’s 7th Army Division will provide for permanent security in the region. The focus is gaining control of the small towns and cities along the western bend of the Euphrates River where al Qaeda has established networks and safe houses.

There have been reports that Iraqi troops have been involved in the fighting. The U.S. military denies this, and there are no good reasons to withhold this information. When Iraqi troops enter the fight at the battalion level in Western Anbar, Operation Hunter will be in full swing. The Marines of Iron Fist are prepping the battlefield until the Iraqi troops are assembled.

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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  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Interesting post Bill.
    M1A1’s southwest of the City.(4000 meter sites)
    North of Sa’dah, U.S. Forces

  • Justin Capone says:

    Splits emerge between Kurds and Shiites in Iraqi government
    BAGHDAD, Iraq – Sharp divisions emerged Saturday between Iraq’s ruling Kurdish and Shiite Muslim factions after Iraq’s Kurdish president accused the Shiite prime minister of breaking coalition promises and overly dominating the government.
    Kurdish officials warned they would consider pulling out of the government if their demands aren’t met. That would cause the collapse of the government and add a new layer of political instability and fragmentation between Iraq’s main communities.
    The friction comes ahead of an Oct. 18 vote on a new constitution, which both the Kurds and Shiites support. But Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority is trying to defeat the charter at the polls, fearing it will give too much power to the other two communities.
    Earlier this month, the heads of the Kurdish Alliance _ President Jalal Tabalani and Massoud Barzani, president of the northern Kurdish region _ sent a letter to al-Jaafari outlining the Kurds’ complaints but received no reply. Talabani on Saturday lashed out at the prime minister.
    “One of the problems with the Prime Minister is that he is violating the laws,” Talabani told reporters. He said al-Jaafari’s office was acting unilaterally without working with its Kurdish allies.
    Talabani’s comments brought angry reaction from Shiite legislators during a parliament session Saturday. Lawmaker Mahmoud al-Radhi criticized Talabani for going public with the differences just before the Oct. 15 referendum.
    “The country is passing through a very dangerous phase, so what has happened is not reasonable,” he said.
    The government was formed on Aug. 28 after months of wrangling after January elections in which members of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority won a majority of seats in parliament _ reflecting the Shiites’ ambitions to rule after decades of oppression under Saddam’s Baath Party. But they needed Kurdish support to form the Cabinet.
    Asked if the Kurds would pull out of the government or call a vote of confidence, Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Osman said that “if these issues are not addressed” the Kurdish leadership would meet and decide.
    The collapse of the government would cause more political turmoil at a time of already great uncertainly. If the constitution passes, national elections are to be held in December to create a new parliament to chose a government. If the constitution fails, the elections will pick a new transitional parliament tasked with drafting a new document.
    It looks as if the Kurds allience with the Shia religious parties is at its just about at its end. Allawi must be jumping up and down for joy right now. The UIA has managed to screw up in almost every way I can think of. Luckly, there is an election at the end of the year.

  • ghoullio says:

    why would Allawi be excited about this?
    because it would give the Shiites more authority?

  • Jamison1 says:

    It might be an oppening for Allawi to make an alliance with the Kurds (who are more secular than the Shiite block).

  • Justin Capone says:

    There is an election in December. Allawi has picked up all the main Sunni parties into his National Accord Allience. But, a Sunni/Allawi allience isn’t enough, he also needs to pick up the Kurds. If the Kurds move away from the UIA then Allawi has both the Kurds and the Sunnis as part of his coalition. Lets say Allawi picks up around 20% of the vote and the Kurds pick up 20%, and the Sunnis pick up 20% (which are all quite possible).
    The UIA is also hurting because Chalabi and vice president Aadil Abdulmahdi are expected to depart the UIA form their own secular-Shia alliance. You can expect them to pull maybe five percent.
    Thus, an Allawi/Kurdish/Sunni/Secular Shia allience would be in a good position to form a coalition. This is only true of the Sunnis vote in December though.

  • ghoullio says:

    so essentially it would collapse the current Govt as we now know it, but it wouldnt matter as the elections around the corner will determine who will lead the new nation?
    excuse me if i sound ignorant, but i have ignored the political aspect of this war and concentrated on the military phase.
    i have yet to gain a three dimensional understanding of this situation, which brings me to such Blogs as BIll Roggio’s.
    up until about 2 months ago, i didnt even know we were winning this war…

  • Jamison1 says:

    They have a parliamentary system. Like the UK has. If a ruling coalition collapses, they hold new elections.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    “The Political Aspect”
    For a significant reduction in the violence, the Sunni population needs to believe it has a “voice”. The last election resulted in the UIA haveing 51% of the seats.
    If the future elections split things so that the UIA has 40% of the seats, then an alliance between the other 60% is possible…maybe not on every issue, but enough so that the Sunni population feels it has a voice.

  • ghoullio says:

    so are the Sunni insurgents simply holding out or saving face before the elections while AQI does its best to comepletely disrupt the chance of a Sunni alliance?
    is there any follow up informaiton on the UIA that i could look into?

  • Jamison1 says:

    The Sunni insurgents seem to be backing off.
    Maybe Bill can correct me if I am wrong.

  • Ike says:

    Euphrates Valley and Syrian border are where most people seem to think Zarqawi is hiding.
    and the AP stories both cite intelligence sources saying they belive Zarqawi is in those areas hiding.

  • serurier says:

    Thanks for the news .

  • Ike says:

    an update on the fighting, lots of bad guys dead, no U.S. casualties reported.
    Can someone answer me why every single article on Iraq says that violence has been escalating recently? Do they know that the number of attacks is continually going down?
    Literally every single story on Iraq that involves violence from the AP says that violence has been increasing and if that were true there would be thousands of attacks today, each day. The fact is that the violence (in sheer volume) is either going up and down repeatedly or it is just going down.
    Does it make for “racier” news to always lie like this or what?

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    “Can someone answer me why every single article on Iraq says that violence has been escalating recently?”
    All insurgencies have peaks and troughs, as well as almost all things in nature. If one restricted their view of weather statistics to Jan thru July, then one could say “Based on recent trends in weather, we are all going to burn up by November”. Weekly Coalition casualty numbers had been trending downward from late July until the 2nd week in September. They are trending upward again. This cycling has been going on for a while. The peaks were trending upward from March 03 until November 04. Since then, the peaks have been trending downward.

  • leaddog2 says:

    I have seen you post intelligent questions before, but the last one is rather strange. It will help you to understand that the MAJORITY of the old media are DEADLY ENEMIES of America and the military. They will always report as NEGATIVELY as they can. They support the other side in ALL WAYS. As an example, the NY Times was a Joe Stalin supporter 60 years ago. They have NEVER CHANGED. They never will until we eventually decide to shoot them.
    That is unlikely to happen. It hurts them more to laugh at their insanities. That is part of what causes them to suffer the “barking moonbat” disease. I prefer to laugh at them. It is refined cruelty for them, you know! Heh! Heh!

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  • Oded says:

    Ike, those are 2 very interesting articles on AQ acting like the desperately wounded animal that they are, hightailing it out of Iraq. Didnt see that one in the Times or WP.
    Expect the MSM to spin it as follows: AQ in Iraq, led by the terror mastermind Abbu Musab Al Zarqawi, after largely eluding coalition forces, are thought to be taking expertise gained in Iraq to their countries of origin. The battle against insurgents may lead to expansion of the war to sorrounding countries further destablizing the region. Osama Azzad al Zawarkawi spokesman for AQ in Iraq says on an Islamic website: ‘We have gained from our experience in Iraq the lessons of war against the infidel oppressors which we will use against them and their supporters one hundred fold. We have bloodied the nose of the American Pigs and have confused and deceived them as we have melted into the land between the rivers to use our skills against them at another time of our choosing, Allah willing’
    Coalition forces in the past have failed to hold towns on the Syrian border and have to quote an anonymous high ranking American officer played ‘wack a mole’ against the ghostly freedom fighters who continue to slowly bleed American and poorly trained Iraqi forces.
    In other news Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, has teamed up with Jane Fonda in support of Ms Fonda’s ‘Freedom Bus Tour’ reportedly using the original ‘Magic Bus’ of sixties fame to spread their views that the war in Iraq …..
    Of course spreading the battle to neighboring countries isnt a bad thing since their governments certainly wont be as nice as we are. I think ‘Hama rules’ will be the order of the day, Allah willing.

  • Ike says:

    Thanks for the replies guys

  • Christina says:

    That’s my husband…

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