Iron Fist Ends – A Permanent Presence in Sa’dah

Operation Iron Fist has ended, and is officially a clear & hold operation, as we predicted on day one. Captain Jeffrey Pool confirms this in his latest press release:

Coalition Forces have established new outposts in Sa’dah in order to maintain a presence in the area. These positions will sustain ongoing operations to defeat the flow of Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists from Syria along the Euphrates River Valley.

The operation resulted in more than 50 Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists killed.

There is no confirmation if Iraqi troops will participate in manning the outposts, but if they are not there they will be in the near future. The Iraqi Army does not appear to be operating in force (multi-battalion level) west of Ramadi, but this is a goal of Operation Hunter, of which Iron Fist is of but a piece.

Yesterday, I reported the number of terrorists killed during the operation as seventy-five. The discrepancy is due to the inclusion of the twenty terrorists killed during airstrikes in nearby Husaybah. Multi National Forces – West does not include these casualties as part of Iron Fist. I view the airstrike as part of the “ongoing operations to defeat the flow of Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists from Syria along the Euphrates River Valley”, hence the inclusion of these casualties within Iron Fist.

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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  • Matthew says:

    Good luck to these troops. That’s right in the middle of Indian country.
    I predict several attempted cordinated mass attacks by terrorists against these outposts as they are so close to the Syrian border.
    If the outpost defenses are prepared well, I predict that these attacks will all fail.
    And/or look also for cross-border skirmishes if terrorists shoot then scoot across the border.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Let them try. They have tried in the past at Husaybah and failed miserably.

  • TallDave says:

    Operation Iron Fist is officially a clear & hold operation
    Great news.
    In other good news, as I’ve said before the “this insurgency sucks, let’s try democracy” Sunnis are starting to raise their voices.
    Iraq Sunni leader urges Ramadan ceasefire, US talks
    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A prominent leader from Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority called on Friday for the United States and Iraqi insurgents to cease fire in the holy month of Ramadan as a prelude to direct talks between Americans and the guerrillas.
    Saleh al-Mutlak, a secular nationalist who was involved in negotiating a draft constitution, said a coalition of Sunni political groups close to insurgents was ready to promote such a dialogue to end the bloodshed that has ravaged Iraq since 2003.
    “The fighting should stop,” Mutlak, who represents the National Dialogue movement, told Reuters. “We have fought for two-and-a-half years and the problem is it doesn’t work.”…”We must find a political solution,” he said. A ceasefire during Ramadan, which began this week, “should be a start for direct negotiations between the two sides.”
    “Everybody is getting tired in Iraq,” Mutlak said.

  • exhelodrvr says:

    The insurgents/terrorists would be very stupid to try (relatively) large-scale attacks on coalition forces. Every time they have done that they have been seriously defeated. But hopefully they will; that would be the best thing that could happen. (Think of the Japanese banzai attacks during WWII.)

  • Marlin says:

    For those of you who have been following (and wondering about) Anna Badkhen’s stories from the Sa’dah area, I would suggest reading this assessement over at a U.S. Marines thread.
    News from Lima

  • Pete Paraschos says:

    Bill, I have to say that you’re reporting has been especially insightful as of late, even by your own high standards. Keep up the good work!

  • Mike Tuggle says:

    You can’t classify all those fighting US troops as “terrorists.” Most are ordinary Iraqis fighting a foreign occupier.

  • hamidreza says:

    thanks for the article TallDave.
    I think taking out their bridges may have been the tipping point. I reckon it had a gigantic negative impact on their sense of (false) pride and self-worth. What else can be taken out? Telephone systems? Cellular systems? Power substations? Power transmission lines? Secondary bridges? Yeah, lets take out all these “western” tools and symbols of domination and colonialism so they can go back to the idyllic and romantic life of 7th century Arabia.
    After all, the Taliban state that the Islamofascists wish to install does not need any of this decadent stuff. Material goods is harAm in Islam. They should spend their time praying to Allah and worrying about aferlife, and taking fuidance from the Imam, instead of watching TV.

  • hamidreza says:

    Mike Tuggle – uhhh, why are these “ordinary folks” fighting (the UN mandated) occupiers, when they can simply elect their representatives who will then request “the occupiers” to leave?
    What is the legal basis by which these people are shooting at the authorities, may I ask?
    Self-determination is a right under a democratic setting. But rulership is NOT a right. There is a difference. If these “ordinary folks” do not respect the rights of the other 95% of Iraq (Shias, Kurds, secular and non-Baathist Sunnis), as they have not for the past century, why should this non-conforming and belligerent minorty be given the right to self-determination?

  • leaddog2 says:

    The operations are going VERY WELL in Western Anbar as Bill has shown.
    On a pure speculation issue, Syria is ???
    I expect the Iraqi’s to do a “huge pay-back” to Syria in 2006 or 2007 with our air support. Again, that is “Speculation” but logical based on what is going on.

  • Ike says:

    Another major operation is supposed to be underway.

  • Ike says:

    Ok Thanks.

  • TallDave says:

    I’ve heard on several occasions that we have precise targeting for several spots in Syria that are sources of bad guys, and Israel has known for some time where those special IEDs are coming from in Iran. Hitting them is of course problematic; they are sovereign nations and we can imagine how such an action would be received by the world community.
    That said, at what point do Syria’s or Iran’s actions constitute an act of war against Iraq? This could become an important issue, esp. for Iran; the Revolutionary Guard is not on a tight leash and those guys just can’t keep their fingers out of Iraq. Both regimes have a terrible fear of democratic revolution and may (correctly, perhaps) believe they the very existence of a successful, democratic Iraq is a threat to their continued rule.

  • ex-democrat says:

    ok, this may be the most ignorant question i’ve ever asked online but is it possible that we anticipate the US-trained military of a democratic Iraq to take care of our problems in both Syria and Iran down the line??

  • Ike says:

    ex democrat, its possible but I dont see Iraq being the instigator. If Syria was caught red handed doing something then maybe.
    Also, am I the only who found it interesting from the Zarqawi/Zawahiri letter that he wanted to take over all the neighboring countries to Iraq except Iran? Very conspicious comments.
    Also, for those who like military analyses from a more historical point of view Victor Davis Hanson of National Review is great. //

  • Ike says:

    Another thing that seems like either a big coincidence or is related (because they happened on the same day)
    Maybe a relation between the discovery of the Zarqawi/Zawahiri letter //
    and the NYC subway plot information being uncovered in Iraq //
    Last few days have seen a flurry of setbacks against al Qaeda if the NY plot was foiled, the letter found, mass casualties in the ops in Iraq, etc.

  • Ike says:

    Last post for a while, I promise.
    All of the things I posted above point to one obvious conclusion.
    The quality AND quantity of the intelligence that the U.S. military and intel services have recieved lately has been producing a lot of results and seems to be improving greatly.

  • serurier says:

    There are 4-5 action . seems like soon we’ll taken more messages .

  • serurier says:

    Just taken news from MNF , II MEF lose 6 soldiers in west of Iraq , 4 of them in Qaim I think coalition must deploy more soldiers to Qaim .

  • Jamison1 says:

    The hidden war:
    AP: 539 Bodies Found in Iraq Since April

  • Jamison1 says:

    I would love to hear more about Operation Saratoga

  • Dave from Chicago says:

    Bill, thanks for your very detailed reporting. It’s a shame what the mainstream media is doing during a freaking war. They continue to play politics, posting useless polls on Bush and daily death counts without any info on whats happening in Iraq. I get the feeling the media thinks this is a big game and if they push enough Bush will pullout and it will be a victory for their peace loving BS. I really hope Bush doesn’t give into to this pressure. The media has failed in a serious way. Of course the American people are against the war. Who wouldn’t when all they get is daily killing reports and NOTHING ELSE!!! It’s depressing watching tv anymore and I gotta say I’m disappointed in Fox news for not stepping above the rest. They have followed the same lazy AP reports instead of doing some in depth reporting.

  • Jamison1 says:

    In the briefing section has today’s briefing by MajGen Stephen Johnson, Commanding General of Multi-National Force-West and II MEF(Forward) provides an update of ongoing operations in western Iraq.

  • cjr says:

    This seems like a major development:
    ISF are now in charge of 4 out of 9 districts in Bagdad
    This map shows the districts:

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    #7 Mike Tuggle
    “You can’t classify all those fighting US troops as “terrorists.” ”
    For every 1 American Soldier that is killed, 10 Iraqi’s are killed by whatever you chose to call someone who deliberately targets civilian populations.

  • Rob says:

    I saw pictures of soldiers walking through a palm grove in western Iraq. The cover for the enemy represented by the palm grove is only present in the river valley and irrigated area. This sparked the idea of just how much the terrain can favor our military as this river war continues. Movement by the terrorists or insurgents will largely be restricted to latterly along the river valley. Large scale movement or attacks in the desert beyond the river valley would be conspicuous and therefore deadly to the enemy.


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