More Western Raids

The establishment of permanent bases in Sa’dah near the Syrian border during Operation Iron Fist is paying dividends. In two separate raids over the weekend, twenty five terrorists were killed and one captured. Raids during the past two days have yielded similar results.

Yesterday, Coalition forces targeted terrorist in the towns of Husaybah and Karabilah. Four suspects were arrested and two car bombs were neutralized. Today, Coalition forces, based on local intelligence from multiple sources, conducted raids in the town of Ushsh. Six terrorists were captured and several others are believed to have been killed. The terrorists continue to use non-combatants as human shields. CENTCOM describes the raid on a particular safe house:

Upon arriving at the suspected terrorist safe house, Coalition forces entered the safe house where armed terrorists were located with women and children. As a result of the ensuing exchange of gunfire between the terrorists and Coalition forces, the suicide vest of one of the terrorists was detonated, causing the building’s roof to collapse. The women and children were rescued from the rubble and treated by medical personnel. The group was then moved to a safe area.

The bases in Sa’dah have driven a wedge between al Qaeda fighters and their lines of communication to the border; combined with the outpost in Husaybah (Camp Gannon) the Coalition has segmented the far end of the insurgency’s ratline. Tips and local intelligence are more forthcoming due to the permanent presence in the region, and this information is being exploited by the Marines on the ground.

Four individual ground raids in four days have netted well over thirty terrorists, all with the use of ground forces. The Marines are staying put in the Qaim region and making their presence known, and Iraqi troops, when ready, will not be far behind.

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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40 Comments

  • We’ve got to have Iraqis garrisoning and policing these towns, though, so that we have an environment in which we’re not “plowing the sea,” as it were.

  • leaddog2 says:

    I follow this blog closely. I have a question. What effect will the media hype of 2000 KIA have on our actions? Can we last until the Terrorist media in New York is exposed or not?

  • leaddog2 says:

    What I am asking is how will the ms media be stopped? The military is taking care of al-Queda in Iraq.

  • Matthew says:

    The morale of the Coalition forces just got to be sky-high right now that the results of the October Referendum has been published and even more determined than ever to continue operations in support of the establishment of the legitimate Iraqi government’s presence for the December 15th elections.
    Meanwhile, we are sitting through this insufferable week of MSM-generated “grim milestone” of the 2,000th death in Iraq without any context whatsoever of what that price in blood of dead and wounded has done for both the security of Iraq and, ultimately, the United States.

  • Matthew says:

    well, leaddog2, The only context the 2,000 figure is for the MSM is a nice round number for the headlines.
    As long as the troops keep doing what they are doing and that people like Bill are willing to spend time and effort putting two and two together, I won’t worry.

  • vuc says:

    Speaking only about Zarqawi and foreign terrorists like this blog does almost exclusively totally mischaracterizes this conflict. Foreign terrorists make up less than 5% of the insurgency and are merely mercenaries for Sunni Iraqis who house them in their towns because they support the insurgency. In the last couple of months, foreign terrorists have made up even a smaller part of the insurgency and attacks are increasingly being focused on US forces and Iraqi security forces. The true causes of the Iraqi insurgency are twofold:
    1) Sunni loss of power and discontent with the political process.
    2) Other dictatorships of the Middle East (Syria and Iran) asserting themselves negatively in Iraq because they believe it is in their self-interests.
    There is also a nationlist and patriotic aspect to the insurgency as well as unemployment as a cause but they are not enough to be characterized as one of the 2 main causes.
    By reading this blog, one would never be led to believe that around 80% of Iraqi Sunnis and around 50% of Iraqi Shiites (as high as 2/3 in some provinces) support attacks on coalition troops (45% of Iraqis nationally according to a poll conducted by the British government). Shiite areas that used to be quiet are now seeing numerous attacks on coalition troops. It’s time to be realistic and look at the true causes of this conflict. If every single foreign fighter disappeared from Iraq, attacks would not go down significantly. In fact, Zarqawi and the presence of foreign terrorists may be helping us by preventing Shiites from joining in the attacks.
    So what is the solution? Both of the 2 causes have to be addressed. The first one can probably be addressed if new negotiations are formed to reach constitutional compromises that are acceptable to both sides. This constitution was a step in the wrong direction in that regard but it is not too late. For number 2, it is more difficult. Syria and Iran have to be convinced in some way that it is not in their interests to cause trouble in Iraq. They believe that bogging down the United States will discourage the United States from confronting them. A carrot and stick approach is needed to convince Syria and Iran what is really in their own interests.
    If a constitution is agreed upon by all 3 groups, this will allow US troops to take a lower profile in many areas and avoid the emergence of any patriotic or nationalistic sentiment that this may arouse.
    If Sunni discontent is not seriously addressed before the next election and Syria and Iran are not dealt with adequately, we have no way of ever defeating this insurgency. Foreign terrorists are simply an irrelevant annoyance in this conflict.

  • Justin Capone says:

    vuc,
    The Sunnis don’t want to come to the US and kill us. The Iraqi Sunnis aren’t building a transnational terrorist network that rivals Bin Laden’s in order to export terrorism overseas. The Sunnis aren’t the ones who make the news every other day with spectacular suicide attacks that have killed thousands.
    Yes, the Sunnis are the ones that cause more US troops deaths as they are the ones that plant the IEDs. But, the Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds will have to deal with their own issues over time. The Sunnis are fighting because they believe they can and will retake Iraq. Building the Iraqi Army is the only way to convince them otherwise.
    But, at the end of the day we focus on Zarqawi in Iraq for the same reason the media focuses on Bin Laden and al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, because those are the guys who want to come to the US and kill Americans not the Taleban or the Sunni insurgents in Iraq.

  • Dave From Chicago says:

    Hey guys, the constant negative attitude in the media is really starting to depress me. I don’t understand why the Bush adminstration doesn’t attack these bias media reports with facts on the gound in Iraq. It’s obvious the MSM have no intent on giving a fuill story of the war, instead they continue to throw out deaths and pro terrorist story’s that make them look like decent human beings. You would think someone in the White house would wake and realize we have to fight 2 wars: The one in Iraq and the one at home against the media attack on Bush. Bush needs to get the facts out to the American people in a way they can understand.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    On top of what what Justin said….
    I just think vuc can’t comprehend what he reads. How many times have I focused on building the Iraqi Army, the political situation, the need to split the domestic elements of the Sunni insurgency from the violent al Qaeda minority, the importance of the electoral process and the progress in bringing some Sunni political groups into the fold, etc.?
    It just so happens that the major combat operations in Anbar, which I have been covering, are aimed at the heart of al Qaeda’s base of support. Yes, there is a large domestic Sunni element there. vuc gets madfor some inexplicable reason, because I cover the events in Anbar. Who cares?

  • Mike E says:

    Al Anbar is the correct place to focus given that it is the center of both the Sunni and Zarqawi insurgencies (generating more than 1/3 of all attacks despite having only 5% of Iraqs population).

  • TallDave says:

    Bill,
    I don’t understand why the Bush adminstration doesn’t attack these bias media reports with facts on the gound in Iraq.
    I used to wonder about that too, but no more. The reason is simple: the media simply reports anything like that as “The President attempted to claim progress in Iraq with various statistics, but polls showed the majority of Americans still believe the war is going badly.” When the Pentagon releases that information, they simply ignore it. In either case, they then go on for several grafs about how bad things are.

  • TallDave says:

    Perfect example: there was an AP story this weekend that, without a hint of irony, questioned the “significance” of insurgent casualties and whether they should be reported, all while breathlessly anticipating the 2,000th U.S. soldier killed in Iraq.

  • MG says:

    To: All
    Re: Concern about loss of public support
    Summary: Polls don’t matter, because the C-in-C, like U.S. Grant, is stubborn, and he fights.
    The US Polls are related to:
    — high gas prices
    — 11 o’clock style news coverage… of everything
    The US polls are NOT related to:
    — reality
    “At some point” loss of public support changes policy, but no time soon.
    MG

  • Dave From Chicago says:

    Dave, yeah thats a good point. I’m not sure how to look at the Iraq situation now. It seems like good progress is being made but without some US media support the average person sees a Vietnam part 2 on tv. What can Bush do though? His poll numbers keep going down and with the bias media anytime he give some positives in Iraq people say “He’s looking through rose clolred glasses again.” I don’t have any solutions but we sure are at a scary point. We’ve spent a ton of money and are finally seeing progress, yet at the same time Bush and Iraq support numbers are down to a scary lows.

  • TallDave says:

    Fortunately, MG is right: the (media-drive) polls aren’t that important anymore. Bush is not up for re-election and can mostly ignore the polls. If it comes to a decision between trying to make the GOP look good for 2006 and making Iraq work, W will do the right thing. He and Condi really believe the democracy and freedom rhetoric.

  • Dave From Chicago says:

    Dave, yeah I hope so. But what if we need more money and congress votes no due to 2006 elections? Or a situation like that

  • C-Low says:

    Bush and leadership just are either inable or unwilling to rally the people. They usually only come out making a case defensive after the damage has been done. When you rally people once you get them rallied it is easier to keep them rallied than to wait and have to re-rally them after they either cool down or are rallied to another direction.
    It is unfortunate but I believe up to the military leadership now. In the past the military leadership could always count on the Home Media or the Leadership to rally the people and make the case. That is no longer the case. The home media is actually anti-american or so partisan they care more about thier agenda than the Nation. The Leadership are partisan over National and like Bush right idea, right will to follow throu, but not the ability to go out and rally then keep the people rallied. 4gen Warefare is at least 40% faught in the media front in todays Instant news and media internet and such. Our enemy has learned this and currentley is on that front un challenged. Military leadership in Vietnam, Somalia, now Iraq have allowed their mission to be undermined by leaving that front undefended. The result was loss of moral at home and in a democracy that means defeat even if you are victorious on the battle field. If our military has to be able to win todays wars with losses less than 10US and minimul colateral damage while all at the same time of winning short quick wars of at the longest months, and of course everyone one of our guys must be lawyers and PR guys to keep the acational bad decision like burning dead bodies to goad a enemy or threating a enemy with a pistol to get info or putting fake mistral blood on a enemy to find out where his buddies is we are done as a nation and might as well just disolve the US military becuase it is incapable of defending this nation maybe we can hire the chineese or india or someone to do what we no longer can stomach do what it takes to WIN WAR and defend ourselves. The military Leadership needs to make a plan do the research set up some type of Media Warefare unit and hire outside movie students or advertising groups if nessecary as a stop gap. Their should be commercials on TV showing Who we fight, Why we must win at all cost, What if we lose, the victories and accomplishments. Their should be movies shorts made and given to TV history channel and such and regular TV if not they should buy the air time across the board play the films and have debriefings for the people and shorts about battles projects ect….Their should be reps going out taking the place of these “ex-generals and other experts” places with real intel in the know, this could be forced on the media by stoping the free flow of info and channeling it throu these reps who must be on air to devuldge. Major change I thing that immediatley should be taken is bring back military photographers and journalist. I am sereously tired of media guys showing film of operations with no idea of what the f*ck is going on it just looks like choas and somehow the star always ends up being the field reporter I mean huh I thought reporters reported on the subject not freekin weather girled a war. I want real gun camera footage with descriptions of were the fire is coming from what the guys are doing and yes the results I want to see results not wounded civilians choas soldgiers running around looking disoriented, that is part of war but what looks like choas is really a method to the madness if know what I am saying. A military reporter could make sence of these senes. The embeds were highly watched but got old quick when they all were just reporter X crouching behind a wall with people firing no explanation of what is going on at all something a military rep could explain. This all I believe could be accomplished without giving away any military advatage Michael Yon is a great example of such.

  • TallDave says:

    Dave,
    True, but it’s not likely to get that bad. It’s hard to believe they could lose the Senate, let alone the House.
    P.S. How about that Bears’ D? And go Sox!

  • Dave From Chicago says:

    I wish I could root for the Sox but I’m a die hard Cubs fan. Even though I should feel happy for the city my heart just won’t let me root for them. lol I’m hoping the Bears squeak into the playoffs

  • MG says:

    #15: Dave,
    What is it about the poll that you want me to comment?
    MG
    PS: In 2002, 2003, and 2004, the Administration has done a “rope-a-dope”. I suspect it is also happening in 2005.

  • BillH says:

    Speaking of MSM,who is the biggest threat to Americas security,is it Iraqi,Syria,Afghanistan,
    Iran,China or even Korea,HELL NO!!!The MAIN STREAM MEDIA thats who.They are and will be the ones that will bring America down.They are our greatest enemy!! and until we stop them we will never get the truth out.We need a crusade against them,just like 100 million people buying one less gallon of gasoline a day just think what would happen if 100 millon people walked away from the LAT,NYT,SF CHRON AND TUNED THEY’RE CHANNELS INTO PROGRAMS OTHER THAN CBS,ABC,CNN..well I think you know what I mean

  • exhelodrvr says:

    To all,
    I completely disagree with the concept that polls don’t matter. They may not matter for this President and what is going on in Iraq, but they WILL have a huge impact on future Presidents, Senators, et al, because most politicians will be very hesitant to take big political risks like this. (i.e. Clinton).

  • ex-democrat says:

    Dave from Chicago – notice how the poll, by overreaching, inadvertantly gives the game away: “44 percent of those polled said the situation for US troops in Iraq was getting worse, compared to 19 percent who thought it was improving.”
    this is supposed to pile on, of course, and further damn the administration. in fact, though, it does the opposite: it explains away the fall off in support for the war – once you recognize the fact that the situation for US troops in Iraq is not getting worse.

  • Kenenth says:

    Vuc,
    You are confusing & conflating your statistics again. The “5% foreign” statistic comes form the recent Cordesman report. Actually, 5% is the low end of his estimate of 5% to 10%. Furthermore, that was based on historical data going back 2 years and including ALL the insurgent groups in Iraq. Remember, there are several Shia militias which were included and they have very few foreign members. So Cordesman’s numbers are derived from all of Iraq over 2 years.
    Contrast the Shia militias with Zarqawi’s insurgency in western Anbar. Recent accounts have place the foreign fighters in Anbar from 20% to 60% depending on the location & date of the incident. This range of numbers is not due to ignorance or misinformation on the part of the US military. It is the product of the fact the insurgencies across Iraq are varied in ethnic, religious, political & national composition.

  • MG says:

    #24: Exhelodrvr
    “most politicians will be very hesitant to take big political risks like this”
    Most politicians were ALREADY very hesitant to take big political risks, of any type. What will matter to future politicians is whether the risk pays off in success. If Iraq is successful, pols in 2010 won’t pay attention to Bush’s poll numbers in 2005.
    MG
    PS: One of the reasons for the growth in power of unelected regulators and bureaucracies is this risk-averse nature of elected politicians. Bureaucrats have authority with no accountability, and that trumps politicians, who have accountability and little (real) authority.
    Thus, you get a CIA in open revolt against a President during an election campaign — they do so with relative impunity because their “downside” is quite limited relative to those they attack.

  • blert says:

    #24 exhelodrvr
    I’m with you but….
    The poll that politicians will take their cue from is the 2006 election.
    If Bush & Co succeed, as they appear to be doing, and extract the US Army Reserve plus some maneuver formations by early summer of 2006 – he wins big time.
    One is reminded of Lincoln’s poll numbers. They were catastrophic. Then Sherman took Atlanta and started to march to the sea. Wham! It was all she wrote for McClellan. The poll that counted moved 50 points in two weeks.
    Everyone loves a winner.
    Brutal as our losses in action are, they are actually trivial compared to the carnage unleashed on America’s highways each year. The insurgency is so ineffective that our loss tempo is already fading away.
    With active foot patrols our losses should be rising fast. But they are not. Soon force levels will drop, and the media will have nothing much to write about. Certainly no leading, bleeding righteous declamations.
    I believe that the attack on the MSM in Baghdad was designed to keep them shut in. The minute is appears safe enough these boys are going to start doing the Michael Yon. ( BTW he is shaming them.) As long as the MSM is esconced in the Palistine Hotel they are dependent on the jihadi stringers – the active agents of the insurgents.
    Zark must know that his control of the narrative is in jeopardy.
    I suspect that the attack went off exactly as intended. That the grand scheme was to only look like the hotel was in jeopardy. That is why the truck inexplicably got ‘hung up.’ The driver was under positive radio control and his VBIED was remotely detonated.

  • leaddog2 says:

    vuc,
    Can you read?
    “If a constitution is agreed upon by all 3 groups, this will allow US troops to take a lower profile in many areas and avoid the emergence of any patriotic or nationalistic sentiment that this may arouse”.
    9.8 million people… including 45% of all Sunnis, did that last week. Anyone saying differently is NOT facing reality.

  • leaddog2 says:

    Actually, since the Kurds are also Sunni, the true Sunni approval rate is closer to 85%.

  • ricksamerican says:

    Tips for reading 4th Rail
    For best results, skip vucommodore and go on to the next one. He either doesn’t want to or can’t learn, which doesn’t say much for Vanderbilt. I hope at least he’s an undergrad, so there’s hope for him, time and room for growth.
    C-Low, please learn to use the Enter key. It makes paragraphs! You may be saying some interesting things but when I see that great big block of type, I just keep scrolling. Don’t know what I’m missing.
    Whoever knows someone at Fox News try to turn them on to this site. I’ve been trying for months, but I’m not connected. They’re simply posting AP garbage everyday–unfair and unbalanced. If you can get Bill a gig on Fox, your country will be forever in your debt.
    Thanks for the great posts and comments. Without them we’d really be in the dark.

  • Jon says:

    Zarqawi to mainstream media:
    “Just when you think it’s safe to come out of the barroom at the Palestine Hotel and actually start reporting the news for a change, I send a few presents your way. What I mean is, just stay in the barroom and keep putting out propaganda that portrays the futility of the Iraqi cause. Who’s your daddy? That’s right, I’m your daddy. Never forget it!”

  • Merv Benson says:

    Polling in this country on the war has been done on the basis of “satisfaction” with the way the war is going. The problem with that is you can be in favor of the war and still be dissatisfied with the way it is going. A better poll question would be do you want to lose the war in Iraq? When that questionis asked you will get a better picture of attitude.
    I prefer to focus on the al Qaeda in Iraq enemy becuase he is the one that must be destroyed. There is nothing that he would negotiate. While the other Sunnis who are opposing the liberation of Iraq need to be dealt with, it is possible that the Iraqi government can reach some accomidation with them. In fact the Sunnis will have no choice once the new Iraqi army is established. A fraction of a minority that makes up only 20 percent of the country is not going to win on its own.

  • exhelodrvr says:

    MG,
    You’re wrong about that. Politicians will watch this issue very closely to see how this pays off politically for the Republican party/those Democrats who supported the war. If they see support for this type of policy as a negative for winning an election, most of them won’t be willing to support it.

  • exhelodrvr says:

    Blert,
    “If Bush & Co succeed, as they appear to be doing, and extract the US Army Reserve plus some maneuver formations by early summer of 2006 – he wins big time.”
    That depends on the public perception of the war as a whole, which in turn depends on the ability of the MSM and the Democrats to portray it as a waste.
    By any real measuring stick, the “Bush doctrine” has been an incredible success so far, and his foreign policy approval ratings ought to be in the high 70’s/low 80’s. But that is not the world we live in; too many people take the news they are fed at face value.

  • ricksamerican says:

    Exhelo
    Agreed on almost all points except I don’t think you are giving proper weight to the question of character–specifically with regard to Clinton and Bush and future presidents and the polls. Like Lincoln, Bush will never waiver or be deterred from doing what he believes is right by public opinion alone. Likewise, Clinton did only what he believed would help him with public opinion, since he lost his sense of right and wrong long befor he became president–who knows when. Future presidents will make decisons based on their characters not polls. Clinton followed polls not because of the polls but because of who and what he is.
    Also, as with the Civil War, once the victory is won–in this case, Iraq is a functioning democracy–that will be all that matters. The polls, the issue of public opinion, the role of the MSM and the democrats will all be in the PhD theses and footnotes.

  • exhelodrvr says:

    Ricksamerican,
    I agree; President Bush is not the run-of-the-mill politician. It was a huge personal political risk for him to move into Iraq. Most would have rested on their laurels after Afghanistan. I doubt that his father would have done what he did; obviously neither would have Clinton of Gore. But the problem is that most politicians, including most Republicans, don’t have his political courage.

  • Media Lies says:

    The Iraq Report was updated….

    ….with the latest information from Iraq, as of October 20, 2005. Here’s some of the numbers:

    • Coalition fatalities were much lower the past two months, d…
  • In the midst of this piling on to the media, could I make a point? It’s a given that 2005 has seen some remarkable progress in moving Iraq to the point when it will one day be, if not a normal peaceful country, then at least Northern Ireland. There’s a great deal of saying, “But why is the media focusing on the negative? Why don’t they believe reports of good news?”

    Perhaps the reason is because of the way 2004 went. 2004 saw some massive pooch-screws, to include turning Samarra and Fallujah over to the Ba’athists, having the nascent Iraqi army collapse, having the Mosul police force collapse, etc.

    Up until about April, one could have made the argument that everything was going well. You then, though, had the Fallujah uprising, the loss of parts of central Iraq, a spate of kidnappings, and the country began slipping into a spiral of chaos in which insurgents would take over a police station every week or so.

    But, until the storm hit in April, the word was that everything was going smoothly. So it is really no surprise at all that currently when Centcom or the administration offers good news that the media is skeptical. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.

  • mike E says:

    Up until about April, one could have made the argument that everything was going well. You then, though, had the Fallujah uprising, the loss of parts of central Iraq, a spate of kidnappings, and the country began slipping into a spiral of chaos in which insurgents would take over a police station every week or so.
    But none of those things were very major set backs, speedbumps for sure, but with the US military in Iraq they were not the sort of events that could stop the steady progress of Iraq to democracy and, in most of the country, peace and stability.
    They were totally overblown in the press.

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