Mountaineer Ends

Operation Mountaineer, the joint Iraqi and U.S. cordon & search operation in Ramadi, has completed. The southern neighborhood of Tammin was the main target of the operation, and the railroad bridge across the river was secured to prevent insurgents from smuggling weapons into the city from the west (the railroad bridge is bottom center of the satellite map).

During the operation, twelve suspected insurgents were detained. Two of the suspects were captured at a school, and tested positive for explosive residue. The terrorists used the school as an ammunition depot:

Coalition Forces discovered a large weapons cache and improvised explosive device factory at the Qibbaa Public school in the Malaab District. Numerous weapons, anti-tank mines, and a variety of explosives and detonation devices were seized after a thorough search of the school grounds. Some of the weapons were found buried underneath the building. There were no students at the location.

Coalition forces still have a tough job ahead in securing Ramadi. The introduction of Iraqi troops will likely improve the situation by assisting with the local policing and intelligence gathering, which would prevent the need for an operation on the scale of Fallujah or Tal Afar.

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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28 Comments

  • Annoy Mouse says:

    Is the reference to Airmen in the Marine Corp briefing a reference to Combat Controllers to direct air attacks?
    Also, what are those stacks of boxes in the second photograph?

  • Justin Capone says:

    Ramadi is a big problem, it would take a hell of alot of troops in order to debreed the way it needs to be.
    Iraqi police and military can in time clean things up like what we saw in Mosul. But, it will take a conserted effort and alot of time.

  • desert rat says:

    The Iraqi Army will have all the time in the world to clean up Ramadi, they will not be leaving Iraq in ’06.
    They will be there for the long haul.
    The US on the other hand has a tighter schedule, what with mid-term elections and demands for over $250 Billion dollars for Disaster Relief on the Gulf all coming to a head in 2006.
    The reality of National Politics will soon be taking their toll on the War effort.
    Iraq not being the 51st state.

  • GK says:

    Again, while this appears to be good news, how significant is it in the grand scheme of things? If there are 20,000 hostile militants in Iraq, has this made a dent in that number?
    Are these villages permanently free from hosting Al-Qaeda/Baathist militants, or is it more whack-a-mole?
    Has raqi Army troop strenght and training level proceeded rapidly in the last 2 months?

  • Jamison1 says:

    GK,
    This isn’t a numbers game.
    1) Decrease al-Qaeda’s effectiveness to fight, and you drastically reduce the amount of violence in Iraq (since they are the major cause of violence).
    2) Reduce the amount of violence in Iraq and the elections go well and you win on the political front.
    3) Win on the political front, and you win the war. The terrorists can’t win if they loose on the political front.

  • Jamison1 says:

    Has raqi Army troop strenght and training level proceeded rapidly in the last 2 months?

    Yes.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Win on the political front, and you win the war. The terrorists can’t win if they loose on the political front.
    ——————————————–
    The political front is what I am by far the most worried about. The religious Shia are doing everything they can to piss off the Sunnis. Basically, making it impossible for them to veto the Constitution has them pissed. And, they are going to be even more pissed pissed after the Constitutional Referendum and they will even be angier after that because of the trial of Saddam 2 weeks from now.
    As long as they vote in large numbers in December everything will be fine, if they decide to boycott in December things will be quite bad as we will be stuck with the current group of pro-Iranian morons ruling Iraq.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    desertrat
    “The Iraqi Army will have all the time in the world to clean up Ramadi, they will not be leaving Iraq in ’06.”
    EXACTLY

  • desert rat says:

    Do you assume that Sunni will vote in a Bloc, if so, why?
    There are Sunni tribes that support the National Government. They were battling the Insurgents a few weeks ago.
    I do not think that the we can assume they are a monlithic group.
    As far as their not being able to veto the Constitiution, they never really had that opportunity. They do not, even as a Bloc, control 2/3rds of the three Provinces required to defeat the Referendum. Never did. The game was rigged from the start, Jaafari and his guys are doing what come natural in Arabia.
    Even when they do not have to.

  • hamidreza says:

    Annoy Mouse – my guess is that the items stacked in the middle picture are some kind of consumer electronic UHF or VHF receiver that can detect the signal transmitted from the wireless phones on the floor. They appear to be automobile radio receivers, as there is a detachable panel.
    The IED would then be wired to the receiver. It appears that the lower receivers have been prepped and ready to be hooked into the IED and the battery.
    Since these receivers also transmit an IF, it should be possible to detect them from a distance using a very sensitive detector IMO.

  • desert rat says:

    Looking at those rounds in the picture, I wouldn’t want to be near the tube when they were dropped in. The big boy on the left looks especially dysfunctional. If this is representitive of their capacity, well, it is all but over for the Insurgents.

  • hamidreza says:

    desert rat – I think the US should do itself a favor and give the terrorists some real good looking mortar and RPG rounds.
    Except with a slight modification that makes the round detonate right in place when it is fired. heh heh

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    hamidreza,
    You mean like this –
    //www.mnstci.iraq.centcom.mil/docs/press/102005/02OCT2005IraqiArmynabsfailedbombersinFallujah.mht
    “FALLUJAH, Iraq – Iraqi Army troops netted three insurgents Oct. 1 in Fallujah after the IED they were emplacing blew up prematurely.
    Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force responded to a report by Coalition forces of an explosion. Upon arrival, troops found one terrorist dead and two wounded.”

  • TallDave says:

    The political front is what I am by far the most worried about.
    That’s actually looking the best right now.
    It doesn’t look like Jaafari and his party will be in power after the December elections; his rule has not been particularly popular and his coalition is splitting. Remember, Iraq really is a democracy now, with real elections, raucous dissent, and a thriving free press. Bloggers and newspapers are reporting many Iraqis are very unhappy with the sectarianism of the current parties and secularists are expected to make big gains — including a big chunk of Sunnis who didn’t vote last time.
    The current gov’t just isn’t very representative of what Iraqis want. They were elected because they were all Iraq had to offer last year. This year, there will be real campaigns, real debates, and real choices about the future of Iraq.

  • Justin Capone says:

    TallDave,
    I am aware of the score when it comes to the December elections, but the question becomes will the Sunnis be so pissed off with the democratic process by that time that they moronically decide to boycott again? That is the real question.

  • Ike says:

    //www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/04/AR2005100400551_2.html
    Bill, lots of details in this story, you might find something newsworthy that I didn’t if you fee like takin a peek.

  • Ike says:

    SOME NEWS FROM PAKISTAN/AFGHANISTAN
    40 militants killed in Pakistan on border region.
    //news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20051004/wl_sthasia_afp/pakistanafghanistanattacksqaeda_051004115929
    An RAF pilot yesterday told how he helped ground troops attack terrorists they believe may have been hiding bin Laden in an Afghan cave.
    Wing Commander Bruce Hedley said the rebels fought so fiercely they could only have been protecting someone big.
    He said: “They stood their ground, that’s very unusual. It suggested they were protecting a high-value asset. It could have been someone of the order of bin Laden.” There was no sign of the al-Qaeda leader
    //www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=16205479&method=full&siteid=94762&headline=bin-laden-bombers-to-target-our-troops–name_page.html

  • TallDave says:

    It’s a real danger, but a small one imho. Keep in mind the Sunnis know they are going to lose the referendum anyway so boycotting it doesn’t cost them anything. But they’re kicking themsleves for missing the January elections; hard to believe they’ll skip the December elections and risk having a say in Iraq for the next year or two. The only way I seem them going that route is if the insurgency suddenly mounts some highly improbable triumphs, to the point that it looks like a plausible path to power.

  • Mac says:

    The ordinance looks rusty.
    Is that an issue, or does it rust like that rather quickly, yet still be a viable weapon?

  • Ike says:

    “As with the earlier U.S. offensive – code named Iraq Fist – it appeared many fighters may have slipped away beforehand.”
    //news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051005/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq;_ylt=Aku.37zOyXPSTTBddkNR3slI2ocA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
    Another false comment from the AP after a military captain or general just made a huge statement about the press misreporting military strategies, particularly “escaping” terrorists.

  • Ike says:

    “Separately, the leader of an extremist Islamic group that threatened to use chemical weapons against U.S. positions and the Iraqi government has also been killed in Iraq, according to an Internet statement posted Tuesday. Al-Haj Othman, the emir of the Mujahedeen of the Victorious Sect Brigades, was killed in fighting, said the statement. It did not provide any other details.”
    Thats from the AP story above.
    Bill, is there more fighting going on INSIDE Baghdad because that AP story mentions at least 40 insurgents were killed in Baghdad?

  • hamidreza says:

    heh heh Soldier’s Dad:
    Abu Hamza – ok, 1st wire goes here, 2nd wire goes there; did you get it?
    Abu Hanif – inshallah (god willing).
    **KABOOOOOM**
    Abu Hamza – WTF, why did you do that? Abu Hemar is dead!
    Abu Hanif – sorry but they never taught us how to count in Islamic school!
    I really think the US should manufacture some self-detonating mortars, RPGs and shells, and give them indirectly to the terrorists. They can even put a time delay fuse in there so the thing explodes in a week or two.

  • cjr says:

    Hum……With the coalition holding Fallujia and Habbaniyah to the East and the towns on the Euphrates to the West….the insurgents in Ramadi are now completely cut off and isolated. I bet that’s why Ramadi hasnt seen a major assualt yet. The strategy is to first cut it off……

  • Nicholas says:

    I’m not an ordnance expert but I would not fire any of those rounds from a mortar. I doubt that that is what was intended for them.
    Many IEDs are really just one or more mortar/artillery shells rigged up to a detonator. In other words, the explosives and bomb casing (shrapnel) are used to form the IED, but they aren’t actually fired out of a tube. The condition of those rounds is probably why some IEDs don’t go off. In most cases, the explosives remain effective, however, even if it is no longer a useful mortar round as such.
    Presumably someone, somewhere has mortar rounds in slightly better condition than those for actual firing.

  • Kent says:

    I second comment #24. The rusty mortar bombs in the picture are intended for use as IEDs, although it would be nice if they tried to fire them out of mortar tubes instead.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Iraq Parliament Reverses Vote Rule Change
    Iraq’s National Assembly voted on Wednesday to reverse last-minute changes it had made to rules for next week’s referendum on a new constitution following criticism by the United Nations and a boycott threat by the Sunni minority.
    After a brief debate and with only about half of its 275 members present, the assembly voted 119-28 to restore the original voting rules for the referendum, which will take place Oct. 15. Washington hopes a “yes” vote in the referendum will unite Iraq’s disparate factions and erode support for the country’s bloody insurgency.
    U.S. and U.N. officials hope that restoring the original rules will avert a boycott of the referendum by the Sunni minority, action that would have deeply undermined the credibility of the vote and set back efforts to bring Sunnis into the political process.
    //kutv.com/topstories/topstories_story_278073650.html

  • TallDave says:

    I wonder how many U.S. troops will be there this time next year? I’m guessing around 25,000 to 40,000.

  • cjr says:

    I havent seen anything about Iraqi police commando brigades in several months. Last I read was last May. They were in Mosul(3rd bde), Bagdad(2nd bde), Salam Pak(1st bde). Wonder what they are up to now.

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