River Gate Update – Day Nine

While the news from the fighting along the Euphrates River has been sparse of late, the Coalition continues to conduct operations in western Anbar. At this point in time, Operation River Gate mainly consists of targeted raids and searches for insurgent infrastructure such as weapons factories and ammunition dump. There have been twenty six caches of weapons uncovered since River Gate began. The latest find in the town of Anah (near Rawah) was enormous, and the discovery lead to further finds nearby.

The Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, assigned to Regimental Combat Team-2, were searching a car bomb factory that was destroyed by Coalition air strikes recently, when they noticed freshly moved dirt. A twenty-foot storage container was uncovered after several minutes of digging.

More than 1,000 122 mm artillery rounds were discovered, along with approximately 40,000 armor piercing bullets, 1,000 .50 caliber rounds, detonation cord and various bomb-making materials. After the cache site was destroyed, more munitions were found buried nearby

The effort required to create this storage dump and move the material to the location cannot be underestimated. The quantity of munitions captured is staggering. Hundreds of IEDs could be assembled with the artillery rounds alone, and the armor piercing rounds, in the hands of insurgent snipers, pose a specific threat to U.S. Marines and soldiers as they can negate the life protecting body armor worn by the servicemen. The insurgency has limited resources, and the denial of the Euphrates River basin as a base of operations will, over time, impact the insurgency’s ability to effectively conduct attacks on Coalition forces and the Iraqi people.

Photographs compliments of the 2nd Marine Division

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:

    Holy Moly Bill…talk about a huge haul.

  • Shawn says:

    It must be really difficult to get a read on the number of weapons at the disposal of the terrorists considering it still seems unclear what percentage is currently being imported and what percentage consists of Hussein remnants.
    I would think that the U.S. forces can tell pretty quickly when they discover these caches what is typical of the old regime and what is typical of imported arms? It would be interesting to have some insight on this, especially in terms of former experience if possible.
    I’m sure they aren’t finding receipts from your local 7/11 along with these caches. But this must be a big focus of some back office military guys trying to get a data read on what’s coming out of places like Syria.

  • BLACKFIVE says:

    Operation River Gate

    First, Bill Roggio at the The Fourth Rail has been all over the Operations in Iraq and his analysis is, by far, the best. Operation Bawwabatu Annaher’s (River Gate) goal is to deny Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) the ability

  • GK says:

    Capturing a huge weapon’s cache like this actually is better news than word that 7 low-level terrorists were killed. That is because a weapon’s cache like this could have killed hundreds or even thousands of people.
    Plus, these weapons are not only no longer in the hands of terrorists, but can actually be used by us or the Iraqi army. A double-gain, in other words.

  • GK says:

    Another question :
    We intercepted a letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi. There have been previous letters between bin Laden and Zarqawi intercepted.
    Would this not make it easier to locate both parties? How can we intercept so many letters, but not be able to find either sender or recipient, again and again..?

  • Ike says:

    Assad (dictator of Syria) rips Washington but DEBKA is reporting that Assad’s uncle is heading to Damascus to reshape Syria’s relationship with Washington and start watching the border.

  • AMac says:

    Coalition forces should be able to tell whether these arms caches were assembled and buried prior to March 2003, or afterwards. That would be interesting to know. Per Cordesman, the al-Anbar insurgency is largely home-grown as far as personnel. To what extent was its infrastructure pre-emplaced by Saddam’s regime while it was still in power?

  • Nick Rizzuto says:

    Was this cache part of the car bomb factory? Or seperate?
    Also, how far do car bombs travel? For example, if they are made in Anah, do they travel to Baghdad?

  • Sam Patti says:

    Major General Bob Scales (Ret) on FNC’s Brit Hume was very positive, last night, wrt the GWOT in Iraq. Just back, he was very impressed with the progress the ISFs are making and taking the fight to AQR terrorists. He predicts we’ll win.

  • exhelodrvr says:

    Sam Patti,
    I saw that segment, it was very interesting; not that you’ll see anything about it in the New York or LA Times!

  • Melafista says:

    What is needed is a way to trace fund transfers back to their sources in Saudia Arabia and the gulf states. Find out who sends operating funds to the terrorists then send a black ops team to eliminate the money men. Nip it in the bud.

  • Good News Out Of Iraq, Part V

    A little something you won’t find in the MSM:
    MOSUL, Iraq, Oct. 12, 2005 – School days are here and Sulayminyah school renovations are nearing completion.
    Seven out of ten schools renovated in the Sulayminyah district are complete. The oth…

  • ghoullio says:

    i wonder what would have happened if one of our GMRLS rockets had pounded one of these storerooms? do we endanger civilians when we target the enemy with long range artillery if they are hiding such huge stockpiles of ordinance? or are our payloads bigger than anything in this room?

  • Rookie says:

    I’m thinking about the logistic needed to transport such amount of ammunition… shouldn’t be possible to do this under the nose of Coalition forces.
    The article mention “fresh dirt”… maybe the terrorists just “borrowed” a little from their warehouse to plan a new attack.
    Finding and destroying this weapons caches will lead to a dramatic drop in attacks for sure, not to mention the financial hit. Bullets are not for free…
    Satellite imagery is used to detect underground patterns, like ancient roman villas and so on. Maybe it can be used also around known places like the ones in Anah, to detect further ground anomalies.

  • Colin says:

    I don’t wish to sound negative but I doubt this is huge within the context of Iraq. While, of course, every stockpile destroyed is one that can’t be used against the good guys, I don’t believe access to low-level weaponry and ammo is a problem for the enemy. We’ll win by breaking their weakest links (which we may either have planned or stumbled upon by chance) and this isn’t one of them.

  • ghoullio says:

    no, maybe it isnt a huge stockpile (it is) within the context of Iraq, but rather the location. wher ethis stockpile was could have launched multiple attacks on the freshly contested territory. at least here, the terrorists will have to grab munitions from their other stockpiles, which could be a hundred miles away.

  • leaddog2 says:

    Keep in mind that we NOW control the river bridges! That means that moving in NEW ammunition supplies will be severely restricted. What is still there PROBABLY has not or MAY NOT have all been discovered but bridge control is VERY IMPORTANT!

  • Ike says:

    For anyone interested the DOD is now making available an RSS feed for those with Podcast software or other programs that handle RSS feeds. Here it is…//www.dod.mil/news/rss/


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