Securing the Syrian Border – An Unconventional Solution

Efforts to secure the Syrian frontier from infiltration is a key element to defeating the insurgency, as Syria has acted as a safe haven for foreign jihais, al Qaeda and the remnants of Saddam’s Baathists. While some estimates place the foreign jihadis as low as 5% of the insurgency, they make up the most dangerous and violent elements of the insurgency, and are responsible for the mass attacks on civilians that threaten to plunge the country into sectarian conflict.

Map Syria Iraq border.JPGLast August, Security Watchtower provided a graphic on the establishment of the forts and checkpoints along the Syrian border. Strategy Page reports on an interesting proposal to establish a border patrol, which has yet to be confirmed:

In Anbar Province, the large desert region in the western part of the country that borders Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, the government has apparently reached an agreement with several of the Sunni tribes to form a “Desert Protection Force.” The DPF will be recruited from tribal militias, who have an intimate knowledge of the desert, and the traditional – as in thousands of years – smuggling routes into the adjacent regions. Although it can be viewed as a bribe to the tribal leaders to keep their people in line, the initiative may yield important benefits in the future, since it links local tribal fortunes to the success of the new government.

Co-opting local tribes to provide for border security is a reasonable solution if the proper checks can be put into place to ensure there are performing their duties as advertised. First and foremost, the Coalition should embed personnel into the proposed Desert Protection Force, and U.S. Special Operations operators are ideal for this mission. Air, artillery and quick reaction forces should be placed nearby to provide superior firepower when needed. Financial incentives should be established, and reward offered for foreigners and Baathists caught moving across the border. Payment should be withheld from units that fail in the mission, and severe punishments for those who double cross the Iraqi government and aide the insurgents.

Without the proper checks and balances, the proposed Desert Protection Force risks devolving into the Fallujah Brigade of 2004, which was intimidated by al Qaeda and the insurgency, and several of whose members assisted or even defected to the insurgency during the assault on the city in the spring of 2004. A Desert Protection Force is a high risk, high rewards proposal that can be made to work with the right planning and execution.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

89 Comments

  • enthymeme says:

    Insertion of SOC oversight elements in the western reaches of the Sunni heartland cum al Qaeda area of operations seems risky in the extreme (yes that’s what they’re for). Proximity to Syria would aid insurgents who might ostensibly want to spirit away any such elements operating in isolation or with as light a footprint as possible. Better to have Iraqi embeds and an American QRF, no?

  • Matthew says:

    I’m not sure that the U.S. will train (and trust) Iraqi embeds with the know-how of American fire support. The worry would be a disasterous fire mission with lots of civilians dead because an Iraqi embed either made a mistake, used the fire support in the wrong way, or was deliberately targeting civilians. Someday we will have to train Iraqis how to call their own fire support, but not now.
    I think Bill is right, special forces should be involved to be involved in training these DPFs as well as keep an eye on their activities to make sure that they are not acting against the interests of the Iraqi government.
    It is a good point by Enthymeme, I’m not sure how these SF operators would be able to prevent betrayal of these tribes so they don’t get themselves kidnapped, ambushed or killed. Then again, SF were able to work with great success in Afghanistan in overthrowing the Taliban.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Matthew,
    There is a solution to that, finally allow the Iraqi Air Force to be built up.
    I know the US press has this extreme aversion to even one civilian dying by a US warplane, but they won’t say a thing if the Iraqis are the ones calling for their own air support and Iraqi helicopters and planes show up.
    And, if they are worried about Sunni infilitration they should just make the Iraqi airforce mostly Kurdish for the time being.

  • leaddog2 says:

    It is a matter of will! Will the Sunni tribes recognize their options are limited to 1) co-operation with the new government or 2) their own
    marginalization (or not)?
    After all, some power as associates is BETTER than DEATH
    (for the sane ones, at least).

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Matthew,
    “Then again, SF were able to work with great success in Afghanistan in overthrowing the Taliban.”
    Excellent point, in that part of the world, establishing that you have “Big Brass…” goes a long way.
    If someone was thinking about surrendering…who would they surrender to…The Japanese defense forces…or the 82nd Airborne.
    Being defeated by the Japanese contingent would be a great shame for a warrior. THe 82nd..at least the guy can say he held off the mighty 82nd Airborne for 3 hours when he tells his war stories to his grandchildren.(Okay…the 82nd was having a smoke break for 2 hours and 59 minutes).

  • ike says:

    //news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051019/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_iraq
    We have some really asinine senators in this country, Republican and Democrat.
    Sen. Biden “I don’t want a date for leaving Iraq but…..when are we leaving Iraq”
    Lots and lots of whining. These people should be giving the public encouraging truthful reports, not criticizing the decision makers in this victory.

  • GK says:

    We are about to suffer another blow from the treasonous MSM. The 2000-casualty mark is going to be hit next week.
    The media will ride that circus to the maximum, causing support for the war and Bush to drop another 5 points.
    Only the December election has a hope of getting back above 50% again.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    ike,
    The public Senate foreign relations committee hearings are a political show. As ar Armed Services and Intelligence Committes.
    They all go into the classified briefing…agree the action…then in public hearings…the elected officials all make sure that they are covered politically.
    The public votes are all the same…we want the Iraqi government to strive to avoid marginalizing groups if at all possible. Hence the “time table” screaming.
    The Shiites in the south and the kurds have every historical reason to marginalize the Sunni’s. Pressing them to go with inclusion is the game plan.
    Quagmire Ted has been quiet lately.

  • ike says:

    //www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/05/front2453663.05625.html
    No military plans for invading Syria but a lot of plans for diplomatically squeezing them with allies and some apparently specific plans.

  • cjr says:

    If we were to look at the overall campaign to isolate Iraq from Syria, I think it would be:
    -Secure Tel Afar.
    -Secure border forts and border crossings all along the Syria/Iraq boader from Euphrates(Qaim) north to the Syrian/Turkish border.
    -Securing the Euphades river line all along the areas dominated by Sunis: from Qaim to North of Karbala.
    -Shiite police force on the Euphades river line from Karbala to Basrah
    -Secure Rutbah to control the road from there eastward.

  • blert says:

    This ought to be regarded as a pure political payoff,a tradition in the area. Certainly that is the way Saddam operated with these players.
    Don’t make it more complicated.
    Do not cross-train these guys in any way. Do not expose our ways and means: they will turn such knowledge against us. That is their livelyhood. They are smugglers, get it?
    You can take it to the bank that these guys were/ had to be major facilitators for the enemy. This is their turf, barren as it is.
    These guys have read the election results and are simply changing sides. Here and there they will still enable the opposition, for a price.
    Any buddy campaign is going to be a waste of manpower since there are no other ‘coyotes’ working the western Anbar. You have met the enemy and they are them.

  • Nick Rizzuto says:

    Why can’t a wall be built? Similar to the security wall in Israel, solid concrete in trouble areas and chain link & Razor wire in others.
    I know it would be a diplomatic hazard with Syria, but to hell with Assad and his diplomacy. When the insurgency is over the wall can come down.

  • snowflake says:

    Blert makes an excellent point. The Albu Mahal are a smuggling tribe based in the Husaybah area. Until they had their butts handed to them by AQIZ, they were the mainstay of an Iraqi nationalist group called the Hamza Battalion. They were some of the main perps in a lot of IDF and IED attacks on US forces in the area. We were going after them pretty hard, running air, patrols, counter-battery, etc. For some reason they went after AQIZ and got pimp-slapped. Someone on their side must have read Sun Tzu or something. The enemy of the guy who’s whipping my butt is my friend. Or something like that…

  • blert says:

    BTW, now that the new government has essentially no tariffs and virtually no border controls the smuggling racket has fallen on terrible, terrible times. There is nothing to smuggle – except warriors.
    Generally weapons are not smuggled in.
    First, the Syrians can’t welcome the prospect of significant weapons floating around their eastern border that might not quite make it over to Iraq.
    Second, the Iraqi Baathists have been farsighted: weapons dumps are secreted all over and under Arab Sunni tribal areas. I have yet to see a single photo or read one account of fresh armaments. Instead, bunker after bunker is loaded with Saddam’s 122mm artillery shells, 82mm mortar rounds. None of these would be attractive as imports.
    Of course, the imported Iranian non-improvised command controlled mines stand out and prove the exception to the norm.

  • TallDave says:

    I remember reading a year or so ago that munitions were getting a lot more expensive ofr insurgents. I wonder if that trend has continued?

  • hamidreza says:

    Bill – why not a high-tech border protection force?
    First declare a no-mans land of about 10 miles deep, along the entire length of the border where anything that moves will be annihilated.
    Station 4 or 5 GMLRS (guided multiple launch rocket system – see securitywatchtower.com), one every 60 miles along the length.
    Then populate the skies with tens of UAV drones, 24 hours a day. If a UAV is covering an area 10×10 miles, it should be able to spot a person dashing across the no-mans land (I think).
    If the UAV spots lets say a mule train, then dispatch a guided missile, fetch the popcorn, and call the boys to watch the movie. heh heh

  • Remoteman says:

    On the upcoming 2K deathwatch, I read yesterday in the comments section of a Huffington Post screed that the number of soldiers who’ve died, including those who’ve left the battlefield and died later due to their wounds is around 5K. Does anyone know anything about this?
    Does the military classify someone as KIA if they survive the trip to Landstahl or Walter Reed, but die there due to complications?

  • Jamison1 says:

    Yes they are counted. For more info:
    //icasualties.org/oif/Dow.aspx
    summaries here:
    //icasualties.org/oif/

  • Jamison1 says:

    Interesting numbers here:
    //icasualties.org/oif/stats.aspx
    Hostile fire 1546 78%
    Non-combat related 436 22%

  • Marlin says:

    Remoteman –
    I would disagree with the comment at the Huffington Post, I use Iraq Coalition Casualties which religiously tracks U.S., other MNF, hostile vs. non-hostile fatalities regardless if the death occurred in theatre or out of theatre (usually in Germany or U.S.). ICC currently shows the U.S. fatalities at 1,982, U.K. at 97 and other MNF at 102 for a total of 2,181.

  • hamidreza says:

    Soldier’s Dad – nice article – //www.mnf-iraq.com/Releases/Oct/051019c.htm
    Just imagine the irony – Husayn, the VBIED handler who is stopped at the checkpoint: uhhhh Sir, do you see that car coming towards us? – uhhhh I have never seen it before, but I am sure there is a bomb in it – uhhhh Sir, you gotta believe me Sir! I swear to Allah I dont know it is a VBIED, but I know it is a VBIED and it is going to blow all of us up Sir! – SHOOT IT, SHOOT IT!

  • blert says:

    For the scale and length of effort coalition casualties are remarkably low. IRRC these figures include non-combatant losses by our troops in-country: vehicle and aircraft mishaps. Last time I looked those made up about 20-30% of the total figure.
    The current figure for Hositle Action Fatalities is 1438 since May 1, 2003. IIRC the OIF figure was more than 340 after the end of phase one liberation.
    So, it looks like the insurgent campaign has cost less than 1200 American lives so far. Painful, but unavoidable if we are to put AQI out of business.
    Even in peace time the US military loses warriors at a constart trickle due to training accidents, collisions. Its a dangerous profession.

  • Sgt. York says:

    Re: “it looks like the insurgent campaign has cost less than”
    Thank the excellent medical care in-theater. A lot of guys who would have been dead in prior conflicts are being saved by a lot of hard-working dedicated doctors… but there is a huge number of guys missing parts of their bodies.

  • cjr says:

    #23: Sgt York
    “… but there is a huge number of guys missing parts of their bodies. ”
    Huge number?? As of July 31, there have been a total of 275 amputees.
    //www.armymedicine.army.mil/news/medevacstats/200507/oif.htm

  • hamidreza says:

    #23: Sgt York
    “… but there is a huge number of guys missing parts of their bodies. “
    As they say in the middle east, “it must be a strange day when the water flows upstream and the frogs start reciting poetry”.
    Sgt. York the mukhaberati who takes special pleasure in US casualties on other forums, is now complaining about US soldiers getting wounded.

  • vuc says:

    //p102.news.scd.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051019/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_iraq_16;_ylt=AhKoXOqaGcwH_p4HOUEoZSNX6GMA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
    At the current rate of casualties, that’s 10,000 US dead.
    For what???
    So the Shiite religious parties can fix the elections just like Saddam Hussein did

  • Marlin says:

    vuc –
    “At the current rate of casualties, that’s 10,000 US dead”.
    Given how the War in Iraq has progressed over the past 14 months (since the reclaiming of Najaf), I think it takes quite a bit of chutzpah on your part to use the current rate of casualties for the entire 10 years. Your comment strikes as ill-informed scare mongering.

  • ikez78 says:

    //www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,172810,00.html
    Saddam relative caught, big insurgency financer. Forced back into Iraq from Syria. Developing…

  • ikez78 says:

    Al Qaeda safehouses in Karabilah destroyed.
    //www.mnf-iraq.com/Releases/Oct/051019d.htm

  • hamidreza says:

    vuc – I am so touched by your concern about US casualties. But cry not. Once the death squads (ooops, I meant the freedom fighting insurgents) are eradicated, I will assure you that there will be no more US casualties. In fact, 80% of all US deaths are due to IEDs. Once the Iraqi Army assumes full patrol operations in Al Anbar, which should be soon, this should stop from happening.
    So the Shiite religious parties can fix the elections just like Saddam Hussein did
    Could you please elaborate on how elections are being “fixed”? Or are you just propagating one of the weaker totalitarian-left memes?

  • hamidreza says:

    Baghdad real estate market booming and prices tripling.
    //www.rismedia.com/index.php/article/articleprint/12185/-1/1/
    The article mentions killing of some realtors, and attributes them to Islamist intimidation. But to the best of my knowledge, property brokerage is an honorable profession in Islam. I think that these assassinations are market hoarding activities to control and divide up the brokerage market using criminal methods.
    Prophet Mohammad (PBUH – ooops, almost forgot to say that, lest the PC-police shows up) was a smuggler and market cornerer middle man in his youth and before he started hearing things in his skull. The middle-man speculator is the highest profession in Islam, way above workers and producers and farmers. I would not know why Islamists or for that matter Baathists would have anything against realtors. It looks like the insurgency is devolving into criminal activities and organized crime. So typical of Islamists and Baathists who are giving up their quest for power.

  • Jamison1 says:

    Tip leads Task Force Liberty to cache in Diyala Province
    TIKRIT, Iraq – Task Force Liberty Soldiers followed a civilian tip to a cache of 85 anti-tank mines near Hamrin in Diyala Province at…
    more

    Al Qaeda in Iraq bomb makers foiled and detained
    BAGHDAD, Iraq – Multi-National Force-Iraq has determined three suspects captured after an incident at a Coalition Checkpoint in Anay, northwest…more


    Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist cell meeting site destroyed
    BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces destroyed a terrorist safe house Oct. 18 in Karabilah where two al Qaeda in Iraq terror cells were attempting to…more

    Multi-National Force-Iraq trains Soldiers in Al Anbar
    BAGHDAD, Iraq – Special operations personnel from both the U.S. Navy and Army finished several weeks of training for the Iraqi Army’s newest…more

  • Jamison1 says:

    The new Iraqi government will succeed, Rice said, if U.S., coalition and Iraqi interests can work together to:

    • Break the back of the insurgency so that Iraqis can finish it off without large-scale U.S. military help.
    • Keep Iraq from being a safe haven from which Islamic extremists can terrorize the region or the world.
    • Demonstrate positive potential for democratic change and free expression in the Arab and Muslim world, even under the most difficult of conditions, and;
    • Turn the corner financially and economically, so there is a sense of hope and a visible path toward self-reliance.

    Anti-terror advocates in Iraq have the advantage, Rice said, since the terrorists only want to tear down society, have no affinity for the Iraqi people, and have no positive vision for the country’s future.

    //www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2005/20051019_3093.html

  • ikez78 says:

    //www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9751656/page/2/
    I am really tired of these Senators. I know I posted this earlier but didn’t these people also vote to go to war. Didn’t they contribute anything to this? Why is it Bush’s sole responsibility to explain the war? Does someone need to hold their hands and explain to these morons we are at war and we need you to quit complaining and whining and explain to your constitutients what is at stake and what we are doing.
    I am sick of every SINGLE time someone from the administration answers questions abotu Iraq and lays out a VERY CLEAR plan we later see idiots like Obama and Feinstein say they don’t know what the plan is or their isn’t a plan. Get a clue you morons, there is a plan, you are the IDIOTS who don’t understand it for whatever reason. Read the speeches till you figure out, don’t keep sayin there isn’t a plan. I am readin to gather these people up and dump them off in the middle of the Sunni triangle. I really am.

  • Marlin says:

    Justin –
    “There is a solution to that, finally allow the Iraqi Air Force to be built up.”
    After reading this Stars & Stripes article, I believe building up the Iraqi Air Force is a big job that cannot be accomplished quickly.
    U.S. helping Iraqi air force get off the ground

  • Remoteman says:

    Thanks to all about the info on casualties. I am not surprised that the lefty commentors at Huffington Post were sowing disinformation. (Due to Mr. Roggio’s apprpriate language restriction, I shall refrain from labeling the aforementioned lefties in the manner that I would prefer.)
    We are winning this war and I beleive we are past the tipping point. The rate of success should accelerate.

  • ROFASix says:

    Securing the Syrian Border

    In September of this year I posted an entry,

  • Rob says:

    This is what sucess looks like.
    The war in Iraq is going our way, and the commitment of the Iraqis to their democratic future is on track. Iraqis are dying for that future, they continue to line up for jobs in the police and army. That is what it takes. They are buying a better future for their children with their blood. Just as we have paid a price, so are they. They are paying for a democratic Iraq and in the future they will own it.
    We should be proud. This is what pay back looks like.
    It makes the MSM, the hateful Democratic left, the treacherous French, the corrupt UN, and whining weasles world wide look pretty weak and silly.
    This is what success looks like.

  • vuc says:

    Rob:
    If this is what “success” looks like, I would hate to see what failure looks like

  • Justin Capone says:

    The biggest problem is the Pentagon’s reluctance to arm the Iraqi Army with anything more then 60s and 70s Soviet equipment.
    I have my doubts that they bought into all this remaking the Middle East stuff.
    But, my view on the matter is we should at least be willing to give the Iraqi Army better equipment then we are selling to the Saudis right now.

  • blert says:

    Don’t give anyone more than they need to execute their mission. Giving the Iraqis equipment suitable to roll over the KSA makes no sense.
    As a matter of statecraft we don’t want to give any ME player offensive capability. We want the status quo.
    Iraq needs a coast guard not a navy. It needs an air force oriented to defense and humanitarian relief.
    Force projection is the last thing we want to stimulate.
    Should military operations be required in either Iran or Syria, the Iraqi Army could function very, very well as currenty consituted. Their assitance does not require them to duplicate our DOD.
    Counter insurgency success comes in slow motion. Let it happen at its own pace. Current policy is working so well Z is writing to Z.
    Think of the U-boat war in May `1943. The turn had just happened; Germany was crushed. Yet, no one dared imagine just how great and irreversible the balance of play had changed.
    The fact that this smuggling tribe is flipping to the government side is a harbinger of a total strategic rout of the enemy.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    vuc,
    “If this is what “success” looks like, I would hate to see what failure looks like”
    Take a look at this Islamic Website.
    “AMONG THE QURANIC PROPHECIES relating …… One such prophecy relates to the impending danger of a nuclear holocaust.”
    //www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/part_6_section_3.html

  • Nick Rizzuto says:

    “If this is what “success” looks like, I would hate to see what failure looks like”
    Failure looks like Iran.

  • TallDave says:

    A little OT, but the media continue to tell outright lies about the state of the Iraqi forces. From the Guardian:
    Of 113 paid-up battalions, the Americans regard just one as reliable in a firefight,”
    That is an unconscionable libel of our troops efforts in training Iraqis to defend their democracy.

  • Robert M says:

    For anyone looking for a good reason why the tarining and arming of the tribesman in the desert is a good idea try reading Andy McNabb’s Bravo-Two Zulu. It is a story about an SAS unit inserted into the desert regions of Iraq.
    In it he pointed out the problems with hiding in the desert against an enemy that did not have the UAV capability of US armed forces. The UAV as spotters with the tribesman as a rapid reaction force will be able to interdict and destroy infilitrators. With special forces operators inserted to provide communications they will be very lethal to the terrorist infiltrators.
    By keeping the special forces operators in control of communication and location devices a high level of security can be maintained.

  • Nick Rizzuto says:

    I’m sorry to repeat this question, but Im very interested as to what people have to say about this:
    Why can’t a wall be built? Similar to the security wall in Israel, solid concrete in trouble areas and chain link & Razor wire in others.
    I know it would be a diplomatic hazard with Syria, but to hell with Assad and his diplomacy. When the insurgency is over the wall can come down.

  • //www.geopoliticalreview.com/archives/001228.php

    Iraq and the War on Terror: Securing the Syrian Border, at the Fourth Rail Desecrations of Terrorist [Bodies] in Afghanistan at Black Five The Resurgence of the Iraqi Navy The Torture Question at Froggy Ruminations Exploiting Our Dead Soldiers, by…

  • Kenneth says:

    Vuc,
    Re: “At the current rate of casualties, that’s 10,000 US dead.”
    There are 2 things wrong with your statement. Firstly, if you go back and read the actual report, Rice did not say the US will be in Iraq for 10 years. The headline said that, but Dr. Rice did not. This is just another example of media bs. Secondly, you are assuming the casualty rate among US forces has been & will continue to be steady. In fact, it has been declining steadily for the past 10 months, even while the US has been taking the battle to the terrorists. As the Iraqi army & police are trained, the US forces will withdraw from Iraq. This has always been the US policy and it hasn’t changed.
    Will there be Americans in Iraq in 10 years? Yes, I imagine there will be US military advisors, US business peole and American tourists. If you decide to visit the heart of the democratic Arab world, you can expect to see a statue of George W. Bush in downtown Baghdad.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Nick Rizzuto,
    “Why can’t a wall be built”?
    There supposedly is a 12 foot berm at the Syrian border. It is a 300 mile border.
    Just as there are tunnels from Mexico and the US, and tunnels from Canada and the US, there are tunnels from Syria to Iraq.
    The problem is eliminately those on the receiving side of the tunnels. In the case of the tunnels from the US and Mexico, the American side is controlled by drug trafficers. In the case of Syria and Iraq, the Iraqi side is controlled by people loyal to Former Regime Elements or Smugglers. In the case of Israel, there are no tunnels. The Israeli population would not see ownership of a tunnel into Israel as an opportunity for profit. In the case of Iraq, those tunnels have been an oppotunity for profit for a very long time.

  • Papa Ray says:

    There are many discussions around the web about “border fences”. Many arguments for and counter-aruguments against.
    The cost for Israel’s fence is estimated (depending on who’s numbers you use as between 1.2 million per mile and 2.3 million per mile. They have had many problems with tunnels and other breaks through the fence.
    The apx. same numbers are used for a southern border for the U.S. I think it would be more.
    The problem with a fence is unless it goes underground for many feet, is almost anyone with a shovel and a bucket can dig a tunnel under it (given the time). Even with sensors, if it was done in the right place at a deep enough depth in the right way, they would not be detected.
    Also, the helium balloon works great for going over it.
    I have no opinion about it one way or another except to say that the money spent would pay for a lot of troops to be just using their eyes and ears to accomplish the same thing.
    1200 miles x X millions of dollars per mile. (plus cost of troops, vehicles, etc.)
    Papa Ray
    West Texas
    uSA

  • Sgt. York says:

    – – –
    Comment removed.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Sgt York,
    If you don’t know that “mukhaberati” is Saddam’s intelligience service, then how is it that you comment as though you know something about what is going on in relation to Iraq?
    It is like a Russion commenting on US foreign policy without knowing that the CIA is the CIA.

  • AMac says:

    Personal attacks and obscenities have no place here. It will ruin the comments for all readers. Would that be a bug or a feature? I hope violators of 4th Rail comments policy can apologize and then fall silent.

  • Manchu says:

    Strongpoints along the traditional smuggling routes in the form of Forward Operating Bases, advised and trained by SF, manned by those from the area with a U.S. Air Assault QRF. Sounds like the Montengnards in Vietnam. It worked.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    In other news per Gen Lynch televised briefing today.
    25% of all company and higher ops are being performed independently by ISF.
    16 battalions of ISF in AlAnber.
    Turnout for referendum in AlAnbar was 39%
    Turnout in Salahadin was 70+ percent.
    89 attacks on Referendum day. A far cry from the 300+ attacks on Election day in January.

  • robrides says:

    ROFASix,
    Mines are now illegal except for certain very limited types and circumstances

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    robrides,
    The US never signed the “Mines Convention”, they couldn’t get an exception for the mines between N and S Korea.

  • TallDave says:

    Great news, SD, thanks for sharing.

  • blert says:

    The mines treaty was only signed by non-players. Russia and America would not bite.
    It was a joke, of course. Mines are the king of defensive warfare. Naval mines are the queen of strategic warfare. Think of them as droids without feet.
    Mines will truly outlawed when gunpowder is banned.

  • leaddog2 says:

    Soldier’s Dad,
    While I have NO QUARREL with the numbers here:
    “89 attacks on Referendum day. A far cry from the 300+ attacks on Election day in January”.
    The media counts throwing a rock as an attack!

  • TallDave says:

    I suppose the real question is whether Iraq has signed the mine treaty.

  • exhelodrvr says:

    The mime treaty? I don’t think the Koran allows mimes!

  • vuc says:

    hamidreza:
    I am very concerned about US soldiers and their safety so please don’t insinuate that I’m not. As far as fixing the election, I think it’s a good possibility. Nineveh province had a totaly of 170,000 votes in the January election with 70% Kurdish turnout. Now, they have more than twice the number of “No” votes. It’s very suspicious. I’m sure that you’re suspicious as well given the fact that you seem to have a very good understanding of the region. Even if it wasn’t fixed, you know conspiracy theories are going to be believed. The Middle East is the world capital of conspiracy theorists. I think the Iraqi Election Commission knows that something is VERY wrong and that’s why they havn’t said anything about the results yet. They are probably deciding if they risk starting a civil war if they say that there were widespread irregularities. I think they should just cancel the vote and have another one if there were irregularities or else they’re going to risk greatly enraging moderate Sunnis.
    This article talks about inplausible vote results in Iraq
    //www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1119617,00.html

  • vuc says:

    US Army officer in Mosul to Time magazine:
    “It wouldn’t surprise me if the election was rigged”

  • leaddog2 says:

    vuc,
    Your phony election balony will not fly! We are on to the leftist media manufactured horrors.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Sorry for the absence, was conducting some business today. I gave a presentation on the Anbar Campaign at AEI. It went over very well.
    Sgt. York is through here. So will then next person that mouths off like that.
    Apologies are neither required or desired. Take your garbage elsewhere.

  • TallDave says:

    leaddog,
    Yeah, but he was talking about Florida 2000.

  • vuc says:

    TallDave:
    This is nothing like Florida 2000. Florida was a matter of a couple hundred votes. Here we’re talking fraud on a grand scale. This would be the equivalent to John Kerry losing the whole rest of the South and then mysteriously winning South Caronlina by 40% when there the states next door didn’t vote that way and common logic is telling you that it’s impossible. Another analogy would be John Kerry winning Utah in a landslide and getting double the number of votes that Clinton got in Utah. It just wouldn’t make any sense to a rational observer.

  • Nicholas says:

    The list of medical evacuees says:
    “All numbers represent only Army soldiers evacuated to Army medical treatment facilities.”
    How many US/coalition troops who are seriously wounded would not be on that list?
    The numbers are relatively low… thank god! I was worried the number of seriously wounded would be greater than KIA. If those figures are at all accurate, that is not the case.
    Best of luck to all patients for their recovery.

  • Jamison1 says:

    IEDs are mines

  • Jamison1 says:

    The mime treaty? I don’t think the Koran allows mimes!

    This may be a reason to convert!

  • hamidreza says:

    vuc – The number of voters this time is much higher, due to the improved security condition. You will also see a higher Yes count than the last election figure of 170,000.
    The reason the preliminary results shows double proportion of Yes votes is because Yes districts were first to report their counts, before the election commission stopped all reporting. Soldier’s Dad has reported an unofficial count of about 45% Yes. Please note that there are large number of Shiites in Talafar and Kurds in Sanjar close to the Syrian border, who probably were not able to vote on 1/30. My guess is that at least 35% of Ninawa is Kurd-Shiite, and if 10% of Sunnis/Turkmen vote Yes, then about 40% of the voters would have voted Yes, and the Constitution would pass.
    The preponderance of conspiracy theory is unfortunate and its victims are the very same people who mindlessly accept and propagate such theories.
    The delay in reporting results cannot be put to rigging. When votes are so close, it is important that the election commission takes its time to sort matters out.
    You need to look at irregularities that are reported. Some have been reported but not many. Note that there are hundreds of election monitors, some belonging to the various parties, and some independent and foreign, who have the means to monitor the voting and the counting and compare the results to exit polls. Have you heard any serious reports from official election monitors indicting the vote or the count? I have not.
    The result is going to be close. But note that it does not matter so much if the Constitution passes or fails. The objective was to get the Sunnis committed to the referendum, and that was a first order success. Either way, they have another chance to amend the Constitution.
    It is too early to claim “implausible voting results” much less “fixing”. The result is going to be close. And ultimately we will never know how it was arrived at. But I doubt the results will be implausible. In the last analysis the Sunnis are responsible for all irregularities, and their complaints ring hollow. They did not have to blow up the UN compound, and did not have to illegally embark on seeking a repressive Talibanate. They had a good friend in the person of UN HR head Sergio de Mello – which they murdered against their own interests. They did not participate in the Parliamentary elections, against their own interest. So through their own imbecility, which they called honor, dignity, divine right, or historic right to rule, they managed to cut their own nose off. Their complaints will certainly ring hollow to many.

  • TallDave says:

    Here we’re talking fraud on a grand scale.
    Ridiculous. Where’s the evidence of that? The counts match what most observers expected.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    “Massive Fraud on Election Day”
    IMHO, The referendum results will closely mirror the passive support for the insurgency, as expressed in security incidents/million population.
    Baghdad,Babil,Diyala,Tamin and Ninewa all have that same number of attacks/day/million population.(4)
    Salahadin and AlAnbar have substantially higher attacks per day(15+)
    The other provinces have substantially less.
    Violence has two factors…the level of security vs the number of people who feel dis-enfranchised by “The System”.
    Everywhere in the world, it is up to politicians to work one side of the equation, and security forces to work the other. Insurgencies end when balance is achieved.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Transcript of Oct 20th MNF-I briefing up. A good read.
    //www.mnf-iraq.com/Transcripts/051005b.htm

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Turnout numbers for the Referendum…amazing(wink wink) that Salahadin was near the top of the list.
    //www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L21258859.htm
    Updated bad link for the 20th press conference
    //www.mnf-iraq.com/Transcripts/051020.htm

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    AlQueda announces that they are not “Quitters”..didn’t mention whether they were “Losers”
    //siteinstitute.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=publications108905&Category=publications&Subcategory=0

  • vuc says:

    Soldier’s Dad:
    88% turnout is suspicious too. A lot of things about this election were suspicious.
    I never said there was definite fraud but there have been some questionnable results. “No votes” should be above 50% in Nineveh province (probably closer to high 50s) and above 40% in Diyala province (probably high 40s) in the final tally. If they are not, then something weird may have happened.

  • Mike E says:

    VUC
    Your assessment of potential outcomes seems rely on the assumption that the Sunnis are a monolithic bunch who are opposed to the constitution. In fact one of their5 political parties came out in favor of it! Also is Nineveh and Diyala the Sunnis may not be as historically tied to the Baathists as in al Anbar, ie proud Iraqis not Saddam stooges

  • leaddog2 says:

    VUC,
    Your ignorance of Iraq’s tribal culture is astounding. Look at the tribes that have always
    opposed Sadamm (as much as possible). Look at where they live! Look at the Sunni tribes who are fighting al-Queda today. Then you will see why they voted YES on the constitution. That is the explanation for those vote numbers. That is all that is going on.

  • hamidreza says:

    Soldier’s Dad, Vuc – I think the 58% turnout recorded for Ninawa appears too low. Salahaddin and Tamim next door, both having large Sunni populations had a turnout of 88% and 79% respectively.
    There were reports that in some Sunni area, voters were unable to vote (e.g. the polling station was moved at the last minute).
    They might have to rerun the Ninawa referendum. That should not be difficult.
    The irony is that the elections whould have been administered by the United Nations, only if the Sunnis would not have blown it up back in 2004. Now these imbeciles are complaining about the integrity of the vote? They just want to have it both ways. Have they yet condemned the indiscriminate death squad killings by Zarqawi and his Baathist friends – of jurists, election officials, and Parliamentarians? Have the Sunni leadership told their people to put down their arms and dismantle their IEDs? Not yet.
    Frankly their moral balance of account is extremely low. Under what obligations are the other parties to honor the Sunni’s rights? On what moral basis Vuc, are you complaining about an unfair vote?
    Also note that if Ninawa vote is to be re-run, that would be a victory for the US because it will show the Sunnis that the US is fair, and has the good of the Sunnis in mind, and the revote will draw the Sunnis further into the constitutional process and discredit the insurgency (death squads) – and this was the grand plan in the first place, anyways.

  • vuc says:

    hamidreza:
    On what moral basis?
    On the moral basis that 2000 US soldiers have died to make Iraq a real democracy and if the elections aren’t really democratic then all of their deaths are in vain. That’s the moral basis.
    Also, on the moral basis that if the Sunnis do not get a constitution that they can at least accept, we will never be able to bring our troops home from Iraq and never achieve our goals.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Vuc, the government elected in December gets to not only select the judges to enforce the Constitution, but they also get to chose how they want to interperate the Constitution, and best of all they get the chance to rewrite the Constitution.
    So I have said it before and will say it again the December election is the one for all the marbles in Iraq. The Sunnis know this as well. Its why you see unhappiness in their leadership about the Constitution instead of outrage.

  • Mark Buehner says:

    Barbed wire and land mines would do the job- better, faster, and reliably.

  • Chris H says:

    The DPF reminds me of why Belisarius hired Arab tribes as mercenaries. Belisarius said that the Arabs were just as likely to betray him as to help him but if he hired them he was more likely to know where the were!

  • Kierkegaard says:

    Lovely reference, Chris H. belisarius was mindful of the fate of Crassus.

  • hamidreza says:

    #80 Hamidreza: “The Sunnis have been death squading election officials and elected Parliamentarians, and have blown up the UN compound which resulted in the UN not administering the referendum directly. And the Sunnis have never condemned these actions. On what moral basis are the Sunnis complaining that the voting in Ninawa was irregular?”
    #81 Vuc: On the moral basis that 2000 US soldiers have died to make Iraq a real democracy and if the elections aren’t really democratic then all of their deaths are in vain. That’s the moral basis.
    Also, on the moral basis that if the Sunnis do not get a constitution that they can at least accept, we will never be able to bring our troops home from Iraq and never achieve our goals.

    This is not an answer. The Sunni complaints do not get morally justified because America has lost soldiers in vain or not. Their moral position has nothing to do with US casualties.
    Furthermore, our goal is not to “bring the troops home”. Our goal is to democratize Iraq. Our troops may have to stay there 10 years. The US is not mandated to supervice the Iraqi Election Commission and has no powers over them. Just because the reactionary left wishes that America be defeated – how does that give the Sunnis a moral leg up to complain?
    You simply want to see America defeated, and for this, you are more than happy to see Iraqis descend into a repressive religious or fascist dictatorship again. Some moral position, may I say.

  • Securing the Syrian border will definitely aid in the diplomatic war the US is waging against Assad’s heinous dictatorship.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis