“Operation Steel Curtain Continues” In Ubaydi

As we mentioned yesterday, Operation Steel Curtain was not stopping at Husaybah or Karabilah, but would likely push further eastward and address insurgent activity in the towns of Ushsh and Ubaydi. The troops of Steel Curtain are maintaining the pressure and have now shifted the focus of combat operations to Ubaydi. This town was the location of the stiffest insurgent resistance during Operation Matador and another stronghold of the insurgency out west.

The CENTCOM report indicates “Insurgent fighters have been battling with Iraqi and Coalition forces since the operation began at dawn”, indicating an active resistance by the insurgents holed up in the town. Colonel Stephen Davis, the commander of Regimental Combat Team – 2, anticipated a tough battle to dislodge the insurgents; “This is a fight all the way through the city. This area is well bunkered especially up the southwest portion, but it’s what we expected.” An estimated 45 insurgents have been killed and another 25 have been taken prisoner.

Also note the CENTCOM report refers to the engagement in Ubaydi as a “phase” of Steel Curtain. It is unclear if the assault on Ubaydi is the final phase of the operation, or if there is more work to be done. Based on the tempo of recent operations, it would seem reasonable to speculate there is more to come.

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

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.


  • GJ says:

    This is off Topic but…
    The series Off to War on Discover Times showed some scenes during the first election I was completely unaware and certainly didn’t see in the MSM. There were Nat’l Guard posted near some polling places. The camera filmed a number of Iraqis Running to the polling place in the midst of Mortar Fire. Sure the media showed the voting but not how Much their lives were at risk. Several were taken to Coalition doctors where some had serious shrapnel wounds. One scene was an interpreter who kept his face covered and said he’d probably be beheaded for his vote. After his vote he he had his AK, his pistol and vest. Even then he expected to be killed for his vote. This obviously shows how Much the people of Iraq Really want ‘Democracy’ abeit their own.
    As far as going Into Iraq. We have had the Saudi’s, Libya, and NOW Jordan suffereing terrorism. It has caused them to take this idea of ‘Holy War’ seriously. Even the Jordanian people are now waking up, to some degree at least. I’ve thought from the beginning that going into Iraq was a Strategic move and this is proving it. Unfortunately, some cannot or will not see it. Some of those Guard troops on that series couldn’t see it, but the leaders of them could. We, the public, need some real education in the Strategic thinking and not dwelling on the Tactical.

  • Bob K says:

    How right you are, The biggest problem I see today is that everyone expects immediate results and are unwilling to allow things to develope.(the war, stock market, etc). We want it now!!
    As you say the stategic long term is the key. This war on “Terror” is a not going to end soon. The war in Iraq will end far sooner. But when it does people will see the real benefits, especially those living in the mideast. Patience and persistence is the key!
    Bob K
    A Soldiers Father

  • Operation Steel Curtain Rolls On

    Operation Steel Curtain began a new phase today, as troops entered Ubaydi, having moved on from Husaybah and Karabilah.

  • blert says:

    The MSM and the LLL are about to have their balloon popped in Iraq.
    The Euphrates Campaign is less attrition than it is mop up. The enemy is being liquidated. Ground is being permanently seized. That’s the role of the Iraqi Army.
    Events are so discouraging that AQIZ wants to decamp and take the jihad to Jordan.
    It is essential to flood the zone up the Tigris and in Baghdad. These areas are critical to the Iraqi economy.
    From now on the focus must ever grow upon the economy. Without prompt attention, the new government is going to be financially overwhelmed. It needs to start pumping oil ASAP from NEW fields.
    The common MSM belief that all of the oil is in Kurdish and Shiite areas is quite false. Known deposits are all over Iraq. Most are strikingly shallow. Modern rigs can hit the oil zone in less than four weeks. (!) The average Iraqi well kicks out 1,000 bbl per day.
    It is folly to slow down to repair fields damaged by Saddam. That is going to be a slow, tough affair. It will require a lot of study and investment.
    It is far wiser to punch new wells in new fields that flow easily.
    It’s also essential to stop flaring natural gas and fire up some turbo-electric generators — quick skid mounted sets.
    The battle is well won but the war is in doubt.
    Ultimate victory, in Iraq, demands that it stands on its own two feet. There is no time to delay.

  • James says:

    you are providing great analysis of the on-going the Marine RCT-2 operations. They have a really high op tempo based on all the engagements you have covered (quite impressive, clearly illustrating how good these guys are at warfighting).
    My question is why aren’t we seeing more analysis of on-going Army operations (e.g. 3d ID)? Is the Army not as good getting details of their operations out or are they not operating with as high a tempo as the Marines? Marines are perhaps 15% of the boots on the ground but it appears they are doing 50+% of the fighting.
    Thanks for any comments.

  • MG says:

    I won’t presume to speak for Bill, but here is my farthing’s worth.
    The Marines have responsibility for Anbar, and that is the focus of current ops. Hence, the Marines are the one in fairly sustained combat.
    In other areas of the country, there is apparently less active campaigning because the(se?) thugs don’t have such a presence there.
    Also, there is an ongoing, substantial swapout of units, as OIF-4 comes online.
    None of these may be “the” answer, but they provide some context.

  • Merv Benson says:

    In response to James’ comment, the Army area of operation was active earlier in Mosul and Tal Afar. Both those areas have been pretty much cleared and held and most of the current operations are in the Marines area of Anbar. More than anything this tells you that Iraq is largely peaceful right now outside of Anbar province and some activity in Baghdad. I recommend you check Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch’s press briefing from last Thursday for details. My recollection is that Anbar accounts for most attacks on a given day, about a third of which are in response to our attacks. All other provinces in Iraq are averaging around one attack a day.

  • Sue B says:

    Thank you so much for this continuing information. I check this site everyday for info as my son is a Marine involved in this operation. God bless our troops and bring them home safely.

  • TallDave says:

    Not too many of those little riverside towns left to hide in.

  • dasbow says:

    It looks to me like we’re squeezing the bad guys into a box called Ramadi. Bill, I hope you’re on the ground reporting when that hammer falls. I look forward to your reporting when you get there – yours is a site I visit several times a day to see if there are any updates. And be safe. How’s that song go? Oh yeah – Billy, don’t be a hero…

  • On the Media Obsession with American Casualties

    The US Marine Corps’ Regimental Combat Team – 2 and significant elements of the Iraqi Security Forces have been conducting Operation Steel Curtain along the Syrian-Iraqi border region of al Qaim with crushing success for over a week now. Yet, reading t…

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Also in response to James question.
    According to Nov 10th’s attack density chart –
    AlAnbar – 28 attacks per day(pop 1.2 million)
    Baghdad – 23 attacks per day(pop 6.5 million)
    Salahadin – 16 attacks per day(pop 1 million)
    Ninewa – 10 attacks per day(pop 2.5 million)
    Diyala – 6 attacks per day(pop 1.3 million)
    Tamin – 4 attacks per day(pop 1 million)
    Babil – 2 attacks per day(pop 1.4 million)
    Everywhere else 1 or less attacks per day.
    Adjusted for population, Baghdad,Ninewa,Tamim,Babil have less than 4 attacks per day/million population. Not exactly the kind of insurgent density that would justify more than patrolling and intelligience driven cordon and searches.

  • Dave From Chicago says:

    Is Bill in Iraq now?

  • hamidreza says:

    Bill, Qaim is the largest town (about 50,000) in the whole region. What is the status of this town? Is it being held, or is there a friendly population over there? There is no indication of any operations happening in Qaim in the past two months. Looks to me that it is either fully in the clear, or could it be fully taken over? There was some debate on this issue at the 4th Rail back in September. I would think its status must have changed since then, but there is no news.
    You would think that terrorists escaping Husayba and Karabila would want to go to Qaim, being the largest town – but seems they have gone to Ubaydi.

  • Tom W. says:

    Question for the vets or anybody who might know:
    At defendamerica.mil, there’s a photo captioned “Coalition forces attached to U.S. Marine Corps Regimental Combat Team 2 prepare for a major assault during Operation Steel Curtain in Al Qa’im, Iraq, Nov. 4, 2005.”
    Since they’re identified as Coalition rather than American troops, does that mean that these are soldiers from another country? If so, which?
    Here’s the photo:

  • GK says:

    Soldier’s Dad,
    That is great info. THAT is the type of quantitative info that people need to see to judge the statistical, unemotional rate of progress in Iraq.
    So far, the only statistical counter has been the casualtiy odometer.
    Do you have historical data about the rate of attacks per day in Iraq over the last 2 years, and the trendline? I know it is ‘trending down’, but I would really like to see a chart of Iraq as a whole, and by province.

  • serurier says:

    to #12 hamidreza :
    I think terrorists run to north of the Euphrates River , they don’t run to south of the Euphrates River , because there is desert .

  • desert rat says:

    The equipment is all US
    On photoshop, if you blow up the passenger in the tan Hummer, he looks Caucasian. Don’t know why 2 of the Hummers are not painted cammi.

  • Jamison1 says:

    Some non-US equipment just arrived in Iraq:

  • desert rat says:

    Those boys in Damascus had best take note.
    77 T-72s, plus a few hundred Saddam era machines that can be reconditioned. I liked what Iraqi Gen. Bashar, commander, 9th Mechanized Division said in that link. “… These are the base of what we are building. The strength and power of the division is in our tanks.” …”
    Spoken like a real tread head.

  • Media Lies says:

    Today’s Iraq report

    Iraqi police and coalition forces discovered and destroyed two weapons caches yesterday. One was found near Kirkuk in an abandoned Iraqi army co…

  • Justin Capone says:

    The U.S. Senate opened debate today on measures that would put the chamber on record for the first time asking President George W. Bush to set limits for keeping American troops in Iraq.
    Both parties also would require that Iraq’s rival political factions be told they must make the compromises necessary to achieve a stable government, united against the insurgency, which will allow U.S. troops to leave.
    While the measures express a non-binding “sense of the Senate,” together they’re “early pressure on a major U.S. military operation, in contrast to the Vietnam War” where congressional resistance didn’t occur until the early 1970s or about eight years after the start of the major military build up. The measures will prove attractive to Republicans up for re-election next year who want “to distance themselves from the White House,” Fisher said.
    Its happening far faster then I expected. We won’t have very long before both parties stop funding for the war. A war can’t go on with almost no support from the US public and with Americans not knowing who we are fighting or why.

  • Mark Jaeger says:

    I had to chuckle about the above story. I’m sure a lot of grateful Iraqi tankers realize that the “Great Satan” has been more of a sugar daddy to them than Saddam ever was. They’re undoubtedly wishing we’d invaded sooner!

  • ikez78 says:

    I was just about to post that article. I can’t describe how infuriated and disgusted I am with Republicans.
    The responsible thing for Reps to do would be to counter the media, explain the plan for success, explain the success taking place.
    Instead they have chosen the gutless path of political expediency. “Well the polls show this and it would be too risky and too difficult to educate the public and have to run up against the media so we will just side with them and go against the war.”
    I am extremely dissapointed. To say the least.

  • Justin Capone says:

    I said it some time ago, politicians are cowards and if support for the war drops 5 to 10 points further both parties will be demanding an immediate withdrawl.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Tucker Carlson just stated that over 20 Republicans are willing to sign on to a “date certain” pull out date for getting our troops out of Iraq.

  • Mark Jaeger says:

    Nope, sorry, this is more grandstanding, primarily by the Dim-o-crats We’re nowhere near “cut-off” of funding, especially now that the elections coming up in a few weeks and given President Bush’s long-overdue counterattack against the “historical Alzheimer’s” so prevalent in the not-so-loyal opposition.
    Note that the resolution is NON-BINDING. To me, anyway, this is merely a way of scoring some cheap political points without having to do anything.
    Here’s my take: events on the ground are already beginning to render this resolution irrelevant. Indeed, Talabani and other Iraqi politicians now apparently feel secure enough to openly call for reductions in U.S. and Coalition troop strength beginning next year. That indicates confidence in the final outcome (namely, VICTORY) and, certainly, confidence that Iraqi forces are increasingly up to the job.
    Here’s what I see: by January 2006, there will be an elected, duly constituted, legal, and internationally recognized Iraqi government in place. The Iraqi armed forces are getting bigger, tougher, and more professional by the day. I, for one, am confident that by next spring, certainly no later than next summer, they’re going to be doing the bulk of the fighting, which will allow us to recede into the background.
    If I were a jihadi, I’d definitely make sure my “Mutual of Mecca” life insurance was paid up, because the Iraq armed forces won’t be nearly as nice to me as the satanic Americans were.
    Endgame: Bush, master poker player that he is, will spring his trap on the Dim-o-crats in mid-2006 (maybe even earlier) and loudly announce modest, but politically popular, troop withdrawals. This is, I suspect, a nightmare scenario for the Dems because Bush can then point out that he stayed the course–when the Dems were panicking–and accomplished most, if not all, of his stated goals.
    I think the “Bush lied” meme has just about run its course. If guys like Jay Rockefeller are the “face of the Democratic Party,” then the Democrats are in bigger trouble than they think for November 2006.

  • Mark Jaeger says:

    Progress Reports
    The Republican amendment requires an unclassified White House report within three months of the authorization bill’s passage and every three months thereafter outlining the current military situation, the status of Iraqi forces troop training and status of efforts “to convince Iraq’s main communities to make the compromises necessary to forge a broad-based and sustainable political settlement.” The Democrats’ version requires the first report within 30 days.
    In one of the biggest differences, the Warner-Frist version says “the people of Iraq should be advised” that “U.S. military forces should not stay in Iraq any longer than required.” The Reid-Levin version is more pointed, saying Iraqis should be told “United States’ military forces should not stay in Iraq indefinitely.”
    The U.S. will keep about 159,000 troops in Iraq through the Mideast nation’s Dec. 15 national election. This was the troop level for the elections in January and is higher than at any time since the March 2003 invasion, according to U.S. Central Command figures.
    This force could be reduced in a “fairly rapid” way to about 138,000 if insurgent attacks are reduced and the election is a success, Lieutenant General James Conway of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a Pentagon press conference Nov. 3.
    Read the above section carefully and you’ll see there’s less here than meets the eye. Lots of “advising” and “should not stay in Iraq indefinitely.” We have plenty of reasons to already think the “elections will be a success” and that insurgent attacks will gradually decline. Hell, Zarqawi probably now realizes that he handed us a big, gift-wrapped present when he attacked those hotels in Amman.
    In short, the words in the above resolution are weasel words used by politicians, of whatever stripe, to cover their collective asses. It’s “win-win” for them when they use this kind of vague language. If anyone can name me one thing in the Bloomberg story that we basically aren’t doing already, let me know, okay?
    Like I said, they’re just trying to score some cheap political points without really having to take action one way or another.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Senator Lieberman said it best, he saw the proposal as a the “turning point” in Congressional deliberation over Iraq and related issues.
    Basically, Congress will feel it easier and easier to exert their will on the war and as the numbers on the war continue to drop the Congress is going to go further and further and it will soon cut funding for the war if nothing changes, mark my words on that. If support for the war drops into the mid 20s they will stop funding for it.

  • What? says:

    Endgame: Bush, master poker player that he is, will spring his trap on the Dim-o-crats in mid-2006 (maybe even earlier) and loudly announce modest, but politically popular, troop withdrawals. This is, I suspect, a nightmare scenario for the Dems because Bush can then point out that he stayed the course–when the Dems were panicking–and accomplished most, if not all, of his stated goals.
    Sounds about right 😉

  • Jamison1 says:

    My guess is that support for the war will increase by the middle of Dec because of the elections and because of the political frontal attack the administration has begun.
    The US public just wants to see progress.

  • Jamison1 says:

    I think McCain outlined a pretty good political strategy for winning the American hearts and minds the other day. The President should embrace it.

  • serurier says:

    A war can’t go on with almost no support from the US public and with Americans not knowing who we are fighting or why.
    The war to Islam terrorists in Iraq .

  • dasbow says:

    I think it’s a great idea to give Congress status reports. The President should do it in person, on TV, and he should have a very long list of things that have gone right. Explain the progress we’ve made – politically, militarily, socially. He could start by reading the 4th Rail’s reporting of the Anbar Campaign and the systematic, successful efforts to choke the life out of the rat lines. If it wasn’t for sites like this, I wouldn’t know of these successes. The President needs to tell the rest of the people what we already know. God knows the media won’t do it for him.

  • GJ says:

    I saw that report on Drudge this morning. I Could Not believe what I was reading. My sentiments echo others. I was thoroughly disgusted. I’ve really lost respect for the Republicans in the Senate. Not only did we have that ‘so called torture’ bill and now this. What a bunch of spineless people we have. To pull the troops out negates our Strategic thinking. We Need to keep them there because of Iran and Syria. With Iraq operations complete it doesn’t end this War on Terrorism. Or have those weasels forgot about the Global threat. All you have to do is look at Jordan. This doesn’t end in Iraq. It’s unfortunate that No media outlet will show the whole story. I wouldn’t know what was going on if it weren’t for sites like this. And you can be assured there are few who have found sites as this. I’ve contacted numerous media outlets and persons in the media and all my emails seem to fall on deaf ears. All that we EVER hear is how the media people in Baghdad can’t leave their hotels. I think we can chalk it up to laziness. I’ve been convinced the media are no doubt some of the laziest people in this country. It seems to me the only way it will change if something profound happens. Something the media just Cannot ignore. Because ignore they will, unless it’s substantial, even though “News” is suppose to be something new or unheard of. There’s a Great Deal of THAT going on in Iraq.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram