Ramadi Revisited; Cracks in Jihad

The city of Ramadi begins to take center stage as one of the last refuges of the insurgency along the Euphrates River Valley as Coalition forces press operations to clear and bold the border towns in western Iraq.

Coalition forces continue to strike at al Qaeda and insurgent cells, weapons caches and safe houses in and around Ramadi. Over the past few days, soldiers of the Second Brigade Combat Team (2BCT), Task Force 2-69 Armor, arrested Majid Adnon Swedowi, an insurgent cell leader operating in Ramadi, along with five of his cohorts. Several IEDs are destroyed in place and a mortar tube and weapons cache is discovered.

The Marines patrolling the streets of Ramadi often find the citizens are supportive of Coalition efforts to restore law and order in the city. Some are even welcomed by the residents of Ramadi, as Private Jefferson Haney, an artilleryman with Battery L, 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment stationed in Ramadi reports; “”Before I came here, I thought everybody here was a bad guy… I know different now. When we first started patrolling people were put off by us, but it was because we were new faces. Within a few weeks things had changed. We could approach people and they would invite us into their homes. The people here are very friendly and family oriented.” Ramadi is still a dangerous place, but Private Hanson provides an insightful view of the city not often reported.

While Coalition forces patrol Ramadi, cracks have surfaced between the native Iraqi insurgency and the foreign and al Qaeda elements, “in some cases resulting in gun battles on the street.” The assassination of local Sunni Sheikhs advocating involvement in the political process, the brutal tactics of al Qaeda against civilians, and tellingly, money are at the root of the split.

Residents think the strong support that al Qaeda in Iraq has had in the heart of Anbar province is starting to fracture, if not completely break. The group is dominated by non-Iraqis…

Kamil Ahmed, a 40-year-old resident with long-standing ties to local insurgent groups, said the break started in the summer, when al Qaeda in Iraq started killing police who showed up for work, breaking an insurgent agreement to let the officers do their jobs.

The split intensified when the group assassinated several sheiks, in mosques, for criticizing its actions. Insurgent groups also went against al Qaeda in Iraq and urged citizens to vote in the constitutional referendum in October and in the upcoming December national elections. Al-Qaeda in Iraq had characterized voting as cooperating with the Americans.

Ahmed said the final straw was about money. He said businesses and even some government offices around Ramadi had been paying local insurgents protection money, as much as $70,000 a month. Al-Qaeda in Iraq demanded the money.

We’ve said this before and will say it again, the more the Iraqis, even those opposed to a U.S. presence in their country, are exposed to the depravity of al Qaeda, the more they grow to despise them.

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


  • nykrindc says:

    Great news. I’ve heard reports in the WaPo and NYT about firefights between the native Sunni insurgency and the Islamists before. We need to exploit these to full advantage. Without the support of the Sunni population we can run Zarqawi out of Iraq alot faster.

  • Marlin says:

    Off Topic
    On September 14 Bill had a post, “After Action Report: Oil Spots and Tal Afar”, that discussed the Andrew Krepinevich ‘oil spot’ article in Foreign Affairs. For those that are interested in this topic Cori Dauber over at Rantingprofs has a further post today after the John McCain speech yesterday.
    Clear and Hold
    Also a while ago there was a discussion in the comments about the ‘cat and mouse game’ that goes on between the terrorists and MNF forces with IEDs. The AP had interesting article about this a day or two ago.
    Bombs in Iraq Getting More Sophisticated

  • Justin Capone says:

    Saddam’s right-hand man dies
    Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, aide to Saddam Hussein, died on Friday, al-Arabiya TV channel quoted a statement by the Baath party as saying.
    Al-Douri, vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam’s regime, ranks No. 6 among the 55 most wanted by the United States with a 10-million-dollar bounty on his head. He died early Friday, the statement said, without giving more details.

  • Dave From Chicago says:

    Hey guys, did you hear the president’s speech today? He finally spoke out agaist the anti war and democratic lies. About time!!!

  • Nick Rizzuto says:

    BBC is now reporting it. What, if anything, does al-Douri’s death mean?

  • Super 6 says:

    al-Douri’s death means one less cockroach to step on. LOL

  • Super 6 says:

    With all of the events unfolding before us in an ever increasing tempo, the death by whimper may have begun….

  • ikez78 says:

    BBC said this guy was a leader of the insurgency. I think all of these deaths and captures all add up. Think of it from our side. Wouldn’t it have a collective effect if we had so many important military leaders and funders shut down and put out of commission?
    Yes, Bush’s speech today was long overdue. I hope he does it every day for the next week, at least. It would be nice if we had some senators and more military leaders out there presenting an opposition view to the lies of the media and Democrat leaders. The public trust military leaders far more than they do the media or Dem leaders and the public deserves and needs it.

  • ikez78 says:

    Here’s a full bio on al Douri, (Saddam’s second hand man who just died) from BBC.

  • Tom W. says:

    #4 Dave
    Please contact the White House and express your support for the president’s speech:
    [email protected]
    He needs to know that we want him to do this more often, not for his sake but for the sake of the troops in harm’s way.

  • Jamison1 says:

    About Douri. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t this a very big deal?

  • hamidreza says:

    Could it be that some Baathists revolted against ad-Douri and did him in because of his intransigence and ties to Zarqawi? Just speculating. The timing is all I have. He was 63 years old, and he was in remission.

  • gearhead says:

    Could SecState Rice’s unannounced trip to Baghdad have had anything to do with the reports of al Douri’s passing?
    Seems like Rumsfeld’s last surprise visit came just as we had captured or killed another big fish.

  • What? says:

    I’ll file Al Douri under Spooks and take the “we don’t know that approach.” Probably took a few million and some family off to a tropical paradice.

  • Media Lies says:

    Today’s Iraq report

    Coalition troops in Baghdad killed several terrorists and broke up a suicide bombing ring yesterday.

    Coalition Forces, acting on multi…

  • Michael Gill says:

    With his increasing operational difficulties in Ramadi and Iraq it is easy to understand why Zarqawi is fooling around bombing hotels in Jordan. It’s about all he can do.
    Another step forward for the Good Guys.

  • hamidreza says:

    Iraqi forces slowly making progress
    By Pamela Hess
    UPI Pentagon Correspondent
    Published October 21, 2005

  • Jess Morris says:

    It takes time for tribal people to become nationalists. Rotating through a national army or security apparatus sets the ball in motion. Back home in the village they know their favorite son is a member of the national security force. They begin to feel a part of the nation, to cheer for the nation. If a democratic Iraq can last long enough, it will recover from the barbarity of the Baath Socialist years.

  • desert rat says:

    External enemies help as well. It is always good for a Nation to have an “other”. In the case of US for the past 50 years it was the Soviets and global communisum. For Iraq, today, the enemy is becoming the foreign terrorists and those that harbour them.
    How long until their enemy will be Syria or Iran?

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  • leaddog2 says:

    Desert Rat,
    Is this a question that you want answered, or is it rhetorical?
    “How long until their enemy will be Syria or Iran?”
    In my opinion… 2006 for Syria!
    Iran…. depends… that Iranian Shiite influence is a real “bitch”, so who knows.

  • N. O'Brain says:

    “External enemies help as well. It is always good for a Nation to have an “other”. In the case of US for the past 50 years it was the Soviets and global communisum.”
    You are’nt arguing that the Soviet Union was a propoganda straw man on the part of America, are you?
    Do you think the Soviets would have hesitated one microsecond about invading Western Europe if the “corralation of forces” had been in their favor?

  • desert rat says:

    No, the Soviets were not straw men the entire time, but there was never a “missle gap”. We were never, after the mid sixties, threaten by a physical invasion through the Fulda Gap. The Soviets were ruthless, Hungary and the Prague Spring are prove enough of that. Ronald Reagan and his team, with help from the Saudi Kingdom, bankrupted the Soviets using oil as a lever and Osama as a straw man. The Soviets, even during the Berlin Crisis, their high water mark, never wanted armed confrontation. If they had they would had challenged the Air Lift. If they had their pilots in Korea would not have been clandestine, but would have operated openly.
    No, I’d say that external threats can help assist in a Nationalistic revival. The Syrians are the most active in cross border activity. The Iraqi Baathists from Iraq that fled to Syria are cause for Iraqi concern. More so, I’d think, than for US.

  • Ed Poinsett says:

    IMHO Al Quaeda is not very smart in Iraq. They have failed to ignite civil war and should completely quit the terrorist activities against the Iraqis and become political. Continue to attack americans with IEDs and car bombs and work to turn the Iraqis into haters of the troops. The MSM and LLL will do their part by insisting that we withdraw asap. With the majority of Iraqis against the US, the drip of continuing casualties, and the fierce MSM and democrat attack on the president, the american people will cave. At that point, Iraq will be prone to takeover and become the rallying point for AQ in the ME. This is the essence of Zawahiri’s letter to Zarqawi.


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