Steel Curtain Moves to Karabilah

The town of Karabilah, home to the tribe supportive al Qaeda in Iraq, is now the focus of Operation Steel Curtain. Coalition forces moved in Karabilah yesterday afternoon, and the enemy’s response is described as “limited resistance in the form of sporadic small arms fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).”

Steel Curtain began over the weekend in Husaybah, which sits directly on the Syrian border, when a combined Coalition force of 2,500 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers of Regimental Combat Team – 2 struck from the west and drove eastward through the city to the outskirts of Karabilah. Operations continue in Husaybah, in the form of patrols and targeted raids as the brunt of the force moves eastward. Two more al Qaeda leaders in the area were confirmed killed during air strikes just prior to the commencement of Steel Curtain; Asadallah, “a senior al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist leader and foreign fighter facilitator in the Husaybah area”, and Abu Zahra, “a close associate of the current al Qaeda in Iraq Emir of Husaybah.”

While Iraq’s defense minister reported fighters fled from Husaybah to Syria at the beginning of the operation, military intelligence “indicates some insurgents might have abandoned Husaybah once Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Forces began clearing the city and fled into Karabilah.” The Army Times noted two days ago the “insurgents are now squeezed into Karabilah, especially a triangle-shaped part of town ominously nicknamed the Shark Fin.” If true, these terrorists are now sitting in a box, hemmed in by the Euphrates River to the north, RCT-2’s assault force to the west, the Marines in the hills outside of Sa’dah to the east, and undoubtedly a screening force to the desert in the south.

Marines stationed to the west in Sa’dah are acting as the anvil to the strike force’s hammer. Members of the Desert Protection Force may be working with the screening force in the south to identify desert trails and likely escape routes.

Like Husaybah, Coalition forces will establish a permanent presence in the town to prevent al Qaeda from filtering back into the city and reestablishing control as has happened in the past. It is now possible to maintain forces in these towns as the Iraqi Security Forces are increasing their capabilities to allow them to operate in western Iraq.

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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  • desert rat says:

    Looks like the Insurgents are caught between a rock and a hard place. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
    These cities are all west of Ramadi, I believe.
    Where will the escape route out of Ramadi lead, if all the border crossings are closed?
    Love to see the ISF clear that city before 15 December. The symbolism would be spectacular.
    Especially if it was a “final” pitched battle.

  • Justin Capone says:

    desert rat,
    If we are going to pull another Fallujah or Tal Afar with Ramadi it is vital we do it very soon or after the election.
    The last thing we want is an excuse as Fallujah was for the Association of Muslim Scholar’s to boycott the December elections.
    After Zarqawi’s strike on Jordan there is enough anger at him around the region and the election is far enough away that I think we have about a week to attack if we want to clear out Ramadi and avoid political problems for the December election.

  • Dave From Chicago says:

    Hey guys,you hear the latest spin from the MSM? Now they are blaming the Jordan bombings on Bush and the Iraq war. It’s a shame what the media is doing right now. I’m kind of disappointed the Bush adminstration isn’t doing something to combat this pure and utter anti US rubbish. It’s sad but the fact is Bush needs to win in Iraq and win the media war against the DEMS are waging to try and destroy the Republican party and White House.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Justin,Desert Rat,
    The Iraqi Army is working Samarra –
    “Iraqi army troops detained two men in Samarra after they brandished their weapons at the soldiers from their truck. Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division..”
    The Iraqi 1st Intervention Force is working Fallujah –
    “In Fallujah, Iraqi soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force”
    IMHO, in AlAnbar the Iraqi’s are going to work west from Badhad, slowly increasing the Iraqi led ink spot from the center of Badhad, the work east from the Syrian border, with combined forces.
    Ramadi and Sammara are roughly the same distance from Baghdad.

  • desert rat says:

    Soldier’s Dad
    After Tel Afar, as you remember, The Iraqi Defense Minister mentioned both Samarra and Ramadi as locales where the ISF “was coming”.
    The operation in Samarra was last month. With the elections 40 days out I’m hoping our folks and the ISF get a move on. As Justin says time is short because it would be better to clear that nest prior to the elcection, than post. IMO.
    It should take 5 to 7 days to clear the city. maybe they are waiting for Bill.

  • cjr says:

    -There are currently 18 Iraqi security battalions in Anbar. In Saladdin provence(about the same population as Anbar) there are about 4-6 battalions.
    -One general said that operations in Anbar will probably continue though the rest of this year.
    So, my guess is that it will be early next year before Samarra and the rest of Saladdin provence see a major clear and hold operation like the one going on in Anbar.

  • Kartik says:

    There is a major left-wing blog that has a headline post blaming Bush for the attacks in Jordan :
    Unlike the standard of politeness on The Fourth Rail, this left-wing blog openly calls Bush and Frist ‘Nazis’ and ‘Taliban’ in their headline articles (oddly, while never blaming the real Afghan Taliban for any wrongdoing).
    Even worse, if you engage them in polite debate on the discussion board and ask tough questions, you will be quickly banned. However, if a leftist poster hurls profanity at you, they are never banned.
    Yes, that’s right. Polite questions from a non-leftist results in banning, while extreme vulgarity from a leftist does not.
    My question is – Is this rudeness, unwholesomeness, double standard, and hypocrisy actually common on the left? The Left Coaster is a major blog after all, which a readership at least as wide at The Fourth Rail.
    I urge a few of you to go there and engage in a debate on the ‘Jordan bombings are Bush’s fault’ post.

  • ikez78 says:

    Democrats “demand” GOP stance on Iraq.
    This is just disgusting. Who are these people? What is THEIR STANCE ON IRAQ??? Why are they pining for defeat and politicizing this war to no end? I really am so disgusted with these people I can’t possible explain how furious I am. Please guys contact your senators and let them know what you think of this garbage while our soldiers are over there fighting.

  • Justin Capone says:

    McCain calls for 10,000 extra troops for Iraq
    Senator John McCain on Thursday called for an immediate increase of 10,000 troops in Iraq, and said the “stakes are higher than they were in Vietnam”

  • ikez78 says:

    Instead of using the war to gain votes and play into the media’s perception of the war (the lazy route)
    it would be nice if senators took the initiative like Santorum did to hold press conferences, give speeches, EDUCATE THE PUBLIC, explain to them what is going on, explain the context of the war, the importance of the war.
    Too many politicians continue to seek political expediency and it disgusts me.

  • Mac says:

    I would say that in the coming elections, the military will vote more heavily for Republicans than ever before, if Kennedy, Kerry, etc. keep up their negativity, bashing, and “woe is us.”
    The MSM reports that Al-Queda attacks are “spilling over” into places like Jordan. Could it be that Al-Queda has no where else to mount an effective attack anymore, that attacking in Iraq is becoming ever more difficult and that Jordan just happens to now be the softest target in the area instead of Iraq? If so, then it shows that our men and women, alongside the Iraqi military are becoming increasing effective in Iraq. That’s a point of optimism, not negativism.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    “AlQueda spilling over”
    AlQueda has a proven track record when dealing with MidEast governments. “Fund us and look the other way, or we will start blowing things up.”
    The Syrian border has become too costly for them. They need either the Jordanian’s or Saudi’s to “look the other way” like th Syrians have been.

  • Jamison1 says:

    McCain is asking for 10,000 more troops at a time when the rotation will cause about 20,000 more troops in Iraq.
    You see something funny about this?

  • hamidreza says:

    #7 Kartik – Even worse, if you engage them in polite debate on the discussion board and ask tough questions, you will be quickly banned. However, if a leftist poster hurls profanity at you, they are never banned.
    This has been my exact experience with leftwing blogs and many other have also reported this phenomenon.
    For the fascist-left, freedom of expression has a wholly different meaning – and is not what we tend to take for granted here and elsewhere.
    The average leftofascist has no qualms in censoring opinion. Normally that arises from the fact that they are unable to argue the point, except to lapse back to their polemics and tired tirades. They are quick to label any critical comment as “offensive or insultive to somebody in society” and ban it.
    It is part of their belief system that the way to run society is to root out dissidents and critics. Their own criticism of western society is not for the purpose of engaging in discourse. It is for the purpose of bringing it down, and getting themselves on top.
    All my posts on DailyKos without exception has been deleted. I once posted very reasonable and mildly critical comments of Hunter’s anti-Iraqi tirades. It was up for 2 weeks, having somehow escaped the censor’s knife. Then it was mysteriously deleted and I was banned.
    George Orwell: “A leftist is a power worshipper out of power”.

  • Oded says:

    Kartik, been there done that. I have been repeatedly banned from democratic underground. I didnt use profanity and was polite in my disagreement. They cannot tolerate any disagreement with their ‘democratic’ ideals. Its like an echo chamber. There is no exchange of ideas just a constant rantfest.
    When you sign up there rules state that if you think Bush is a swell guy, you will be banned. Now Im not a Bush lover/hater, I simply believe we have to fight this war and win it.
    Those sites that support our efforts, I find tolerate differences of opinion given that they are reasonably argued and backed by fact. Yes you will get an argument and it can be heated, but if you present your case without profanity or personal affront you can talk all day.
    I say dont bother with those muttonheads they cant hear you.

  • Tom W. says:

    The reason so many leftists react with rage and invective when you challenge them is because their political beliefs have become a matter of religious faith.
    “Bush lied” is the same as “Jesus is Christ.” (I hope no Christians here take offense at that statement.) To ask them to question their political beliefs is to ask them to question their faith, and they can’t do that. If it turns out that Bush didn’t lie, then maybe he isn’t so bad after all, and if that’s the case, then their entire belief system comes crashing down.
    Instead of listening to a dissenting opinion, they therefore seek to shut you up, insult you, and maybe even inflict physical harm on you. Notice too that so many of them can’t argue using facts, but instead chant slogans or state opinions as fact or spew crazy non sequiturs.
    Q: How do you know Bush lied about the WMD?
    A: Because we didn’t find any.
    By that logic, Natalee Holloway never existed, and her mother is a liar for saying that she did.
    A lot of leftists are no different than al Qaeda in terms of their irrationality and religious devotion.

  • Kartik says:

    Yet, it goes to show you which side is the right one. The problem is, they indoctrinate young minds when their rhetoric is unopposed. That is why there is so much more fifth-column activity in the US today.
    The next experiment would be to go to a left-wing blog and pretend to be an open America-hater. i.e. in the mold of George Galloway or Ward Churchill. Get totally over-the-top with your statements, and none of the leftists will say a thing against you, even while they pretend to ‘be patriots’. Try it and see……
    That will reveal what they really are…

  • Kartik says:

    Tom W,
    Try this :
    L : “Bush lied about WMDs”
    You : “So is that why you oppose the war?”
    L : “Yes. Bush is Hitler.”
    You : “So, if we had found them, would you support it?”
    If L says “yes”, then,
    You : “So Iran and North Korea openly say they have WMDs and are threatening to use them. By your logic, attacking them is justified, right?”
    If L says “no”, then,
    You : “Then why state that as the reason if you would oppose it either way? What is the real reason?”
    Leftist System Crash Error..

  • Justin Capone says:

    Calls for Shift in Iraq Strategy Growing: Lawmakers, Experts Urge Military to Focus More on Protecting Population Centers
    A growing number of U.S. lawmakers and defense experts are urging a shift in U.S. military strategy in Iraq that would focus less on trying to secure the whole country and more on shoring up protection of major population centers.
    The arguments for change arise from concern that U.S. and Iraqi forces lack the numbers still to combat insurgents everywhere and that enemy fighters have continued to show a disturbing ability to cause significant casualties in major Iraqi cities that by now should have become safe zones. “Rather than focusing on killing and capturing insurgents, we should emphasize protecting the local population”

  • hamidreza says:

    Good points Tom W, Kartik, Oded –
    For an Islamist, his god is Mohammad (PBUH) the hallucinator megalomaniac.
    For a fascist, his god is the “nation” – meaning soil, borders, the state, and heritage.
    For a leftist, his god is “the ‘suffering’ downtrodden”, which he can’t even stand or trust himself.
    All worship their self-constructed gods and idols. None employ reason, and none care for enlightenment, emancipation, and progress.

  • Nicholas says:

    Justin, that sounds like a poor tactic to me.
    All it would do would be to allow terrorists, insurgents, criminals, and general mal-contents to sit out in an un-protected area and gather strength. Then, periodically, they would sneak into the “protected areas” and cause mayhem.
    The whole point of the current strategy is that you can’t stop terrorists who are ready to carry out their attack most of the time. How do you stop a suicide bomber? Search everybody going from anywhere to anywhere else? It doesn’t work. You have to remove their support so they can no longer recruit the bombers, make the bombs, or plan the attacks.
    Of course, this strategy doesn’t seem to pay off until you’ve cut off so much support that suddenly they are no longer able to operate. Up until then, they can still carry out their attacks, so it seems like it isn’t working very well…
    Hell, if that was a good tactic, then the best solution to the war on terror would be to stay at home and just build up defenses, right? But we already decided that was a poor move and that we need to stop them from being able to attack, rather than try to catch them when they do attack. That’s the whole reason for fixing Afghanistan and Iraq. To claim you can defend against terrorists like you defend against regular military attacks goes against everything we have learned in the last 30 or more years.

  • Jamison1 says:

    McCain’s speech today is really quite interesting.
    See box at right:

  • What? says:

    “Bush lied” is the same as “Jesus is Christ.” (I hope no Christians here take offense at that statement.)
    While I won’t take offense I will point out that it is not outside of the mainstream of a Biblical and Apostolic based Christian Faith to ponder the What? if… had Jesus been the Christ but not been resurrected. 1 Cor 15:12-19 basically says we would be pitiful and foolish hoping in a false hope and a false savior. Those of a more mainstream rednecked un-Biblical and un-Apostolic Christian Faith probably would take some offense, but they are worth offending plus they are offended most of the time anyways with cause or not.
    Lawmakers, Experts Urge Military to Focus More on Protecting Population Centers
    As for me the only “Lawmakers and Experts” I trust are the one’s in Iraq right now doing the strategy and fighting. Given time they will be proven right and I am so thankful that if Bush knows anything, he knows that.


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