Counterinsurgency Operation Continue

Jafari picked to be new PM; Iraqi Army continues to take the lead & conducts night air assault; Rutbah becomes a ” vital logistical node for the insurgency”

As the Iraqi political process moves forward at a frustratingly fitful pace, the fight against al Qaeda and the insurgency continues. The Shiite dominated United Iraqi Alliance has chosen Dawa Party’s Ibrahim Jafari, the current Prime Minister, over Abdul Mahdi of SCIRI in a narrowly decided vote of 64-63. The full Assembly must still confirm Jafari before assuming office. Jafari has been criticized as being a soft and ineffective leader against the insurgency, however the most significant gains have been made under his leadership. Iraqi police and Army units have developed and are assuming a greater role in security operation while western Anbar has fallen under the government’s control.

Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition units continue to take the fight to the insurgency in northern and western Iraq. The Iraqi Army lead a series of raids in the north-central Sunni cities of Baqubah Samarra and Balad and netted twelve insurgent suspects and killed two.

The Iraqi Army also conducted its first nighttime air assault against a suspected terrorist training camp in the village of Bit Shaitin, near Salman Pak, Saddam’s former terrorist training camp. Twenty-six suspects were arrested, and they were believed to be planning “attacks against Ashura Pilgrims traveling toward Karbala.” Over 100 Iraqi troops participated in the assault, and “several objectives were assaulted simultaneously.” Air assault operations are complex by day, and the night mission demonstrates a significant level of proficiency by Iraqi Army units.

Iraqi Army soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division launched another independently lead operation, Trust in God, in the town of Subiyhat, near Fallujah. Three companies of Iraqi troops were supported by two companies of Marines from 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team – 8. The Marines provided perimeter security while the Iraqi Army entered the town. Four suspected insurgents were detained.

Lieutenant Rob Dolan, the Public Affairs Officer for Regimental Combat Team – 2, was on the scene in Rutbah and provided The Long War Journal an exclusive update on Operation Western Shield. Rutbah is believed to be one of the locations the insurgency and al Qaeda fled to after basing in the Western Euphrates River Valley were denied during operations over 2005.

Located approximately 75 miles from borders with Jordan and Syria, without another major city for hundreds of miles, the remoteness has made Ar Rutbah a key crossroad for smuggling cars, gasoline, weapons and drugs. Insurgents and foreign fighters have recognized the strategic location of Ar Rutbah… The largest and most deadly weapon insurgents possess besides IEDs is cash. Money from various smuggling activities that are conducted in and around Ar Rutbah goes directly to funding the insurgency making Ar Rutbah a vital logistical node for the insurgency in the western Al Anbar province.

The three Traffic Control Checkpoints [TCPs] into Rutbah are manned by Iraqi Army soldiers from Headquarters Company of the 2nd Brigade, 7th Division and Marines of Alpha Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

Iraqi Army and Coalition forces continue to expand their control to the far outreaches in Anbar province, making the insurgency and al Qaeda’s line of communications to outside support all the more difficult.

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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  • SGT Medzyk says:

    C’mon libs! What spin can you manufacture for this? The Iraqis are on schedule, on the job, and on top of the situation….absolutely according to plan!
    I love it when a plan comes together!

  • Tom W. says:

    I saw footage a few months ago of an Iraqi daytime helicopter assault, but a nighttime assault is a whole other critter. It shows that the Iraqis are much further along than Murtha, Biden, Pelosi, Clinton, and Kennedy would have us believe.
    Bill, you should write a book on the real story of this war–the treasonous statements of our politicians, and the criminally biased reporting of the MSM.

  • Enigma says:

    Here’s a letter everyone needs to read (hat tip: PoliPundit).
    And yes, the quagmire in Iraq continues to worsen…for al Qaeda.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    SGT Medzyk,
    “The Iraqis are on schedule”
    Let’s not exaggerate. The usuability of existing Iraqi forces was over optimistic. It has taken a lot more time to train them than many expected.
    But yes, they are picking up the ball, and running down the field with it. 2006 will see them taking control of their country.
    Any complex project is always two steps forward, one step back.

  • Sgt Medzyk says:

    No Sir, absolutely on schedule. We can even say it is ahead of schedule.
    Less Just a few months ago, the MSM cry was about the lack of combat ready Iraqi forces and how we have failed to train them and all is lost and oh my oh my oh my…..remember? The Sec-Def was torn apart when he said that only one battalion was combat ready.
    Well here we are, with Iraqi’s taking the fight to the terrs…in great enough numbers to do it on their own…..and kicking ass!
    Yes Sir, we are indeed on schedule.

  • jason says:

    gotta say, as a former fast-roper, that stuff isn’t that difficult (night air assault) for the infantry. the hard part is for the pilots. if iraqi pilots are doing the flying, then it’s badass! if not, then it’s no big deal – NVG’s aren’t required to slide down a rope, but competent pilots who can keep a level hover are. while i herald the milestone, i’m not that impressed… RLTW!


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