Iraqi Army goes on the offensive

Iraqi Army and U.S. conduct operations in Baghdad, Diyala, Yusifiyah as U.S. plans to announce a troop surge

Iraq. Click map to view.

As the United States prepares to ‘surge’ more troops in Iraq, about 20,000 to 30,000 American soldiers and Marines according to most press accounts, the Iraqi government announced over the weekend it was conducting its own operation to secure the city. The targets of the Iraqi led operation are said to be both Sunni insurgents and Shia militias. “Military commanders said operations against the al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia in its Sadr City stronghold would be left largely to a joint force made up of U.S. soldiers and the Iraqi Special Operations Command division under Brig. Gen. Fadhil Birwari, a Kurd,” the Associated Press reported. “Soldiers in the division are a mixture of Kurds and Arabs from both the Sunni and Shiite sects.” Over 20,000 Iraqi Army soldiers are said to be participating in the operation.

The Iraqi Army then immediately launched a major operation in the Sunni-dominated Haifa neighborhood, where Sunni insurgents have a safe haven. Thirty insurgents were killed in the operation, including five Sudanese. These were very likely al Qaeda. Iraqi police have begun to operate in Haifa just recently and are conducting operations with the Iraqi Army.

Today, major fighting again broke out in the Haifa neighborhood after insurgents struck Iraqi Army checkpoints. “Iraqi soldiers appealed to the U.S. military for help,” reports the Associated Press. “American forces sealed off roads and joined Iraqi troops in raiding houses in pursuit of the gunmen.” U.S. aircraft and helicopters were circling the neighborhood in support of the fighting on the ground. Fifty insurgents were killed in the fighting and 21 captured, Those captured included 7 foreigners, including three Syrians – and one Sudanese. Again these are al Qaeda. An al Qaeda cell leader was also captured in southern Baghdad over the weekend.

Iraqi and U.S. forces have gone on the offensive north of Baghdad in Diyala province. A combined U.S. and Iraqi force of about 1,000 are conducting air assault operations, ground strikes and sweeps in the heavily Sunni populated province. On SUnday, U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 21 insurgents, while 4 Iraqi soldiers were killed and 27 wounded by an anti-tank mine.

In Yusifiyah, south of Baghdad, the Iraqi Army “arrested Ibrahim al-Jouburi, known as the Prince of al Qaeda in Yusufiya, and Abdullah al-Zoubai, leader of the 20th Revolutionary Brigades insurgent group.” Yusifiyah was a major node for al Qaeda in Iraq under the command of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and was the scene of multiple raids against al Qaeda leadership during the spring and summer of 2006.

Al Qaeda in Iraq reacted to the offensive by the Iraqi government by issuing a statement through the Islamic State of Iraq, the al Qaeda political front organization set up by Abu Musab al-Masri to Iraqify the jihad, denouncing the new security initiative. “Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi [the leader of the Islamic State of Iraqi] has issued orders to all … Baghdad brigades of the Islamic State of Iraq to be ready to repulse the attacks that the (Iranian) gangs are expected to launch on Sunni areas in coming days under the guise of the Baghdad security plan.” The statement said the plan was designed to “crush Sunnis in Baghdad and destroy their mosques,” but it was “doomed to failure, like its predecessors, and that this puppet, weak Safawi government will not break the will of the true Mujahideen, after their Crusader masters failed to stop the jihad throughout these four years.”

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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14 Comments

  • SpeckBlog says:

    Iraqi Army goes on the offensive

    The Fourth Rail
    Go get em!
    As the United States prepares to ’surge’ more troops in Iraq, about 20,000 to 30,000 American soldiers and Marines according to most press accounts, the Iraqi government announced over the weekend it was condu…

  • gm says:

    —“Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi [the leader of the Islamic State of Iraqi] has issued orders to all … Baghdad brigades of the Islamic state in Iraq to be ready to repulse the attacks that the (Iranian) gangs are expected to launch on Sunni areas in coming days under the guise of the Baghdad security plan.”—-
    No! Make a stand in Somalia!

  • Justin B says:

    “doomed to failure, like its predecessors, and that this puppet, weak Safawi government will not break the will of the true Mujahideen, after their Crusader masters failed to stop the jihad throughout these four years.”

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Notice that we are talking 5 Bdes and Iraqi Army is talking 5 Bdes.
    Partnered Bdes: One IA with One US…
    //www.iraqupdates.com/p_articles.php/article/13270
    Largest military deployment to secure Baghdad
    09 January 2007 (Al-Sabaah)
    Observers give greater weight to beginning of security plan in Baghdad on Friday which includes deployment five Iraqi brigades besides support of multinational forces which strengthened by 20 thousand US soldiers according to US President Bush’s plan.
    Sami A’skari, MP and advisor of Prime Minister said that added forces included in a plan aims to take over Baghdad’s control by Iraqi forces while multinational forces leaded by US control areas surrounded the capital.
    PM Maliki declared new plan and pledged to wipe out illegal armed groups regardless of sectarian or political belong ness and he wouldn’t exclude any side hold arms and irritate violence.

  • sangell says:

    I can understand why Bush wants a stable government in Iraq to vindicate his exercise in nation building but I can live with failure too.
    Like Spengler over in the Asia Times notes:
    Civil war and partition, de facto or de jure, would turn Iraq’s potential for violence inward. [1] Unpleasant as this might be for Iraq, it would be good for US interests.
    I have long felt that our mission was done with
    the capture of Saddam Hussein in December,2003.
    We could ( should?) have begun our withdrawal then and let the UN sort out the elections, new
    government etc. If it failed, its on the UN. If
    it worked so much the better, if we got what we
    did in fact get, what is wrong with that?
    The idea that to achieve ‘victory’ in war you had to leave behind a prosperous, stable democracy is post WW2 New York Times think. Once
    upon a time the more chaos you left your enemy in the more complete your victory. Chopping his
    territory up into several ministates was considered good strategy.
    Certainly had the US left in December,2003 American military capabilities would not be in
    doubt. Three weeks to Baghdad, Uday and Qusay dead and Saddam in handcuffs would have made a big impression in Damascus and Teheran. Might they be next?
    Sometimes being a bull in a china shop leaves just the right impression whereas having our army play wetnurse to a Maliki government leaves
    the wrong one.

  • Terry Gain says:

    American military capabiliies are not in doubt now. If America had left Iraq (to al Qaeda) in 2003 America’s moral and intelligence capabilities would not have been left in doubt.

  • Reading a Warzone: Bloggers in Iraq

    Iraqi army, Iraqi police, Shiites, Sunnis, U.S. troops, local tribes, insurgents, and how to win. Bill of INDC is in Iraq, and puts them all into one dispatch for the Examiner: The radio crackled: a M1A-1 Abrams tank was hit…

  • paul stowell says:

    First we need to take over the whole country and secure the borders. Then we need to pull our bases out of Europe and set them up in Iraq permanently. This does two things. 1. It gives us a permanant strategic location in the middle east and 2. It forces europre to pay for its own defence. Maybe then they will go back to being democratic allies instead of the dying socialist nanny state they have turned into.

  • MikeW says:

    Vinny,
    Bring on your (questionable) sources for the higher rate of death for Iraqis. I believe what you represent as fact is mere conjecture and probably includes the thousands of insurgents and foreigners fighting there – and they cannot be included in any such counts. Before you produce your sources, however, understand one thing: the US is not responsible for the preponderence of the violent deaths in Iraq today. That responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of the insurgents, AL Qaeda factions, and militias there. I refuse to allow you to just get away with your defeatist desires to see the US dragged into the mud. Unless you’ve been in military service in harm’s way, you have no clue about what we’re doing there. BTW, I am retired military and continue to serve as a civilian for the Army. I believe that I have a better perspective on this than you could (if you’ve not served in the military). I talk to our returning soldiers all the time, and my younger brother returned from Iraq this year. Without fail, they believe in what they are doing there and see it as necessary for Iraqis’ future and in our best national interests and national security that we fight this fight now. Those I’ve talked to represetn the officers, NCOs, and junior enlisted corps, so it is quite a representative group.

  • MikeW says:

    Oops. What happened to the comment from Vinny? I know I saw it on this thread….

  • Michael says:

    MikeW,
    Disappeared, like his sources? 😉

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I deleted. I am doing my best to keep the comments from devolving into pissing matches over politics and issues that are 4 years old and meaningless at this stage. I’m failing miserably, however.

  • Iraqi Army goes on the offensive

    Courtesy of The Fourth Rail:
    Iraqi Army and U.S. conduct operations in Baghdad, Diyala, Yusifiyah as U.S. plans to announce a troop surge
    As the United States prepares to ’surge’ more troops in Iraq, about 20,000 to 30,000 American soldi…

  • alexa kim says:

    Unless we relax the ROEs and stop releasing the captures, we risk having just more US soldiers as targets of all kinds. Based on the milblog posts I’ve seen thus far, I know our wonderful soldiers believe in their ability to achieve success, victory. To me, a non-military US citizen, victory will leave a stable Iraq, meaning Iraqis pulling together, committed to their own security, so they can make their nation be what they want it to be. I’m watching the speech now, so I hope I like what I hear.

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