Thursday, November 29, 2007

News and Views from Iraq

Here is Michael Yon's latest.

One of the controversies I intended to explore on my second embed with the British is the claim that EFPs are flowing into Iraq from Iran, just miles down the road. Iran’s support for international terrorist groups is well established; and here in Iraq, Iran is believed to have intimate contacts with terrorists groups providing them with “lethal aid.” EFPs fall within that category, because they can destroy any vehicle in Iraq, including America’s and Britain’s best tanks. Warriors are fine vehicles [although they do need real air conditioners for Iraq] but an EFP can slice through the Warrior’s armor like bullets through beer cans. Webb became known for personally inflicting heavy casualties among the enemy, but today it was his Warrior about to rumble over an EFP.

Here is the latest from Michael Totten reporting on the ground from Fallujah.

Nobody was shot last night in Fallujah. No American has been shot anywhere in Fallujah since the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment rotated into the city two months ago. There have been no rocket or mortar attacks since the summer. Not a single of the 3/5 Marines has even been wounded.

“The only shots we've fired since we got here are warning shots,” said Lieutenant J.C. Davis. Another officer didn't agree. “We haven't even fired warning shots,” he said. “It's too dangerous.”

It's dangerous because anti-American sentiment still exists in the city, even though it is mostly passive right now. It isn't entirely passive, however. Someone has been taking pot shots at Americans. A few days ago somebody threw a hand grenade at Marines. Two weeks ago an insurgent was caught by Iraqi Police officers while planting an IED near the main station. He freaked out, accidentally connected the wires, and blew himself up. “That's what he gets,” Private Gauniel said...

Here is Omar's latest.

This is a great find by any standards but the timing makes it all the more significant.The significance comes not only from the quantity of bombs, cars and other resources that al-Qaeda has been denied the ability to use. It comes from the amount of frustration they have to deal with right now that all these preparations and resources are lost.

What makes me think that this will indeed frustrate them is that al-Qaeda chose to mass this great number of VBIEDs instead of deploying them to the streets one, or a few, at a time fresh from the factory. Two possibilities arise here; they either couldn't find the means and safe routes to deploy the bombs and so they had to wait for more favorable circumstances, which is good news since it means their ability to conduct missions has really been reduced to a great extent.

Bill Roggio talks about the continued hunt for AQI.

"Despite the recent loss of numerous cells across Iraq, the media wing of al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) has produced a second video product, which the al Fajr Media Center posted Tuesday night on the main Jihadi message boards," Nick Grace of Threatswatch reported. "The one minute video, called 'Destruction Of An-American Hummer Vehicle,' is the latest in the ongoing ISI media series 'Roman and Apostate Hell in al-Rafedain Land' and, according to the accompanying Web statement, shows an IED attack on a hummer in the az-Zobayer bin al-Awaam region of Diyala Province." The first video released showed the brutal execution of nine Iraqis, purportedly Shia who served in the Interior Ministry’s police commando unit in Diyala province...

Here is one from a different perspective. The L.A. Times is very upset that Bush is trying to negotiate a deal for bases in Iraq.

Despite the show at Annapolis, this week's main diplomatic initiative has concerned Iraq, not Israel. Without any fanfare, the Bush administration and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki announced that the United States and Iraq will begin negotiating a long-term agreement that will set the terms of Washington's Iraq policy for "coming generations."President Bush is again in legacy mode.

His White House "czar" on Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, explained that the administration intends to reach a final agreement between the two countries by July 31, 2008. In describing the negotiations, he made a remarkable suggestion: Only the Iraqi parliament, not the U.S. Congress, needs to formally approve the agreement.

Finally, the DOD has this story about a successful operation in Tajj.

Coalition forces captured a wanted individual during operations in Tarmiyah while targeting a foreign terrorist facilitator and associate of senior al Qaeda leaders. They also detained two other suspects without incident. --

Coalition forces captured a wanted individual north of Samarra during operations targeting foreign terrorist facilitators and senior terrorist leader associates. The wanted individual is believed to be an al Qaeda leader in the area. --

Coalition forces detained four suspects while targeting al Qaeda members responsible for assassination-style murders in Hawija. Coalition forces also targeted their associates in Mosul, detaining three suspects without incident.

To sum up, we remain cautiously optimistic about an ever improving though incredibly complicated situation. God bless our troops, stay safe, you are our best.

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