Mookie in Iran and the Coalition continues to roll up his militia Posted by: McQ
on Tuesday, July 17, 2007
For those who continue the claim that we're not fighting the "real problem" in Iraq, i.e. JAM - al Sadr's militia, a little update from Bill Roggio:
The raids against the Mahdi Army cells connected to Iran continue as Muqtada al Sadr has yet to surface since it was reported he fled again to Iran. On July 15, the Iraqi Army forces conducted several raids against the Iranian-backed "rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi" (Mahdi Army) cells in Baghdad and Najaf. The Baghdad raids resulted in the capture of a battalion commander and a cell leader. The battalion commander "is suspected of organizing kidnappings and leading death squad killings of Sunni Muslim Iraqi citizens. Intelligence suggests he has been involved in more than half of the detonated improvised explosive devices in two of the northern districts of Baghdad."
The Najaf raid netted a Mahdi Army facilitator who "provides rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi with improvised explosive devices and Iranian-made explosively-formed projectiles which have been used to attack Coalition Forces. Additionally, he is suspected of assisting rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi with cross-border training of their insurgent members and providing rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi with financial support, weapons, and equipment. The primary suspect is accused of exploiting charity organizations for insurgent recruiting purposes."
On July 14, Iraqi and Coalition forces in Kut killed two Mahdi Army fighters and wounded two others after the insurgents attempted to ambush the troops. The Mahdi fighters attacked the Iraqi and Coalition forces with an explosively formed penetrator and RPGs.
Remember this is about 'simultaneous synchronized operations' aimed at all factions of the insurgency as well as the terrorists of al Qaeda. More on the fight against the Mahdi army here.
Roggio also alerts us to another operation under Phantom Thunder which just kicked off south of Baghdad:
Coalition and Iraqi forces have launched a major offensive in the town of Jurf al-Sakhr and a region known as the Fish Farms near Iskandariyah in northern Babil province. Operation Marne Avalanche is a multi-brigade operation of about 5,000 U.S. and 3,500 Iraqi troops. "The area is one of the most politically and tactically complicated in Iraq," Stars & Stripes reported. "It straddles the Shiite-Sunni fault line south of Baghdad."
The purpose of Marne Avalanche is to clear the region of insurgents, prevent the flow of weapons into Baghdad, and restore the security forces in the region. Past attempts to secure this region failed as police stations were hit with suicide attacks.
"Marne Avalanche will build on the successes of Task Force Marne’s offensive operation, Marne Torch, which began June 1 and is ongoing," Multinational Forces Iraq stated in a press release.
The highlighted passage is very important. Building off the success of Marne Torch means that they've accomplished their mission goals in MT and are now expanding their effort in Marne Avalanche. Or said another way, they've cleared and are holding the area in which Marne Torch was executed and are now clearing another area.
The same is happening in Baquba, Diayala province:
In Diyala, the fight against al Qaeda and allied insurgent groups has moved outside the provincial capital of Baqubah. A joint U.S. and Iraqi army operation, dubbed Operation Ithaca, aimed at al Qaeda cells in the villages of Haimer, Abu Nasim, and Jamil. Twenty-nine al Qaeda were killed and 23 captured during Ithaca, while a safe house was destroyed and eight hostages were released.
South of Baqubah, U.S. forces killed six "armed terrorists" while targeting a "weapons dealer linked to the foreign terrorist network in Samarra."
Last but not least, these sorts of finds are now becoming more commonplace. This one occurred in Anbar:
Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit seized 50,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, an ingredient of explosives, from two tractors at a checkpoint north of Karma.
"You called down the Thunder, well now you’ve got it. So run, you cur... RUN! Tell all the other curs the law’s comin’!You tell ’em I’M coming... and hell’s coming with me, you hear?... Hell’s coming with me!"