Jun 23 2007
The fact that some top al-Qaeda leaders ran (again) from a fight with the US and Iraqi forces now pushing through Baqouba, Iraq in Diyala Province is causing some in the media to claim the US tipped its hand when it planned the Surge many months ago:
Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, told reporters that leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq had been alerted to the Baqouba offensive by widespread public discussion of the American plan to clear the city before the attack began. He portrayed Al Qaeda leaders’ escape as cowardice, saying that “when the fight comes, they leave,” abandoning “midlevel” Al Qaeda leaders and fighters to face the might of American troops — just, he said, as they did in Fallujah.
Some American officers in Baqouba have blamed Al Qaeda leaders’ flight on public remarks about the offensive in the days before it began by top U.S. commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus, the overall commander in Iraq. But Odierno cast the issue in broader terms, saying that Al Qaeda leaders were bound to know an attack was coming in light of President Bush’s decision to pour nearly 30,000 additional troops into the fight in his so-called surge.
“Frankly, I think they knew an operation was coming in Baqouba,” Odierno said in a teleconference with Pentagon reporters from the American military headquarters in Baghdad. “They watched the news. They understood we had a surge. They understood Baqouba was designated as a problem area. So they knew we were going to come, sooner or later.”
Well, if anyone pushed The Surge into the news day in and day out it was the Surrendercrats who wanted to pull forces from Iraq and let al-Qaeda win and the SurrenderMedia who have always harboured an unending pessimism that Iraq will work out for the better. But beyond the pessimism I think that al-Qaeda was going to be tipped off anyway, and they can run when they want. In war the establishment of fortified positions is nothing new (except to the ever clueless SurrenderMedia), and Baquoba and the surrounding Diyala Province is where al-Qaeda has been chased from Anbar and Baghdad and where they set up their last base of operations.
The news media just missed this entire event and now want to blame the US because they were late to the party and al-Qaeda wasn’t. The difference is the military and al-Qaeda are on the battlefield and get tell, to some degree, what each other is doing when they move forces. The reporting shows a long term effort by al-Qaeda to fortify Baquoba, the latest capitol city of Bin Laden’s modern caliphate (al-Qaeda lost their first capitol city Ramadi located in Anbar Province:
IMAGINE it’s June 7, 1944, the day after the D-Day invasion. You pick up your newspaper. There’s no mention of Normandy on the front page, and only a brief reference to it in a roundup story on an inside page.
The biggest battle since the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime is under way in Iraq. It’s outcome could determine whether the war is won or lost. But our news media have paid less attention to it than to Paris Hilton’s legal troubles.
“They are ready for us,” said former special forces soldier Michael Yon, now a freelance journalist embedded with the U.S. troops. “Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers have chiseled holes in walls so they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots – car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.”
Now that the media missed Iraq’s D-Day they have been running to the scene to catch up and find any marginal fault they can to show why all this will never work. But it is working:
U.S. and Iraqi troops captured two senior al-Qaida militants and seven other operatives Saturday in Diyala province, an Iraqi commander said, as an offensive to clear the volatile area of insurgents entered its fifth day.
The U.S. military also cracked down elsewhere in Iraq, saying in a statement that seven other al-Qaida fighters were killed and 10 suspects detained in raids in Tikrit, east of Fallujah, south of Baghdad and in Mosul.
Three other militants suspected of having ties to Iran also were detained in a predawn operation by U.S. forces working with Iraqi informants in Baghdad’s main Shiite district of Sadr City, the military said separately.
The Americans have accused Tehran of providing mainly Shiite militias with training and powerful roadside bombs known as explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs, that have killed hundreds of U.S. troops in recent months.
“Coalition forces are determined to counter Iranian influence in Iraq, pursuing those suspected of smuggling arms and other forms of lethal aid into Iraq,” military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said in a statement. “Disrupting the bombing network in Baghdad remains a high priority for us, and we will continue to target the cells’ leaders and members.”
We are rounding up or killing al-Qaeda. While al-Qaeda’s top leaders may have fled for now, they have left their forces surrounded and taking a pounding. The leaders will have no forces to lead, and it is doubtful new recruits will run to sign up with leaders who run from a fight and who have lost two capitol cities of the modern caliphate in less than a year.
Iran is also exposed right now as we find more and more of their agents – thanks to tips from informants. Iranians, being mostly Persians, are not going to be given the same cover as othe Muslim Arabs in Iraq. There is just too much bad blood between the two peoples. So with the Iranian agents being exposed and the local Iraqis turning on them, where are these top al-qaeda leaders going to go?
I think when al-Qaeda loses it will be quick and decisive and will be the tipping point for Iraq. And it may be coming soon, since we continue to find al-Qaeda fighters trying to sneak out of the battle zones:
Hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi troops, under cover of F-16s, fought their way into three neighborhoods of besieged Baquba yesterday to help clear Diyala Province of entrenched insurgents.
To the north of the city, American helicopters killed 17 Al Qaeda gunmen trying to sneak past a checkpoint.
As the mission of 10,000 U.S. soldiers to take back the volatile province intensified in its fourth day, so have concerns about keeping Al Qaeda on the run. The terrorist fighters and their allies already have been run out of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar Province, only to regroup in Baquba and surrounding districts.
Leaders in retreat, gunmen in retreat. Seems to be a trend here. And with the entire area covered with the Surge I doubt those who get away will try and stay low and rebuild. My guess is they are heading out of Iraq. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, al-Qaeda seems to have stopped sending fighters into Iraq. Probably a wise move now that they are losing them in droves to US and Iraqi forces. al-Qaeda may give up on Iraq. But it will set its sites elsewhere.