Jan 18 2008
H/T to reader Merlin for noting this excellent post by Bill Roggio, which confirms many of my speculations regarding the retreating nature of al-Qaeda in Iraq:
Nearly one year to the day of the announcement of the “surge” of US forces to Iraq and the change in counterinsurgency plan, Iraqi and Coalition forces have shrunk al Qaeda’s ability to conduct operations inside Iraq, a senior US commander said.
During a press briefing in Baghdad, Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, the Commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, said al Qaeda in Iraq has been ejected from its strongholds in the cities to the rural regions of Iraq.
The fact al-Qaeda is hiding out in the small villages and fields of Iraq’s farming areas is a clear indication they dare not attempt to show their face in towns and cities or else they will be hunted down. But even in these areas which are sparsely populated and therefore less able to provide security against Bin Laden’s bloodthirsty thugs al-Qaeda is taking a beating:
Operation Phantom Phoenix, the current nationwide operation targeting al Qaeda’s remaining safe havens, was launched on Jan. 8. Iraqi and US forces have captured or killed 121 al Qaeda fighters, wounded 14, and detained an additional 1023 suspects. Al Qaeda’s leadership has been hit hard during the operation, with 92 high values targets either killed or captured.
Iraqi and US forces have also discovered 351 weapons caches and four tunnel complexes, Odierno said. Iraqi and US forces have also discovered three car bomb and improvised explosive device [IED] factories and 410 IEDs, including 18 car bombs and 25 homes rigged with explosives. Also found were “numerous torture chambers, an underground medical clinic, several closed schools, and a large foreign fighter camp with intricate tunnel complexes,” said Odierno.
While al-Qaeda may find less security out in the rural areas, they also stick out like a sore thumb. In addition, they can be leveled by our military forces with a much reduced risk of collateral casualties to innocents. To survive al-Qaeda must operate in isolated strong holds, hidden as much as possible from the Iraqis who will turn them in to US and Iraqi forces in a nano-second. This just makes them all the easier to take out.
“With less than a week’s notice the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Iraqi Army Division was alerted to deploy from Anbar province to Diyala province to support combat operations in the Diyala River Valley,” said Odierno.â€ This was a good Iraqi decision and was executed solely by the Iraqis. Within 36 hours upon arrival, the 3rd Brigade uncovered two sizeable caches, gathered significant intelligence and aggressively hunted down al Qaeda in tough terrain and demanding climatic conditions.”
al-Qaeda lost dearly in Iraq. They did not slay The Great Satan but instead created an Arab Muslim backlash that destroyed them instead. They are not the future of Islam in Iraq, they are the enemies of Islam now. And I am sure that sentiment will spread as the word of al-Qaeda atrocities against fellow muslims spreads.
Update: USA Today is adding further fuel to the fire noting Baghdad has gone from 8% secure to 75% in one year. Yeah Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, that Surge sure was a bust wasn’t it!