May 18 2008
On this 3rd anniversary of the Strata-Sphere we have mostly good news out there on the war on terror. Â First off, the truce between Iraq and the Sadrist’s Mahdi Army seems to be holding (which means those citizens under the shadow of the Mahdi are getting a taste of life without Jihad):
Iraqi army troops have encountered little resistance during operations near the fortified front line in Baghdad’s Sadr City district, the U.S. military reported Saturday, signaling that a shaky truce with the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Shiite militia was holding.
“In the last 72 hours we have seen a significant reduction in attacks against Iraqi security forces and coalition forces,” said Col. John Hort, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
The Americans were taking extra precautions to be sure they did not disturb the cease-fire. They received orders to open fire only in self-defense, and even then not to shoot until they had positively identified who was attacking, according to a New York Times photographer traveling with them.
The fact this truce might lead to long term agreements (which I am sure will require the Mahdi Army and Sadrists to disarm and let the Iraqi forces provide control and governance) is good news. Â Will it happen? Â who knows, but it seems the Sadrists and their Iranian backers want to end the stand off ASAP, since it was clearly causing a backlash against them among the Shiite populations.
There was one sad bit news was out of Iraq as some childish acts by US soldiers threatened to undo some of the good work that has been done to build bonds of respect between Americans and the Iraqis:
Meanwhile, a U.S. soldier desecrated the Quran at a shooting range in Radwaniyah, south of the Baghdad airport, a strongly Sunni Arab area, an American spokesman said Saturday. The episode was reported Friday by Mohammed al-Daiyni, a Parliament member from the National Dialogue Front, one of the Sunni parties.
“The residents found the holy Quran riddled with bullets after the withdrawal of the American forces,” al-Daiyni said.
Col. Bill Bruckner, the public affairs officer for Multi-National Corps Iraq, said in an e-mail message that U.S. commanders had confirmed that a Quran was found at the range with bullet holes and graffiti inside the cover, and he called the events “serious and deeply troubling.” The message said that commanders had expressed their “deep regret” to local leaders. It also said, “They have also undertaken disciplinary action against the soldier who was involved, and he has been removed from Iraq.”
This is how one bad apple can cause huge damage. Â Sort of like how Surrendercrats also cause damage when they call for leaving our Iraqi allies high and dry. Â For pure laughs check out how Chief Surrendercrat <a href=”http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/05/iraqi-parliament-speaker-lectures.html”>Nancy Pelosi was left cooling her heels for a day</a> waiting to meet with top Iraqis. Â When she did get her meetings the Iraqis forcefully reminded her that America’s responsibility in Iraq is far from over. Â Not surprising really. Â Pelosi has been trying to runaway from Iraq for years now, so I fail to see why Iraqis would drop everything to listen to her rant about how defeat is unavoidable.
In the North of Iraq, al-Qaeda is being rounded up by the hundreds:
About 1,100 people have been arrested during the first four days of an IraqiÂ military operation in the country’s main northern city of Mosul, the defence ministry says.Â Â
Al-Askari said 530 of those being held, three of them senior al-Qaeda members, were wanted by the authorities.
He said security forces had recovered 1,400kg of explosives, 45 missiles, 263 mortar bombs and 175 assorted weapons.
It seems the Iraqi claim a few months back that they had penetrated most of al-Qaeda via intelligence was 100% correct. Â More here from the Long War Journal on how badly AQ leadership and foreign forces has been decimated:
Of those captured, “just under 200” Tier 1 and Tier 2 al Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq operatives have been detained, said Major General Mark Hertling, the commander of MultinationalÂ DivisionÂ North said during a briefing on May 15.
“There have been some very big fishes caught,” Hertling said. Tier 1 operatives are operational leaders. Tier 2 operatives are foreign fighters or weapons facilitators, bomb makers, and cell leaders.
US and Iraqi forces have killed or captured several key al Qaeda leaders in Mosul over the past several months. Fourteen of the top 30 al Qaeda operatives who have been killed or captured in theÂ pastÂ threeÂ monthsÂ were al Qaeda leaders in Mosul, including three al Qaeda leadersÂ from Saudi Arabia.
From the previous link we see that the remnants of AQ leadership and fighters in Iraq is retreating to a nearby country:
Yassin Majid, an adviser to Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, said most of the group’s leaders had fled to the outskirts of Mosul or to a neighbouring country.
He did not name the country, but Mosul is about 96km from the Syrian and Turkish borders.
AQ running for the hills – what a great sign of pending victory in Iraq. Â Tied to an agreement with the Mahd Army and Sadrists to disarm and the future for Iraq looks quite bright. Â One can only wonder of Nancy Pelosi was able to figure it out, since she was there.