Thursday, June 12, 2008

Coalition Forces in Iraq Capture 'Special Groups,' al-Qaida Leaders

American Forces Press Service

June 11, 2008 - Coalition forces in Iraq today captured a man believed to be the
leader of an Iranian-backed enemy "special group" and another who's an alleged al-Qaida chieftain during separate operations conducted near Kut and in Mosul, respectively, military officials said. Coalition forces captured the suspected Iranian-trained explosives expert in Numaniyah, southeast of Baghdad near Kut. Intelligence sources told coalition officials the suspect has numerous Iranian contacts with whom he would meet when smuggling weapons and bomb-making materials into Iraq. Coalition forces entered the suspect's residence and subdued him without firing any shots after the man made a move toward a weapon.

Also today, coalition forces captured the alleged
leader of an illegal terrorist court system during an operation in Mosul. The alleged al-Qaida in Iraq "emir," or leader, reportedly ran a court designed to impose extremist ideology on Iraqi citizens. Intelligence also indicates the detainee is linked to senior al-Qaida operatives in Mosul.

In yesterday's operations:

-- Coalition forces detained a man in Beiji while targeting members of an al-Qaida in Iraq bombing network in Salahuddin province.

-- Coalition operations in northwest Iraq netted five suspected
terrorists.

-- Two suspects were detained by coalition forces during an operation near Samarra.

Also yesterday, Iraqi police, U.S. soldiers and local Iraqis teamed up to seize a number of weapons during operations in and around Baghdad:

-- Iraqi police found 26 AK-47 rifles, two SKS rifles and a Mauser rifle north of Baghdad.

-- An Iraqi resident brought four 60 mm mortars to an American outpost in the Shaab area of Baghdad's Adhamiyah section.

-- U.S. soldiers seized an armor-piercing roadside bomb, a conventional improvised explosive device, six rocket-propelled grenades, 10 charges and an artillery round while patrolling the Shulla area of Baghdad's Kadhamiyah neighborhood.

-- In the Jihad area of Baghdad's Rashid neighborhood, U.S. soldiers acted on a resident's tip to find 20 60 mm mortars, 50 grenades, 50 grenade fuses, three nonelectric blasting caps and 1,200 7.62 mm rounds.

-- Iraqi soldiers seized three weapons caches in Baghdad's Sadr City section. The caches contained, in total: 12 IEDs, five 120 mm mortar rounds, 11 60 mm mortar rounds, 14 rocket-propelled grenades, three hand grenades, a smoke grenade, three rockets, an RPG launcher, two rocket bases, an AK-47 assault rifle, 12 loaded AK-47 magazines and eight empty AK-47 magazines, 200 AK-47 rounds and two loaded light-machine-gun magazines.

Also yesterday, Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers teamed up to seize a number of weapons caches during operations conducted in and around Baghdad:

-- Iraq
police and U.S. soldiers found two IEDs in the city's New Baghdad district. One consisted of a 130 mm artillery round, and the other device was made from a 107 mm artillery round. The joint force also seized 62 AK-47s, six sniper rifles, four 9 mm pistols, 12 full AK-47 magazines, four full 9 mm magazines and a machete.

-- Iraqi soldiers seized five AK-47s in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, while U.S. soldiers discovered a weapons cache containing mortars and rockets, explosives, RPGs, detonation cord and blasting caps.

-- An Iraqi citizen turned in two 120 mm mortar rounds, two grenades and a tube to U.S. soldiers.

-- U.S. soldiers found a weapons cache northwest of Baghdad containing small-arms ammunition and magazines, a camouflage net and other items.

-- Iraqi soldiers in Sadr City seized a weapons cache containing several rifles and a machine gun.

In June 9 operations:

-- Iraqi soldiers seized weapons and vehicles during operations throughout Baghdad. In the Kadamiya district, the Iraqi soldiers found a cache containing one light anti-armor weapon rocket, communication devices, two sets of body armor, four machine-gun barrels, communication wire, an RPG warhead, small-arms ammunition, five boxes of 5.56 mm rounds and various grenades. The Iraqi troops also confiscated three vehicles and one moped. Extra fuel tanks had been welded into the beds of two of the trucks.

-- Iraqi commandos detained six suspected al-Qaida
terrorists in the Tall Abtah area, northwest of Mosul. The detained men are linked to a terrorist cell that harbors insurgents and constructs IEDs.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

1 comment:

John Maszka said...

From a strategic standpoint, Iran has very little to gain from the economic and political collapse of Iraq. Having a failed state on your immediate border is undesireable, even if you did spend nearly a decade at war with its former administration.

So one has to question why Iran would be backing militants in Iraq. Given that it is in Iran's interest to maintain some stability in the region, it is highly unlikely that Iran would benefit by frustrating US efforts if the United States were providing necessary economic and political stability to the region.

However, since the United States is not providing the necessary economic and political stability to the region, the most viable explanation appears to be that Iran is interested in frustrating western military operations in Iraq.

Afterall, Iran is more capable of providing military security to Iraq than the United States is. Iran has a conscription army and nearly 10 million eligible males between the ages of 18 and 32 (Posen, 2003).

Given the fact that Iran;'s army simply has to cross the border, supply line logistics and fresh troops are nowhere near the problem for Iran as they are for the US.

Iran’s conventional military potential aside, US Intelligence assesses that Iran will likely have nuclear weapons capability within the decade (Select Committee on Intelligence, 2006). So once again, Iran appears less dependant on the US to bring stability to the region than it does anxious to see US forces leave. By refusing to pull out our troops, we are risking serious backlash.

The United States needs to be very aware of Iran’s growing political influence in the international community. In a sermon commencing the month of Ramadan 2007, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the Bush administration of war crimes in Iraq, and of attempting to undermine Islam in the Middle East. Amidst chants from worshipers: “Death to America,” Khamenei stated that he has “a firm belief that one day this current US president and the American officials will be tried in a fair international court for the atrocities committed in Iraq.”

The Ayatollah’s denunciation came just one day after President Bush’s demand that Iran and Syria put an end to their efforts to foil democratization in Iraq. The President’s remarks were based on the report from General Petraeus, indicating that Iran is fighting a “proxy war” in Iraq. In response, Khamenei compared president Bush to Hitler and Saddam Hussein (AFP, 2007).

American popularity worldwide has plummeted over the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Khameinei’s word’s are falling upon a rising number of sympathetic ears. These ears are not just muslim extremists, they are moderates from all over the world, including a growing number in the west.

"In the last five and a half years, with bipartisan support, Washington has invaded two countries and sent troops around the world from Somalia to the Philippines to fight Islamic militants. It has ramped up defense spending by $187 billion-more than the combined military budgets of China, Russia, India and Britain. It has created a Department of Homeland Security that now spends more than $40 billion a year. It has set up secret prisons in Europe and a legal black hole in Guantanamo, to hold, interrogate and-by some definitions- torture prisoners" (Zakaria, 2007:24).

Perhaps for good reason. Why are we spending all these billions of dollars again? Oh that's right, to fight terrorism. But terrorism is not an enemy, nor is it an ideology; terrorism is a strategy used primarily in asymetrical warfare by small states and nonstate actors against hegemons like the United States. Perhaps we should be more careful when picking our battles.

"The ‘war on terrorism’ is a multi-billion dollar exercise to protect Americans from a danger that, excluding the September 11, 2001 attacks, killed less people per year over several decades than bee stings and lightening strikes. Even in 2001, America’s worst year of terrorist deaths, the casualties from terrorism were still vastly outnumbered by deaths from auto-related accidents, gun crimes, alcohol and tobacco-related illnesses, suicides, and a large number of diseases like influenza, cancer, and heart disease. Globally, terrorism, which kills a few thousand per year, pales into insignificance next to the 40,000 people who die every day from hunger, the half a million people who die every year from small wars, the 150,000 annual deaths from increased diseases caused by global warming, and the millions who die from aids" (Jackson, 2005:157).