More proof that what we are doing in Iraq is working:
April 14, 2006 ? Iraqi army soldiers are gradually taking the lead in all operations in Haswah and Iskandariyah, stabilizing the northern Babil province, military officials in Iraq reported.
Soldiers from 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 8th Iraqi Army Division, recently conducted Operation Cobra Strike with soldiers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
“We are increasingly pushing the Iraqi army to the foreground while we stay in the background,” said Capt. Colin Brooks, Company B commander.
Cobra Strike was a mission intended to locate the suspected leader and financier of a terrorist cell working in the area. The suspected terrorists were implicated in murders, kidnappings and the emplacement of roadside bombs throughout Haswah and Iskandariyah.
Iraqi leadership planned the scheme of maneuver for the operation. Coalition forces were on hand to advise and to block positions on the outer cordon of the objectives.
“It was good to actually plan an entire mission without the help of others,” said Capt. Hazem, the Iraqi company’s commander. “Although the Cobras are our brothers, my men needed to do something like this to prove to everyone that we are capable of defending our region.”
The Cobra soldiers and their Iraqi counterparts, the Sabers, have conducted combined missions since 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, arrived in theater in early December. This was the first mission in the area solely orchestrated by the Iraqi army.
“It is critical that they are seen as a credible fighting force in the region,” said Brooks. “We are approaching the day very soon that they take control of the area’s battlespace and have minimal help from coalition forces.”
I know it’s difficult in our EVERYTHING NOW society where patience is no longer known or practiced, but what we are doing in Iraq is working. Slowly, but working. Here is an account from a soldier that actually has his boots on the ground in Iraq, actually doing it, not hiding in some hotel and paying for information:
I’m willing to bet you didn?t hear about any of this in the Stateside press, although it did merit a small blurb deep inside last week?s Stars and Stripes:
U.S. and Iraqi security forces rescued three Iraqi hostages on Tuesday who had been held in Mosul, U.S. military officials said Wednesday.
The three hostages were reportedly chained to the wall of the basement in a house in the northern Iraqi city; there was no information on the hostages? identities, whom their captors were or why they were kidnapped.
The rescue team included U.S. soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade and the Iraqi 3rd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi Army Division, and members of the Iraqi police. There were no casualties during the rescue, which followed tips from local Iraqis, officials said.
I can vouch for this story: we were there. 3rd Platoon was launched as a quick reaction force to back up the IA and a fellow Stryker platoon on the scene providing outer cordon. The hostages were indeed chained in a veritable dungeon whose stairwell was concealed by a false floor tile, admittedly something we may not have been capable of discovering on our own. But the Iraqis are old hat at such tricks. Dungeons were par for the course under the Baathist reign of terror.
But not all of the story is accurate, however. We were not supported by Iraqi forces, the Iraqi forces were supported by us. They worked the lead, they conducted the reconnaissance, they initiated the raid, and they ultimately secured the hostages. They did make one big mistake in tipping off the kidnappers by reconnoitering the site a little too closely and indiscreetly (a hamfisted tactic they likely learned from us), but they later made up for it. Their emplaced sniper/killer teams (SKTs) overwatched the house long enough for the suspects to foolishly return to it and stroll right into the dragnet waiting for them. Bravo, fellas. Another step forward.
Want more? How about all those tips coming in from the local Iraqi population:
Major Fallah, the supercop of southeastern Mosul, while appearing as a guest on a local Iraqi talk-radio show, took a call from a Moslawi citizen forwarding a tip about a suspicious person in his neighborhood. Fallah listened intently between sips of chai tea, asked a few pointed questions, and then stood up and declared: “I?ll be back.” He then turned and walked right out of the studio leaving the radio host likely dumbfounded.
Within the hour he returned and theatrically announced over the airwaves: “He?s been detained.”
From what I’ve seen and heard about Major Fallah, it wouldn?t have surprised me in the least if he’d performed a spot-on “Shatner roll” across the hood of his SUV on the way out.
Not to be outdone, our 3-4-2 Iraqi army prot?g?s, responding to another tip from locals, recently excavated an enormous cache of artillery, mortar, and recoilless rifle shells from the muddy banks of the Tigris, wading into the water and pulling round after round from the water. Every one of these shells would be enough to inflict serious carnage on an American or Iraqi patrol if emplaced as a roadside bomb. We won’t leave the wire in anything less than monstrously armored vehicles, yet they still roll out day after day in thin-skinned pickup trucks. When it comes to IEDs, they’re about as protected as a bicycle. I say this not to excoriate the pace of their aquisition process; better equipment is slowly but surely being provided. I say it only because I’m not familiar with the Kurdish or Arabic phrase for “Got balls?”
Dismantling the enemies infrastructure and support system is a task that homegrown Iraqi fighters are clearly better suited for. No matter how many months we spend here, we will never be able to match their ability to shake out the bad guys and spot the out of the ordinary. With an enemy that bobs and weaves among the populace and fights only on their own terms, the Iraqis can sniff them out a lot faster than we can snuff them out. This has always been their beat and their responsibility, and they?re well on their way to finally owning up to it. Like the man said, every step they take forward in reclaiming their country is one more we can step back to repatriating to ours. Isn’t that what everybody claims to want?
I’m beginning to love the smell of chai in the morning. Smells like… victory.
But you know Rumsfeld screwed up…..sigh.
The Generals bitching and moaning were the same one’s who agreed with everything Clinton wanted and helped institute all that he asked. They are Clinton fixtures and when Rumsfeld realized they would not go along with what he wanted to do, he got rid of them, as any good leader should do.
Things are working.
By the way, I love this Major Fallah…wish we had him as our Sheriff in Los Angeles.