Lot of interesting stuff going on in regards to Iraq right now. First the 82nd Airborne is enroute to Iraq:
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signed orders that will send the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade to Kuwait shortly after the new year, senior defense officials said Tuesday.
The decision to send the unit was first reported earlier this month. The soldiers, who are based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are expected to be deployed to Iraq early next year, and the move could be part of a short-term surge of troops to the battlefront to quell the ongoing violence.
The 82nd Airborne unit — which would include as many as 3,300 soldiers — will replace the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which had served as the reserve force based in Kuwait but has been deployed to Iraq.
Then Jules Crittenden received some interesting information from John Pike at GlobalSecurity:
When I spoke to John Pike at GlobalSecurity.org about Saddam’s long drop/short rope situation yesterday, he was more interested in reports of an early Gulfward departure of the Carrier Strike Group Stennis, to allow greater crossover time with CSG Eisenhower, creating a two-deck Carrier Task Force with greater strike capability. It is no secret that the U.S. and Royal navies are building up forces in the region. The midterm elections are done, Pike noted, and the 2008 elections are as far away as they are going to be. Politically, it is probably the best time to strike Iranian WMD sites and other targets, if that is what you want to do.
So we have a new brigade going into Iraq along with another carrier group while at the same time the Iraqi and coalition forces are taking a much harder stance against the outlaw Shiite faction of Iraq, for example this raid against a senior member of Sadr’s group:
Tension was mounting in the Iraqi city of Najaf after an American soldier killed a senior ally of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr during a raid on his house.
Sadr supporters and local police told AFP Wednesday that US and Iraqi soldiers had stormed the family home of Sahib al-Ameri, the president of a pro-Sadr political foundation in the holy city of Najaf, and shot him dead.
The US military confirmed one of its troops had shot Ameri in an overnight raid by Iraqi forces, backed up by coalition military advisers.
A statement said Ameri was implicated in recent bomb attacks on US and Iraqi forces, and was shot by an adviser after he fled to the roof of his house and aimed an assault rifle at an Iraqi soldier.
"The coalition soldier observed the man’s hostile intent against the Iraqi soldier and shot the man, neutralising the threat and resulting in his death," US headquarters said in the statement.
And the arrest of the Iranians last week. Which has appeared to have bourne much fruit:
The American military said Tuesday that it had credible evidence linking Iranians and their Iraqi associates, detained here in raids last week, to criminal activities, including attacks against American forces. Evidence also emerged that some detainees had been involved in shipments of weapons to illegal armed groups in Iraq.
In its first official confirmation of last week’s raids, the military said it had confiscated maps, videos, photographs and documents in one of the raids on a site in Baghdad. The military confirmed the arrests of five Iranians, and said three of them had been released.
The Bush administration has described the two Iranians still being held Tuesday night as senior military officials. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell IV, the chief spokesman for the American command, said the military, in the raid, had “gathered specific intelligence from highly credible sources that linked individuals and locations with criminal activities against Iraqi civilians, security forces and coalition force personnel.”
General Caldwell made his remarks by e-mail in response to a query about the raids, first reported Monday in The New York Times. “Some of that specific intelligence,” he said via e-mail, “dealt explicitly with force-protection issues, including attacks on MNF-I forces.”
Remember the Iranians were arrested in the compound of a very powerful Shiite leader in Iraq, Mr. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.
Add all of this up and it appears that a surge is indeed in the works, along with a much tougher stance against Iran’s meddling in Iraq.
Either way you look at it, good news all around.