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Iraqi Expat

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terrorists are Losing

Keep your champagne on ice its too early to celebrate, but there have been a lot of good signs in recent weeks and here are some more. Iraqi troops seize a training camp and kill 80 terrorists:
At least 80 insurgents have been killed by Iraqi special forces backed by US troops in a raid on a training camp near the city of Tikrit, officials say.

An Iraqi commando unit engaged in heavy fighting before seizing control of the camp, 160km (100 miles) north-west of Baghdad, on Tuesday.

Iraqi officials confirmed that at least seven Iraqi commandos died, alongside insurgents from a number of countries.

Spokesman Maj Richard Goldenberg said Iraqi forces now had complete control of the site.

"An early assessment of the site indicates a facility for training anti-Iraqi forces," he said.

In a separate operation on Tuesday in the northern city of Mosul, the US military said, 70 suspected insurgents were arrested by Iraqi forces.

Iraqi special police units have been stepping up operations against insurgents in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, US troops killed up to 26 insurgents after an ambush south of Baghdad.
Seizing a training camp and killing and arresting that many terrorists is a major blow to the terrorists in Iraq. The Belmont Club has drawn my attention to the article in New York Times by Eric Schmitt who has more good news:
The top Marine officer in Iraq said Friday that the number of attacks against American troops in Sunni-dominated western Iraq and death tolls had dropped sharply over the last four months, a development that he called evidence that the insurgency was weakening in one of the most violent areas of the country.

The officer, Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, head of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, said that insurgents were averaging about 10 attacks a day, and that fewer than two of those attacks killed or wounded American forces or damaged equipment. That compared with 25 attacks a day, five of them with casualties or damage, in the weeks leading up to the pivotal battle of Falluja in November, he said.

In a wide-ranging, 45-minute telephone interview from his headquarters just outside Falluja, General Sattler said temporary checkpoints set up by Marine patrols had disrupted insurgent activity.

He said that several hundred hard-core jihadists and former members of Saddam Hussein's government and security services were still operating in Anbar Province, but that the declining frequency of the attacks indicated that the rebels' influence was waning.

"They're way down on their attempts, and even more on their effectiveness," General Sattler said.

General Sattler, who said on Nov. 18 that the offensive in Falluja had "broken the back of the insurgency" there, said Friday that the remaining insurgents in Anbar Province, a region the size of Rhode Island, numbered in the hundreds and were rapidly losing public support. He said about one-third of Falluja's 250,000 residents, most of whom had fled the violence, had returned.

A year ago, just before an aborted April offensive in Falluja, General Sattler said there were virtually no competent Iraqi security forces in the region. Today, he said, there are 5,000 Iraqi soldiers and police commandos in and around Falluja and Ramadi. "By putting Iraqi capability on the street, it's earned people's confidence," General Sattler said.
And John F. Burns has more (New York Times):
In the first 18 months of the fighting, the insurgents mostly outmaneuvered the Americans along Haifa Street, showing they could carry the war to the capital's core with something approaching impunity.

But American officers say there have been signs that the tide may be shifting. On Haifa Street, at least, insurgents are attacking in smaller numbers, and with less intensity; mortar attacks into the Green Zone have diminished sharply; major raids have uncovered large weapons caches; and some rebel leaders have been arrested or killed.

American military engineers, frustrated elsewhere by insurgent attacks, are moving ahead along Haifa Street with a $20 million program to improve electricity, sewer and other utilities. So far, none of the work sites have been attacked, although a local Shiite leader who vocally supported the American projects was assassinated on his doorstep in January.

But the change American commanders see as more promising than any other here is the deployment of large numbers of Iraqi troops. American commanders are eager to shift the fighting in Iraq to the country's own troops, allowing American units to pull back from the cities and, eventually, to begin drawing down their 150,000 troops. Haifa Street has become an early test of that strategy.

Last month, an Iraqi brigade with two battalions garrisoned along Haifa Street became the first homegrown unit to take operational responsibility for any combat zone in Iraq. The two battalions can muster more than 2,000 soldiers, twice the size of the American cavalry battalion that has led most fighting along the street. So far, American officers say, the Iraqis have done well, withstanding insurgent attacks and conducting aggressive patrols and raids, without deserting in large numbers or hunkering down in their garrisons.

If Haifa Street is brought under control, it will be a major step toward restoring order in this city of five million, and will send a wider message: that the insurgents can be matched, and beaten back.

In recent weeks, with the new Iraqi units on hand, the Americans have sent up to 1,500 men at a time on sweeps, uncovering insurgent weapons caches and arresting insurgent leaders like Ali Mama, the name taken by a gangster who was once a favored hit man for Saddam Hussein.

He is now in Abu Ghraib; others who have become local legends with attacks on the Americans have been killed, including one who used the nom-de-guerre Ra'id the Hunter, American intelligence officers say.
I have said earlier about how Iraqis are becoming more confident and less afraid of the terrorists - especially after Al Iraqiya TV showed their sick and immoral behaviour - which resulted in more Iraqis reporting suspicious activities to the authorities. Iraqis are more determined today than before to end terrorism; and with the hard work of Iraqi Forces and US Army, the terrorists will have less public support and or sympathy and will be unable to move or attack.

Infact the Iraqis will turn against the terrorists and attack them back as Robert F. Worth reported in the New York Time that ordinary Iraqis wage a successful battle against insurgents (Hat Tip: Arthur Chrenkoff):
Ordinary Iraqis rarely strike back at the insurgents who terrorize their country. But just before noon today, a carpenter named Dhia saw a troop of masked gunmen with grenades coming towards his shop and decided he had had enough.

As the gunmen emerged from their cars, Dhia and his young relatives shouldered their own AK-47's and opened fire, police and witnesses said. In the fierce gun battle that followed, three of the insurgents were killed, and the rest fled just after the police arrived. Two of Dhia's young nephews and a bystander were injured, the police said.

"We attacked them before they attacked us," Dhia, 35, his face still contorted with rage and excitement, said in a brief exchange at his shop a few hours after the battle. He did not give his last name. "We killed three of those who call themselves the mujahedeen. I am waiting for the rest of them to come and we will show them."
Arthur also reported two more incidents and criticised NYT!

Having said that and as General Sattler said, there is still much to be done to end the violence and bring stability; there are so many challenges ahead, but one must say that progress is being made on all fronts. Everyday we are getting closer and closer to have a stable, fee and democratic Iraq; and it is not because of the work done by the US Army nor the work done by the Iraqi Forces nor the politicians nor the people; it is because of the hard work and dedication, determination and patience of all of them working together towards a common goal.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Keep it up.

March 23, 2005 6:28 pm  
Blogger Fayrouz said...

Ahmed,

These are the coolest news of the week. I honestly believe Iraqis are no longer afraid.

NYT won't give much credit to the Iraqi people. Thomas Freidman articles are good though. He sees the bright side of what's happening in the Middle East.

March 24, 2005 12:01 am  

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