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					Iraq Surge Report 26 August: First Lieutenant Jarred A.
Fishman, USAFR

1) Iraq's Leaders agree on Key Benchmarks

By Waleed Ibrahim and Wisam Mohammed Sunday Aug 26, 6:27 PM
Iraq's top Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders announced
on Sunday they had reached consensus on some key measures seen
as vital to fostering national reconciliation. The agreement by the five
leaders was one of the most significant political developments in Iraq
for months and was quickly welcomed by the United States, which
hopes such moves will ease sectarian violence that has killed tens of
thousands. But skeptics will be watching for action amid growing
frustration in Washington over the political paralysis that has gripped
the government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. White House
spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore congratulated Iraq's leaders on the
accord, hailing it in a statement as "an important symbol of their
commitment to work together for the benefit of all Iraqis." The
apparent breakthrough comes two weeks before U.S. President George
W. Bush's top officials in Iraq present a report that could have a major
influence on future American policy in Iraq. "I hope that this
agreement will help Iraq move beyond the political impasse," Deputy
Prime Minister Barham Salih told Reuters. "The five leaders
representing Iraq's major political communities .... affirmed the
principle of collective leadership to help deal with the many challenges
faced by Iraq." Maliki's appearance on Iraqi television with the four
other leaders at a brief news conference was a rare show of public
unity. The other officials present were President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd;
Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi; Shi'ite Vice President Adel
Abdul-Mahdi, and Masoud Barzani, president of the semi-autonomous
Kurdistan region. Iraqi officials said the five leaders had agreed on
draft legislation that would ease curbs on former members of Saddam
Hussein's Baath party joining the civil service and military. Consensus
was also reached on a law governing provincial powers as well as
setting up a mechanism to release some detainees held without
charge, a key demand of Sunni Arabs since the majority being held are
Sunnis. The laws need to be passed by Iraq's fractious parliament,
which has yet to receive any of the drafts. OIL LAW Yasin Majid, a
media adviser to Maliki, told Reuters the leaders also endorsed a draft
oil law, which has already been agreed by the cabinet but has not yet
gone to parliament. But a statement from Talabani's office said more
discussions were needed on the draft oil law and constitutional
reforms. Committees had also been formed to try to ensure a
"balance" of Shi'ites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds in government. The oil
law is seen as the most important in a package of measures stalled by
political infighting in Maliki's government. The lack of action has
frustrated Washington, which has been urging more political progress
before the pivotal report on Iraq is presented to the U.S. Congress
around September 11. The report by the U.S. military commander in
Iraq, General David Petraeus, and ambassador Ryan Crocker, is seen
as a watershed moment in the unpopular four-year-old war, with
Democrats likely to use the negligible political progress to press their
case for troops to begin pulling out soon. Bush is pleading for patience,
pointing to the military's apparent success in reducing levels of
violence between majority Shi'ite Muslims and minority Sunni Arabs.
The White House's Lawrimore said in her statement that the United
States would "continue to support these brave leaders and all the Iraqi
people in their efforts to overcome the forces of terror who seek to
overwhelm Iraq's democracy. "The President also welcomes the desire
of the Iraqi leadership to develop a strategic partnership with the
United States based on common interests." But Democrats are not
convinced, and presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton and fellow
Senator Carl Levin have called for Maliki to be replaced. Maliki hit
back on Sunday, saying: "There are American officials who consider
Iraq as if it were one of their villages, for example Hillary Clinton and
Carl Levin." "This is severe interference in our domestic affairs. Carl
Levin and Hillary Clinton are from the Democratic Party and they must
demonstrate democracy," he said. "I ask them to come to their senses
and to talk in a respectful way about Iraq."

2) Iraq leaders agree on key US benchmarks
Reuters From correspondents in Baghdad August 27, 2007 04:53am,21985,22313501-5005961,00.html
IRAQ'S top Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders overnight announced they had
reached consensus on some key laws that Washington views as vital to fostering
national reconciliation.The appearance of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Iraqi
television with the other leaders was a rare show of public unity amid crumbling support
for the prime minister's government. The other officials at the news conference were
President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd; Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi; Shiite Vice
President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and Masoud Barzani, president of the semi-autonomous
Kurdistan region. Iraqi officials said the leaders had signed an agreement on easing
restrictions on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party joining the civil service
and military. "They signed a new draft on debaathification," said Yasin Majid, a media
adviser to Mr Maliki. Other officials said consensus had been reached on holding
provincial elections and releasing many detainees who have been held without charge, a
key demand of Sunni Arabs since the majority are members of their sect.Mr Majeed said
the leaders also endorsed a draft oil law, which has already been agreed by the cabinet
but has not yet gone to parliament.The law is seen as the most important of a package of
measures that have been stalled by political infighting in Mr Maliki's government
between the political parties, who have been reluctant to compromise.

3) Concerned Citizens Joining Iraqi Army
recruiting drive
                      Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) 25th Infantry
Monday, 20 August 2007 4th
Division KALSU — As concerned citizens stand up and secure their
homes and communities against terrorists and militias all across North
Babil, they are also standing up and leading the push for legitimate
security forces in the area. Iraqi Army recruiting has reached a near
record in the city of Iskandariyah and the surrounding areas thanks, in
large part, to concerned citizens wanting to do more to help their
families, friends and neighbors in the fight against militants. “More than
1,400 people have made the decision to join the Iraqi Army during the
five-day recruiting drive,” said 1st Lt. Tyler Mitchell, of Wasilla, Alaska.
“Due to sectarian violence, this is the first recruiting drive we have had
this year.” The drop in sectarian violence can be attributed to an
increased presence of Iraqi and Coalition Forces patrolling the area. With
the increased patrols, ordinary citizens feel more secure and are willing
to come forward and help the Security Forces, Mitchell said. One major
area of help has come from volunteers in the Concerned Citizens
Program, providing “As the citizens began standing up and taking back
control of their communities and villages, the Ministry of Defense said it
was finally time to hold a recruiting drive,” Mitchell said. “Once the
recruiting drive was OK’d, we started publicizing it pretty heavily.” Using
fliers and loud speaker announcements, 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 8th
Iraqi Army Divisioin and 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne, 4th Brigade
Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, spread the word
throughout the area, and people turned out in droves. Not everyone was
accepted because of age limitations, weight problems or illiteracy, but
those not accepted were told about the Concerned Citizens Programs
sprouting up across the region. “If the men who were turned away by the
initial recruiting drive are accepted into one of the Concerned Citizens
Programs and prove their worth, hopefully that will lead to a contract in
the Iraqi Security Forces,” Mitchell said. “The men who signed up are
the same men who have lived under the threat of murder and
intimidation for nearly a year,” he continued. “They are tired of being
scared and they want to be a part of something bigger. They want a
change and they realize that the time is now.”

4) NIE Report: Iraqi stability growing August
24, 2007 By Bill Gertz and S.A. Miller - Growing Sunni opposition to al
Qaeda and in some cases the perception that U.S. troops will leave the
country are key factors behind recent and growing stability in Iraq,
according to a major U.S. intelligence report based on findings from 16
agencies. The updated National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a
consensus view of the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other
services, says "measurable" security improvements were made in war-
torn Iraq since January and will expand modestly in the next 12
months with continued military pressure on insurgents. Within hours of
the report"s release, Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia called on
President Bush to bring some U.S. troops home by Christmas, and
Army Secretary Pete Geren ruled out extending troop deployments
beyond the current 15 months. Mr. Warner, the former chairman of
the Senate Armed Services Committee, said a small-scale withdrawal
— perhaps 5,000 of the 160,000 troops in Iraq — would prod the Iraqi
government toward the political reconciliation needed to stem
sectarian violence. The report"s unclassified key judgments warned
that "levels of insurgent and sectarian violence will remain high, and
the Iraqi government will continue to struggle to achieve national-level
political reconciliation." White House national security spokesman
Gordon Johndroe, with the vacationing President Bush in Crawford,
Texas, said strategy changes are paying off, and classified parts of the
report are being used to plan the way ahead in Iraq. "While the
February NIE concluded that conditions in Iraq were worsening,
today's key judgments clearly show that the military's
counterinsurgency strategy, fully operational since mid-summer, has
begun to slow the rapidly increasing violence and patterns of the
violence we've been seeing in Iraq," he said. The new estimate
provided ammunition for both Capitol Hill Democrats and Republicans
as the sides entrench themselves for continued legislative battles in
September over the war"s future. Today"s National Intelligence
Estimate on Iraq confirms what most Americans already know: Our
troops are mired in an Iraqi civil war, and the president"s escalation
strategy has failed to produce the political results he promised to our
troops and the American people," said Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid, Nevada Democrat. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat
and a presidential candidate, said the estimate shows that the Bush
administration policy in Iraq is "fatally flawed" because it confirmed
the weaknesses of the Iraqi government. Democrats — including the
party"s 2008 presidential hopefuls — recently began acknowledging
military successes in Iraq while bemoaning the failures of the fledgling
Iraqi government. It allows them to avoid criticism for naysaying U.S.
military achievements while still advocating a speedy pullout. House
Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said that the
estimate confirms Republicans' views about the success of troops
battling al Qaeda and that the rapid withdrawal from Iraq that
Democrats have pursued legislatively will lead to greater instability.
The report shows the "successes of our troops in combating al Qaeda
in Iraq and underscores the consequences of a precipitous
withdrawal," Mr. Boehner said. The White House said the president
would await the mid-September progress report from Army Gen. David
H. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq, and then report to Congress
about the administration's war plans. That was the process designated
in the emergency war-funding bill Congress passed in March. "It also is
the appropriate course of action to see where things stand by hearing
from our U.S. representatives on the ground, where things stand on
the security front and where things stand on the political front," Mr.
Johndroe said. One senior intelligence analyst noted the increasing
Sunni rejection of al Qaeda — which has resulted from Muslim leaders
believing that the group is challenging their traditional authority and
from al Qaeda's mass killings of Sunnis — and called it a key element
of the improved security in the country. "We consider it to be one of
the two most significant changes in the security situation in Iraq, with
potential political implications down the road," said the analyst, who
took part in producing the estimate. On the perceptions among Iraqis
that U.S. troops will leave, the official said it is not clear whether the
fears of a U.S. troop pullout are having a positive or negative effect. In
some cases, the concern translates into increased support for coalition
forces and the Iraqi government, while in other cases it is prompting
factions within Iraq to improve their positions for a power struggle
after U.S. troops leave or are reduced greatly in numbers, the officials
said. Senior U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters on the
estimate said no analysts involved in the report are calling the conflict
in Iraq a civil war. Meanwhile, Mr. Warner"s proposal got a cool
reception from Democratic leaders, who have repeatedly failed to draw
enough Republican support to force Mr. Bush to accept a troop-
withdrawal timetable. "A recommendation for the president is far
different from voting for binding legislative language compelling the
president to act," a Democratic leadership aide said. Regardless of the
recommendation by Mr. Warner, a longtime critic of the war effort,
some level of troop drawdown is expected by next spring because of
the strain on military reserves caused by the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Mr. Geren yesterday told the Associated Press the stress
of long deployments was hurting military families and increasing the
number of suicides. But Mr. Geren, who was confirmed in the Army's
top civilian post in July, also criticized any congressional efforts to
mandate deployment lengths or rest time at home. "That type of
micromanagement is just not something that would help us," he said.

5) Kirkuk courthouses ease judicial procedures
By LuAnne Fantasia Friday, 17 August 2007 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
KIRKUK PROVINCE — Two courthouse projects were recently
completed and turned over to the government of Iraq helping to make a
viable judicial system possible in northern Iraq. The U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers Gulf Region North district completed the Dibis and Daquq
courthouses — two of 21 completed security and justice projects for the
Kirkuk Province in the nationwide Iraq Reconstruction Program.“The
Daquq courthouse was a good project for us to manage,” said Lt. Col.
Bob Ruud, deputy area engineer, Kirkuk Area Office, Gulf Region North.
“It was the second courthouse in a series of four…we learned some
things on the Dibis courthouse that we incorporated into Daquq.”Navy Lt.
Cmdr. Tim Keeton, deputy, Rule of Law section, Kirkuk Provincial
Reconstruction Team, said both courthouses were sorely needed. “The
previous Dibis courthouse was the second floor of a women’s center in
Dibis. They didn’t even own their own real estate. Their situation made
proper screening and control of defendants impossible.”Marlon Cobar is
the Kirkuk PRT’s resident legal advisor and an assistant U.S. attorney.
Together, he and Keeton helped Kirkuk’s provincial government build the
legal stability necessary to transition to full control of its province.“The
rule of law infrastructure program is a key part of standing up the rule of
law in this province, and in restoring public confidence in the provincial
legal system,” said Cobar. The Corps of Engineers developed the
program in partnership with civilian officials in Kirkuk and the U.S.
military, he added.According to Keeton, security in the Kirkuk Province
has improved with the new courthouses. “Both cities now have a
courthouse with detention areas, spacious courtrooms, rooms for the
guards and the judges, and separate areas for searching men and
women before they can enter the building,” he said. Both facilities are
within enclosed compounds.Although the Dibis and Daquq courthouses
are well-used, Keeton explained that insurgent cases are still tried in
Baghdad.“The provincial courthouses handle less complex criminal cases,
as well as family law, land claims, business contractual type cases, and
notarizations—those kinds of legal procedures,” Keeton said.PRTs are
small combined civilian-military units created to support and empower
Iraq’s new and local provincial governments. They’re composed of U.S.
and Coalition diplomats, military officers, development experts, and other
engineering, agribusiness, and rule of law specialists.“The rule of law
section of the PRT encompasses criminal justice, the Iraqi police, its court
system and to some extent, the Iraqi army,” Keeton added.The
courthouse projects cost about $300,000 each and were funded by the
Commander’s Emergency Response Program, whereby brigade combat
team commanders work with their local Iraqi communities to address
immediate needs.Over $375 million of the nationwide $18 billon Iraq
Relief and Reconstruction Fund has been obligated in the KirkukProvince.
To date, more than 140 reconstruction projects have been completed
with 18 ongoing projects and 10 projects still in developmental stages.
Ruud said there are two more courthouses planned for the Kirkuk
Province. “Altum Copri will be the next courthouse to finish, and even
though they all share the same basic design, it will be even better, due to
our experience with the first two,” Ruud said. The fourth courthouse is
planned for Tuz but that project will not be managed by GRN, according
to Ruud.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region North district has
project management and construction management responsibilities for
military and civilian construction projects in the northern seven provinces
in Iraq. The district also assists the Iraqi Government in assuming full
responsibility for national reconstruction.

6) Senators Warner and Levin Travel to Iraq,
Praise Surge Results
Monday , August 20, 2007,2933,293815,00.html

       WASHINGTON — After a brief trip to Iraq, Sen. Carl Levin said
Monday that the Iraqi Parliament should vote no confidence in the
government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki because of its sectarian
nature and leadership. "The Maliki government is non-functional," Levin,
D-Mich., said in a conference call with reporters. Levin, chairman of the
Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. John Warner of Virginia,
the panel's top Republican, just returned from a fact-finding mission to
the country. The two reported that they are encouraged by the effects of
the recent U.S. military surge there, but their enthusiasm is tempered by
concerns about Iraq's political climate. "We have seen indications that
the surge of additional brigades to Baghdad and its immediate vicinity
and the revitalized counter-insurgency strategy being employed have
produced tangible results in making several areas of the capital more
secure. We are also encouraged by continuing positive results — in al-
Anbar Province, from the recent decisions of some of the Sunni tribes to
turn against Al Qaeda and cooperate with coalition force efforts to kill or
capture its adherents," the two said in a statement issued after leaving
the country. "We remain concerned, however, that in the absence of
overall national political reconciliation, we may be inadvertently helping
to create another militia which will have to be dealt with in the future,"
the two said. Levin said "broad frustration" exists across Iraq and within
the Bush administration with al-Maliki, and he noted that the Iraqi
constitution provides that 25 members of Parliament can sign a petition
to hold this vote. The trip, which included an excursion to Jordan, gave
the lawmakers a chance to see progress on the ground. The two met with
a host of American and Iraqi officials, including Gen. David Petraeus,
commander of Multi-National Forces-Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, the
commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker
and Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. The
senators also met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Deputy Presidents
Adil Abd Al-Mahdi and Tariq Al-Hashimi and Deputy Prime Minister
Barham Salih.. Levin and Warner said that during their meetings they
had few reassurances that the Iraqi government will be able to cooperate
in any meaningful way. "In many meetings with Iraqi political leaders, of
all different backgrounds, we told them of the deep impatience of the
American people and the Congress with the lack of political progress,
impressed upon them that time has run out in that regard, and told them
of the urgent need to make the essential compromises," the lawmakers
said. "In all of our meetings we witnessed a great deal of apprehension
regarding the capabilities of the current Iraqi government to shed its
sectarian biases and act in a unifying manner. "Levin said the Iraqi
government is "stronger and more capable" than 10 months ago when
Levin was last in Iraq. The Iraqis have trained 10 of 12 divisions —
163,000 troops. But he said that until U.S. troops pull out of Iraq, the
country's army won't take the lead. Levin is still pushing for the U.S. to
begin drawing down to well below pre-surge levels in the next four
months. Despite progress being made on the military side of the surge,
Sen Levin said that without political progress the military successes won't
add up to much "There is consensus: there is no military solution to the
conflict," Levin said. While many of the military goals have been met,
opponents of the Iraq war are using the failure for reconciliation on
several key political goals as ammunition to call for a withdrawal. Without
a political compromise, a lasting calm seems unlikely. However, an
additional 20,000 troops are expected to rotate in by December. This is
not associated with the surge but would briefly increase the numbers of
U.S. soldiers in the country.

7) Al Qaeda Emirs killed in Diyala Province
As you know, Diyala had become the new Al Anbar, and was the
primary target for the surge. All of Al Qaeda’s senior leadership
fled its capital, Bagouba, before the Army came in and liberated
it, block by bloody block. Yes, this is a significant success, and it
comes less than 24 hours after the deaths of two other Al Qaeda leaders,
one in the Hilla region of The Triangle of Death, which I reported
yesterday, and another one named Ali Latief al-Falahi, who was killed
just north of Baghdad, which I didn’t even have a chance to report yet.
They’re just killing these boys too fast.

Diayala Story: Baaquba, Aug 21, (VOI)- The leader of the military
wing of al-Qaeda organization in the Diala province, centarl Iraq, was
killed during clashes between armed groups south of Baaquba, a
security source said on Tuesday.“Yassar Mouni, alias Abul Hakam,
leader of the military wing of al-Qaeda organization, was killed in
clashes flared up between two armed groups: al-Mujahedeen army
and Salah el-Din al-Ayoubi brigades,” the source, who asked not to be
named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).“The
clashes broke out in Buhruz district, south of Baaquba,” he also said,
adding no further details. Baaquba, capital city of Diala, is 57 km
northeast of Baghdad.

8) Iraqi Army arrests 150 near Iranian border
Aug 23, 2007, 15:33 GMT Baghdad - In the biggest action against the smuggling of
arms and fighters from Iran so far, the Iraqi Army has arrested 150 suspected extremists
in the province Diyala, the news agency Aswat al-Iraq reported Thursday. A military
spokesman told Aswat al-Iraq that the action was directed against gunmen who attack
Iraq's security forces as well as the smuggling of arms and foreign fighters across the
borders into and out of Iraq. On the country road from Diyala's provincial capital Baquba
to the town of Mandali to the Iranian border, Sunnite extremists had repeatedly killed
Shiite civilians. Meanwhile, Sunnis from Diyala argue that Shiite militiamen supporting
Iran were operating in the borderland. Also the US government has repeatedly accused
Iran of supporting Shiite militiamen in Iraq with weapons and explosives.

9) 9,000 Terrorists and Insurgents killed or captured in last
6 months
President Bush announced this today in his speech to the VFW:

“In Iraq, our troops are taking the fight to the extremists and radicals
and murderers all throughout the country. Our troops have killed or
captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other
extremists every month since January of this year. (Applause.) We're
in the fight. Today our troops are carrying out a surge that is helping
bring former Sunni insurgents into the fight against the extremists and
radicals, into the fight against al Qaeda, into the fight against the
enemy that would do us harm. They're clearing out the terrorists out
of population centers, they're giving families in liberated Iraqi cities a
look at a decent and hopeful life.”

This is a huge number, of enormous significance not just to the future of Iraq but
to the safety of the West as well, and underscores the stakes involved in the

10) Baathists "Disown" Al Qaeda

From ADNKronosinternational (AKI) 23 August We learn that the
Iraqi Baathists, led by Saddam's former righthand man Izzat Ibrahim
al-Douri, have decided to “disown al-Qaeda.” It is in an interesting
development in the insurgency since Saddam's Baathists have fought
alongside al Qaeda since the beginning of this war. I don't know if this
latest development is a result of the "surge" or not. It may be that al-
Douri has realized that being on al Qaeda's team is a losing proposition
given the success American-led forces have had in routing al Qaeda in
places like Anbar. We'll wait to see if the new schism is temporary or
more permanent. But in the meantime I'll just note that the Iraqi
Baathists had to be working with al Qaeda in the first place in order to
now “disown” them. (See Mark Eichenlaub’s Regime of Terror web site
for a handy list of Baathists who have been working with al Qaeda.)
Here is AKI's report: The leader of Iraq's banned Baath party, Izzat
Ibrahim al-Douri, has decided to join efforts by the Iraqi authorities to
fight al-Qaeda, one of the party's former top officials, Abu Wisam al-
Jashaami, told pan-Arab daily Al Hayat: "Al Douri has decided to sever
ties with al-Qaeda and sign up to the programme of the national
resistance, which includes routing Islamist terrorists and opening up
dialogue with the Baghdad government and foreign forces," al-
Jashaami said. Al-Douri has decided to deal directly with US forces in
Iraq, according to al-Jashaami. He figures in the 55-card deck of "most
wanted" officials from the former Iraqi regime issued by the US
government. In return, for cooperating in the fight against al-Qaeda,
al-Douri has asked for guarantees over his men's safety and for an end
to Iraqi army attacks on his militias.Recent weeks have seen a first
step in this direction, when Baathist fighters cooperated with Iraqi
government forces in hunting down al-Qaeda operatives in the volatile
Diyala province and in several districts of the capital,
Baghadad.Although the Baath party was officially banned after US-led
forces in 2003 toppled the regime of Iraq's late president Saddam
Hussein, its members have fought in the insurgency. Until just a few
months ago, former Baath party members were helping Islamists carry
out terrorist attacks against US forces in Iraq.

11) SUNNI villages fighting back against Al Qaeda attacks

August 24, 2007. Yesterday large groups of Al Qaeda stormed
two villages outside of Baqubah in an attempt to overrun them,
and create mass slaughter. In both cases they were beaten back
by the villagers in tandem with ISF, mostly Iraqi Police. Now
today, 60 Al Qaeda attacked a village’s police station. Once
again, the villagers defeated them in a ferocious gunbattle. All
three of these attacks are unusual for Al Qaeda. Their normal MO
is to infiltrate an at least partially friendly Sunni community, set
up shop, and use their newfound home as a base of operations
to both solidify control of the area, and launch a slow bleed of
attacks against coalition forces. Now that they are almost
entirely without host communites from which to conduct
business as usual, they are resorting to hiding in remote areas
outside of these now often-sealed towns, and attacking them in
large numbers in the hopes of achieving the level of headline-
grabbing kills that they were previously able to attain with
suicide bombs and streets carefully strewn with IEDs. Revenge
is also a motivation, as they are angry with these villages for
routing them out of town in the first place. Most significantly,
these attacks indicate that large numbers of Al Qaeda must now
face an enemy in open combat. Such attacks will create a
heretofor unseen level of casualties and attrition amongst their
forces. What one suicide bomber used to be able to accomplish
now requires the lives and capture of dozens of men. Al Qaeda is
still fighting, but is quite literally on the run. And these attacks
are suicidal for Al Qaeda in a more significant. As I said after
their first revenge bombing of Anbar Awakening sheiks at the
hotel in Baghdad, which the MSM misread as a sign of Al Qaeda’s
abiltity to tamp down the Sunni insurgency against them, such
revenge attacks will actually seal Al Qaeda’s doom in Iraq,
because they will simply fully and finally solidify the will of
Iraq’s Sunnis against them. This morning, a villager backed up
my assessment of two months ago: “”They were shouting ‘Allah
Akbar and a curse be upon the renegades,’” said Umm Ahmed, a
woman who was wounded in the attack. She refused to give her
full name fearing retribution. “This attack will cause the uprising
against them to spread to other villages.”Their last spectacular
bombing, while the most deadly one of all, was accomplished
only because the small sect of people they attacked were
without any security at all, because they were so obscure they
were not considered a likely target. Previously, Al Qaeda loved
to attack Shiites and Shiite icons like the Golden Mosque,
because such attacks could create the impression of a genuine
civil war, which the western press would lap up. And, such
attacks also contained the promise of igniting a true civil war,
although that never actually happened. Not only was the
average Iraqi wise to Al Qaeda’s game, but the presence of U.S.
forces and their control of all substantial routes of transport
make a true civil war literally physically impossible.
Here’s the AP’s version of this morning’s dramatic battle:

BAGHDAD (AP) - Sixty suspected al-Qaida in Iraq fighters hit national
police facilities in a coordinated attack in Samarra, sparking two hours
of fighting that saw three people killed and more than a dozen
insurgents captured, police said Friday.The masked attackers drove into
the city at dusk Thursday in about 20 vehicles, including pickups with
machine-guns, then split into small groups and assaulted four police
checkpoints and a headquarters building, a Samarra police official
said.One policeman and two civilians—a woman and an 11-year-old
girl—were killed in the fighting in the city 60 miles north of Baghdad,
and nine others were injured including a police commando and three
children. There were no details on insurgent casualties, but police
arrested 14 suspects, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity
because he was not authorized to release the information.The brazen
attack came after early morning assaults by suspected al- Qaida
fighters on two villages to the southeast of Samarra near Baqouba,
where fighters bombed the house of a local Sunni sheik and kidnapped
a group of mostly women.Residents were finally able to drive off the
attackers and end the deadly rampage, but not before 17 villagers,
including seven women, were killed. Ten al-Qaida gunmen also
died.Elsewhere, the U.S. command said Friday that Iraqi troops and
U.S. Special Forces raided a home in the Hit area and seized an al-
Qaida suspect believed to have shot down an American helicopter in
2004.The forces detained the suspect and a “second person of interest”
in the Wednesday raid, and found an assault rifle as well as numerous
identification cards and passports. In addition to the helicopter attack,
the primary suspect—whose name was not released—is believed to be
involved in roadside bombing and sniper attacks on U.S. and Iraqi
forces in the region, 85 miles west of Baghdad, the military said in a
statement.The twin attacks near the Diyala provincial capital of
Baquoba—a city 35 miles northeast of Baghdad that has been the focus
of recent major U.S.-Iraqi military operations against alleged al-Qaida
fighters and Shiite militiamen—hit a Shiite village and a Sunni village
with the same ferocity but apparently different motives.The attack on
the Sunni village, Ibrahim al-Yahya, began when about 25 gunmen
exploded a bomb at the house of Sheik Younis al-Shimari, destroying
his home and killing him and one member of his family. Ten people
were wounded, including four other members of the family and passers-
by. Some of the wounded were hit by gunfire.“They were shouting
‘Allah Akbar and a curse be upon the renegades,’” said Umm Ahmed, a
woman who was wounded in the attack. She refused to give her full
name fearing retribution. “This attack will cause the uprising against
them to spread to other villages.”Seven people were kidnapped. Two of
the abducted men were later found shot in the head on a road leading
out of town. The rest of the captives were women, and their fate was
unknown.Al-Shimari and his village apparently came under attack after
he called on the men there to rise up against al-Qaida.While the Sunni
village was under attack, another band of alleged al- Qaida fighters
stormed Timim, the nearby Shiite village and an obvious sectarian
target, according to Baqouba police Brig. Ali Dlaiyan, who reported both
assaults and gave the casualty tolls. He said the villagers were able to
fight off the attack in a 30-minute gunbattle.It was unclear how many
of the 17 residents who died were in each village.A police vehicle
rushing to the attack scene crashed and two policemen were killed,
according to officials in the Diyala provincial police force who spoke on
condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the
information.The Sunni uprising against al-Qaida began spontaneously
early this year in Anbar province, once a bastion of the Sunni
insurgency in the west of Iraq, and has spread to Diyala province and
some Baghdad neighborhoods. The U.S. military has encouraged
disaffected Sunnis, many of them former insurgents, and has begun
working side by side with the Sunni auxiliary units.

12) France opens door to helping Iraqi troops

24 August PARIS (Reuters) - France said on Friday it may be prepared
to provide assistance to Iraqi troops and police, a further sign of a thaw
in relations with the United States after its foreign minister visited
Baghdad this week.Bernard Kouchner's three-day trip to Baghdad was
seen as part of President Nicolas Sarkozy's effort to improve relations
with Washington after a bitter fallout over the U.S.-led invasion under
previous president Jacques Chirac."Our intention is not to send French
soldiers to Iraq. But we can perhaps see what we can do in terms of
assistance to the police or the authorities that are in charge of providing
security in Iraq," French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Denis Simonneau
told a news conference. Under Chirac, France was one of the staunchest
opponents of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, prompting a sharp deterioration
in relations between Paris and Washington.Kouchner, whose trip to
Baghdad was the first by a top French official since the war, had raised
the issue in his meetings with Iraqi officials and he intended to discuss
it at a meeting of EU foreign ministers next month, Simonneau
said.During his trip, Kouchner also called for Europe to play a bigger
role in Iraq.Kouchner had described the conditions in which Iraqi police
work, saying that there was one pistol for five police officers,
Simonneau said.France offered years ago to train Iraqi security forces,
he said."We offered training a long time ago, almost three years ago
now, training, but for various reasons there was prevarication and it
was not implemented," Simonneau said, adding that aid should be
provided "not only at the national level but also at the European level
within the framework of the United Nations".France's position,
established under the previous government, that U.S. and other foreign
forces should withdraw from Iraq by 2008, had not changed,
Simonneau said.He added, however, that the international community
should look at providing economic assistance to the country."We have
to see how the international community can act in the field of economic
development on a certain number of subjects," he said.

13) Citizen sacrifices life to thwart suicide bomber http://www.mnf-
August 21, 2007 FORWARD  OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – An Iraqi
man saved the lives of four U.S. Soldiers and eight civilians when he
intercepted a suicide bomber during a Concerned Citizens meeting in the
town of al-Arafia Aug. 18. The incident occurred while Soldiers from 3rd
Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, were talking with members of the al-
Arafia Concerned Citizens, a volunteer community group, at a member’s
house. “I was about 12 feet away when the bomber came around the
corner,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Kane, of Los Altos, Calif., acting platoon
sergeant of Troop B, 3-1 Cav. “I was about to engage when he jumped
in front of us and intercepted the bomber as he ran toward us. As he
pushed him away, the bomb went off.” The citizen’s actions saved the
lives of four U.S. Soldiers and eight civilians. Kane felt the loss personally
because he had met and interacted with his rescuer many times before
the incident.“He was high-spirited and really believed what the group
(Concerned Citizens) was doing,” Kane said. “I have no doubt the
bomber was trying to kill American Soldiers. It was very calculated the
way the bomber tried to do it. If he hadn’t intercepted him, there is no
telling how bad it could have been.”Kane believes the citizen is a hero.
 “He could have run behind us or away from us, but he made the decision
to sacrifice himself to protect everyone. Having talked with his father, I
was told that even if he would have known the outcome before hand, he
wouldn’t have acted differently.”Capt. Brian Gilbert, of Boise, Idaho, the
commander of Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment,
currently attached to 3-1 Cavalry, echoed Kane’s sentiment.“I spoke with
the father,” Gilbert said. “He said he has no remorse in his son’s death
because he died saving American Soldiers.”Later that night, the
Concerned Citizens group contacted the local National Police director, Lt.
Col. Samir, with the location of the al-Qaeda cell believed to be
responsible for the attack. The National Police immediately conducted a
raid that resulted in four arrests. Despite the citizen’s death, Gilbert is
encouraged by the cooperation between citizens and the Iraqi National
Police. “The effort of the Concerned Citizens group has made the area
much safer,” he said. “They are proud of who they are and their area,
and want to get rid of the terrorists in their area.”Gilbert also praised the
Iraqi National Police’s role in eliminating insurgents in the area.“The
cooperation between them and the Concerned Citizens has been key,”
Gilbert said. “The NP has done a great job of responding to the tips they
have been given by the group.”Gilbert said he believes the area is
improving because of the efforts of local citizens. The death, while
unfortunate, demonstrated how close many in the area have become
with the American Soldiers operating there.“I consider many in the town
friends, and I know they feel the same,” Gilbert said. “This is a tough
situation, but we’ll move on and try to prevent things like this from
happening again. I’ve talked with his family and told them how brave
their son was. This is a huge loss for everyone involved

15) Al Qaeda attacks two Sunni villages in Diyala:
attack beaten back by other Sunnis
BAGHDAD (AP) - Suspected al-Qaida fighters attacked a Sunni village east of Baqouba
on Thursday and killed a village leader who had led the community in an uprising against
the terrorist organization, witnesses and police said.At the same time Timim, a nearby
Shiite village, came under attack, again by al-Qaida fighters. A total of 15 people were
killed and 22 wounded in the two assaults, said Baqouba police Brig. Ali Dlaiyan.Ten
attackers were killed as villagers fought back, he said. The attack by the gunmen on the
Ibrahim al-Yahya village began at 6:30 a.m. when the fighters exploded a bomb at the
house of Sheik Younis al-Shimari, destroying his home and killing him and one member of
his family. Ten people were wounded, including four other members of the family and
passers-by. Some of the wounded were hit by gunfire.“They were shouting Allah Akbar
and Curse be upon the Renegades,” said Umm Ahmed, who was among the three women
wounded in the attack. She refused to give her full name fearing retribution. “This attack
will cause the uprising against them to spread to other villages.”A police vehicle rushing to
the attack scene crashed and two policemen were killed, according to officials in the Diyala
provincial police force who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not
authorized to release the information.Armed men in the village assembled and drove the
fighters back in a ferocious 30-minute gunbattle, witnesses said.The two villages are in
Diyala province, where U.S. troops are cracking down on al Qaeda and other Sunni Arab
militants who were using the region as launch pad for attacks in Baghdad.Al-Qaida has
been forced to fight a rear-guard action against many of its former allies in the Sunni
community who have risen up against the organization because of its brutality and attempts
to impose the group’s austere version of Islam.The uprising began spontaneously in Anbar
province, once a bastion of the Sunni insurgency in the west of Iraq, and has spread to
Diyala province and Baghdad.

Iraqi Media Version:

Baaquba, Aug 23, (VOI) - At least 35 persons were killed, including 25 gunmen, and 20
more were injured during an armed attack by al-Qaeda in Iraq armed group on two
adjacent villages near the city of Baaquba, a police source said, noting that 22 gunmen
were also arrested.“The two villages of Sheikh Tameem and Ibrahim Yehyia, with Sunni
majorities, northeast of Baghdad, were mortared this morning, followed by an attack by
scores of al-Qaeda gunmen,” chief of the Baaquba police department Brigadier Ali Dalyan
told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).“The shelling and the attack left 25
persons dead and 20 injured,” he added.“100 or more gunmen used Rocket Propelled
Grenades (RPG) and machine guns against locals and destroyed a number of houses, in
addition to blowing up the Sunni al-Hussein mosque…,” the source said.The two villages
lie near the Kanaan region, near Baaquba.“The gunmen arrested the imam of al-Hussein
mosque, Sheikh Younis Abd Hamid, and three young men and killed them,” the brigadier
said, noting that they also kidnapped five women.“Police forces rushed to the region and
clashed with the gunmen, killing 10 of them and arresting 22,” he highlighted.“The
detainees are now undergoing questioning by the police,” the source concluded.Baaquba,
capital city of Diala, has been a scene of a large military operation, dubbed Operation
Arrowhead Ripper, with the participation of more than 10,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops in a
hunt for gunmen in the area.Baaquba is 57 km northeast of Baghdad.

August 22, 2007 -- GEN. David Petraeus' Baghdad office reflects the man: It's spartan. There are
no giant flat-screen TVs or I- love-me photos on the walls. There's no spectacular view, just no-
nonsense wall maps of the city and the country. It may be the least ostentatious four-star
general's office in history. There's a representational office elsewhere, but this is where
the general runs his war - when he's in an office: He often makes two or three grueling
"battlefield circulation" trips around the country in a week. In a session with The Post
yesterday, Petraeus stressed that he wasn't going to offer any premature declarations of
victory. Far from it. Despite meaningful and measurable progress since he assumed
command earlier this year, Iraq remains a brutally difficult place. But it's a better place
than it was a year ago, with violence reduced by half in Baghdad. Long the deadly base
of al Qaeda in Iraq, Anbar province has gone from hundreds of daily attempted attacks on
our troops to four earlier this week. Iraqis assume ever more responsibility for their own
security. And former enemies are rallying to fight beside us, instead of against us. How
did the general and the troops under his command achieve such rapid progress? He lays
out a model: "The Re-Liberation of Iraq," this time from a new wave of oppressors, the
terrorists, insurgents and militias. Petraeus acknowledges the errors made in the early
occupation years, stressing, above all, the failure to provide security for the population.
We cleaned out the violent actors from one city after another, but failed to stay and set
the conditions for political and economic progress. When we left, the bad guys came back
- and killed anybody who hadcooperated with us. Now, through the efficient use of
American troops and a greatly increased employment of Iraqi forces, we're taking an
approach that allows for fighting fiercely when necessary, but which looks beyond the
gunfights. As one example, the general points out that, "When we took down Baquba this
time, we had a post-operations plan in place." It's critical to involve the local people
immediately and enduringly in shaping long-term outcomes. Petraeus recognizes that
there's no one-size-fits-all solution for a country as complex as Iraq, but a series of
common emphases have been working well thus far:

* Coalition forces went on the offensive - and sustained the pressure. This time around, al Qaeda
and our other enemies didn't get their accustomed break between rounds. And al Qaeda's own
arrogance and over-reaching, from targeting popular local sheikhs to destroying commerce all
along the Euphrates River Valley, gave the general a timely card to play.

* Taking advantage of Sunni-Arab disillusionment with al Qaeda, Petraeus moved swiftly to
present our renewed efforts as a far more attractive option than the terrorists.

* And post-combat operations are now Iraqi-centric, not futile attempts to turn Iraqis into
Americans. "Involve the local people," the general states, laying down a non-negotiable rule.
"Instead of firing, we're hiring locals" and putting them to work, he stressed. While providing
dependable security is fundamental, it's not enough. Economic issues can be fundamental. And
the people need the services only a central government can deliver - while the new approach
empowers local government, it avoids doing so at the expense of fatally weakening the Baghdad

Instead of backing mammoth, hyper-expensive construction projects designed in Washington, our
new approach prods Iraqis to fix their existing infrastructure. Iraq's utilities won't be state-of-the-
art, but they're beginning to work again: Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems. Sounds like a no-
brainer, but it took a profound change of mindset for us to get there.

Nor will Iraqi democracy mimic our own. Petraeus works systematically with Iraq's time-honored
social structures, exploiting the levels of trust and control already in place. Instead of trying to
replace tribal leaders with out-of-towners, we now focus on developing mutually supporting
relationships between respected local authority figures and the feds from Baghdad.

The general's recognition that locally recruited security forces have the immediate trust of the
local population has been critical to the entire effort. Even with the surge, we lacked the forces to
do it all ourselves. Petraeus recognized that, yes, all politics is local - and so is security. So he
pushed hard for reconciliation programs to engage former enemies who now want to work with us
to drive out al Qaeda.

Meeting rebellious Sunni Arabs halfway is yielding impressive successes. For just one example
among many, 1,700 fighters who belong to a former insurgent group have been vetted and
brought on board to serve their community in Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad. And no, contrary
to media myths, we are not arming our former enemies. Iraqi tribes already have all the weapons
they need. The issue is which way those guns are pointed - and they're now aimed at our mutual

Could things go wrong down the road? Things can always go wrong. But when your former
enemies are killing your worst enemies, it sounds like a pretty good deal. Also, instead of
massing behind the walls of large bases, our troops now live and serve beside their Iraqi
counterparts, giving us a deeper understanding of the Iraqi way of doing things, of the opaque-to-
outsiders fault lines in the population. Petraeus acknowledges that we're doing things today that
should've been done four years ago. The learning curve was steep. And myths abound. Contrary
to a common misperception, tactical commanders didn't have adequate funds they could disperse
early on - and, in Iraq, money does buy loyalty. Funds to jump-start local economies and employ
young men are vital to inhibiting insurgent recruitment. Multiple tours in Iraq have convinced
Petraeus that "Money is a weapon." Not every project we're providing with seed money now will
meet OSHA standards - but this is Iraq, not Connecticut. From working with tribal leaders to
investing time and money at street- level, it's essential to "understand the Iraqi style" of doing
things. It's counterinsurgency judo: working with the weight of tradition, instead of fighting a losing
battle against it. The general recognizes that political progress at the top in Iraq may lag as an
indicator, but local initiatives look like the key to national success. He believes that, in this case,
the politicians will eventually follow the people - who genuinely want better lives, not more
bickering and butchery. What will be the test of a worthy Iraqi government to Gen. Petraeus? "A
government representative of and responsive to the people . . . at all levels." Can Iraq get there,
after all its recent travails and struggling under the weight of history? Petraeus insists that "we're
realistic." He believes that Iraq has a fighting chance. But he refuses to predict miracles. That
said, the general himself looks like the miracle Iraq needed. If that country ultimately fails - if
Iraqis fail themselves - it won't be the fault of David Petraeus and our men and women in uniform.

17) The Surge in Action: Baker Company 1-15 rallies
villagers to the Coalition and against the insurgency.
08/20/2007 12:00:00 AM Wuerdiya, Iraq by Jeff Emanuel
THOUGH EASE IS AN extremely relative attribute in this case, hunting
and killing the enemy in the Salman Pak region of Iraq (southeast of
Baghdad) is, in fact, the easy part of the U.S. mission there. 'Terrain
denial' artillery missions are staged in known al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)
areas on a nightly basis, attack aviation assets are constantly scouring
the area and firing on militant outposts, and, with the launching of the
division-sized Operation Marne Huskey on August 15, major air-and-
land offensives are being conducted in virtually every known insurgent
stronghold and outpost in the region. But fighting is what these
soldiers have been trained for, and what they have been preparing--
both mentally and physically--to do their entire careers. Very few
soldiers have been trained to carry out nation-building or
ambassadorial missions, and in the case of an area like Salman Pak,
which has seen a negligible troop presence since the initial invasion,
trust and rapport cannot be improved or built on, but rather must be
created and constructed entirely from scratch. This is an infinitely
more difficult (and time-consuming) process, but one which is
absolutely essential to the coalition effort in Iraq. The key to making it
happen is demonstrating, on a daily basis, that the coalition has the
best interest of the Iraqi people--from security, to services, to medical
care--at heart.

And there are newfound signs of success in the area just north of
Salman Pak, along the road known to 3rd Brigade as "Route Wild,"
between the villages of Wuerdiya and Ja'ara. It all began with a phone
call. During the first week of August, an Iraqi man who lived in the
area, and whose brother was the sheik of the al Jabouri tribe, called
Captain Rich Thompson, head of 3rd Brigade's Baker Company 1-15
Infantry and the local ground commander, and asked for a meeting.
Tired of the persistent insurgent infighting in his area, the man wanted
information on starting his tribe's own 'Concerned Citizens' brigade, to
augment the National Police and to defend their land and their clan
against terrorism.

18) Commando Air Assault Detains Suspected Insurgent
Disguised as Pregnant Woman
Posted on 08.21.2007 at 09:56AM
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs Office
AL-OWESAT, Iraq — Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade
Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y., detained
several men during an air assault mission along the Euphrates River, Aug. 20.
One of the men detained was dressed as a pregnant woman.Crimson Shogun was an
operation targeting al-Qaida-allied terrorist networks in the Owesat and Fetoah areas
along the river and brought together more than 100 Soldiers of 2-14 Inf., 50 Iraqi army
troops and two local residents who volunteered to help identify terrorists. Thirteen men
were detained for further questioning, one of whom was on the battalion’s list of persons
of interest. His brother was also detained, and was found by the Soldiers of Company A,
disguised as a pregnant woman in an attempt to avoid capture.

19) Surging: General Petraeus is making progress.
By Clifford D. May “The only thing this surge will accomplish is a surge of
more death and destruction.” That was the prediction of blogger and
antiwar activist Arianna Huffington back in December of last year — one
month before the Senate unanimously confirmed Gen. David Petraeus as
commander in Iraq. "I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is
not accomplishing anything.” That was the judgment of Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid in April — two months before the reinforcements
General Petraeus needed to fully implement his new “surge” strategy had
arrived in Iraq. In mid-June, just as troop strength was reaching the level
needed to carry out the revised mission, Senator Reid added: “As many
had foreseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results."

But now those intended results are being seen — as even some critics of
the war, to their credit, are acknowledging. “More American troops have
brought more peace to more parts of Iraq. I think that’s a fact,” Sen.
Dick Durbin (D-Ill) told reporters. “My sense is that the tactical
momentum is there with the troops,” Sen. Jack Reed (D., R.I.) said to
PBS’s Charlie Rose. The debate over the war in Iraq is shifting, though
more slowly than is the war in Iraq, thanks to a well-funded and
determined anti-war movement and too many in the media for whom
good news is no news. A few days ago, CNN’s Kyra Phillips interviewed
Lt. General Raymond Odierno, General Petraeus’s top deputy. She might
have asked whether his troops now have both the will and a way to
defeat al Qaeda suicide-bombers and Iranian-backed death squads.
Instead, her inquiring mind wanted to know: “Do you think that this job
that you've taken on could be career suicide?” Because of scant media
interest, most Americans don’t even realize that the so-called surge is a
new and different strategy, implemented by General Petraeus because
the approach of his predecessors — not least former Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfield — failed. Under the Rumsfeld strategy, most American
forces spent most of their time in Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). Cut
off from the local population, they received little intelligence. And since
they were providing security for themselves but not for Iraqis, Iraqis
turned to sectarian militias which grew larger, stronger, and more
violent.Meanwhile, al Qaeda in Iraq deployed suicide-bombers to mass-
murder civilians as a way to stoke sectarian violence. Al Qaeda calculated
— not unreasonably — that Americans would withdraw rather than
remain in the crossfire of a civil war. General Petraeus, the Army’s top
counterinsurgency expert, decided it was time for a different approach.
He moved troops out of the FOBs and put them into Iraqi cities and
villages where they have been providing security for Iraqis — who have
shown their appreciation by providing intelligence that spy satellites can’t
retrieve. He is targeting al Qaeda, as well as the Shia militias trained,
funded and equipped by Tehran — their cells, strongholds, and bomb
factories. And with added troop strength, he has been able to hold the
neighborhoods he has cleared.It also is true that most traditional Iraqi
leaders have been repelled by al Qaeda’s brutality and extremism.
Americans, by contrast, have shown the local sheiks respect, while
training and partnering with Iraqis — making it clear they would like
nothing better than to see Iraqis take charge of their own security as
soon as they are ready.On top of all that, U.S. soldiers have been
doubling as diplomats: helping to reconcile Sunni and Shia tribal groups,
and even bringing insurgents — those not affiliated with al Qaeda or
Tehran — into line with the Iraqi government. This week, General
Odierno launched “Operation Phantom Strike,” a new offensive that aims
to pursue the al Qaeda terrorists and Iranian-backed militias displaced
from their safe havens by this summer’s earlier actions: Operation
Phantom Thunder, and Operation Fard al-Qanoon (the Baghdad Security
Plan). Operation Phantom Strike, if it is successful, will mean more
“death and destruction” — mostly for America’s sworn enemies. No
doubt, the anti-war crowd will both oppose that and pronounce it a
failure even before it’s fully underway. But other Americans — if they
learn what is really happening in Iraq — will support the troops. Most will
favor giving them the time and resources they need to complete their

20) Iranian agents training militias in Iraq
Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:24AM EDT

By Ross Colvin BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence reports indicate there are about
50 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards training Shi'ite militias in how to use mortars
and rockets in southern Iraq, a U.S. general said on Sunday.In Tehran, Foreign Ministry
spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini dismissed the accusation as "completely baseless".
U.S. Major-General Rick Lynch, whose forces south of Baghdad are battling a mixture of
Sunni Islamist and Shi'ite militants, said many of the 25 soldiers killed in his area in the
past 60 days were hit by what the U.S. military calls "indirect fire"."The enemy is ramping
up indirect fire attacks. The enemy is more aggressive. The great concern is about the
Iranian munitions he is using," Lynch told reporters in Baghdad."We have some
members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. They are facilitating training of
Shi'ite extremists. In my battle space ... we think there are about 50 members."U.S.
officials and military commanders have stepped up their accusations against Iran in
recent weeks, charging Iraq's neighbor of playing a spoiling role to influence a
September progress report on the war due to be presented next month.Lynch said U.S.
troops had so far failed to seize any weapon shipments coming across the Iranian border
and that no Revolutionary Guards member had been captured in his area of
responsibility.However, he said his troops had captured 217 weapons with Iranian
markings on them since April, in a period coinciding with an increase in rocket and
mortar attacks on U.S. soldiers.Intelligence suggested that explosively formed
penetrators, a particularly deadly roadside bomb that has claimed the lives of scores of
U.S. soldiers, were being built in Iran and then smuggled into Iraq to be assembled
there.Iran has denied such charges and blames the 2003 U.S.-led invasion for the
sectarian violence between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Arabs that has killed tens
of thousands. GEORGIAN BRIGADE Lynch's deputy, Brigadier-General Ed Cardon, said
a blocking force of about 2,000 Georgian soldiers was to be deployed in Wasit province
southeast of Baghdad to thwart the smuggling of any weapons from Iran.The province
shares a 200-km (120-mile) stretch of porous border with Iran. It has only one official
border crossing but there are a number of smuggling routes north and south of it.Lynch,
whose "battle space" includes the "Triangle of Death", a notorious Sunni Arab militant
stronghold, and rival Shi'ite militias, has launched a series of operations to block the flow
of weapons and fighters into Baghdad and stop the area being used as a launchpad for
attacks.U.S. troops have begun an offensive in provinces bordering Baghdad, targeting
al Qaeda and Shi'ite militias, to buy time for Iraq's leaders to broker a workable power
sharing deal between Shi'ite Muslims, Sunni Arabs and Kurds"We believe we have the
enemy on the run. We are in a pursuit phase," Lynch said.He said there had been a 20
percent decline in violence in his area in the past 60 days, from 20 attacks a day to 16,
and a 36 percent decline in civilian casualties.

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