Friday, November 30, 2007

Iraq Military & Security Roundup

Security continues to improve throughout Iraq. Even a turkey stuffed Murtha can see it. Bill Rogio provides a good overview of operations. Black Five and CENTCOM have individual engagement reports. DOD has some very positive news about Iraq unit effectiveness and improvements in their intelligence capability. And Michael Yon has up the third in his his riveting report from his embed with British forces:

Security continues to improve in Iraq, as reported by the NYT:

Recent American military data indicates that for the fourth week in a row, the nationwide weekly number of attacks is at its lowest level since January 2006. The number of civilians killed, as measured by the American and Iraqi governments, continued to decline in November. The number of weekly casualties, wounded as well as killed, suffered by Iraqi civilians, Iraqi forces and American forces, increased last week by 56 percent but was still below the level for most of 2006 and 2007.

Apparently, even Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa) can see it. He just returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Iraq and proclaimed "I think the 'surge' is working." I am amazed. Meanwhile, Blackfive is pondering the ingredients in Murtha’s Thanksgiving meal

Bill Rogio at the Long War Journal describes the major operations being conducted:

As al Qaeda in Iraq attempts to re-establish its networks in the Northern provinces, the Iraqi military and Multinational Forces Iraq have been shaping the battlefield in the north for a showdown with the terror group. Iraqi and US forces received a big boost the past week when a significant number of Iraqis formed a Concerned Local Citizens group in the region. Meanwhile, the Islamic Army of Iraq in Mosul has vowed to dig in and fight the Coalition.

Read the entire post.

Blackfive has the story of a successful night air assault northeast of Baghdad

Centcom has daily news releases on the result of operations over the past week:

Coalition forces detained 12 suspects during operations Thursday targeting al-Qaeda operations in central and northern Iraq.

Coalition forces detained 12 suspects, including two local leaders of al Qaeda, Tuesday and Wednesday during operations targeting al-Qaeda networks in central and northern Iraq.

During operations north of Bayji, Iraq, Coalition forces observed several individuals begin to maneuver in and around the area reported to be a logistical sanctuary and safe haven where terrorists allegedly plan and coordinate attacks. Perceiving hostile intent, the ground force called for supporting aircraft to engage, killing two terrorists.

Iraqi Forces, advised by U.S. Special Forces, detained one suspected al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist commander and two suspected extremists, as well as uncovered 18 improvised explosive devices during three separate operations Nov. 25 targeting criminal groups within Iraq. The Habbaniyah Special Weapons and Tactics team, along with U.S. Special Forces, conducted a raid west of Baghdad specifically targeting an AQI commander. The individual is reported to be responsible for murder and intimidation campaigns against Iraqi Police and their families in Saqlawiyah, and multiple improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces.

DOD is reporting signficant increases in Iraqi unit effectiveness:

Iraqi security forces have taken “huge steps forward” in growing and moving toward independent operations, a senior commander in Iraq said today.

And they’ve made this progress despite fighting a war on their own soil and working through an immature bureaucracy, said British Army Brigadier S. M. Gledhill, deputy commanding general for the Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq. The command is charged with helping the Iraqis to organize, man and equip their force and to develop the ministries of Defense and Interior.

“Fundamentally, Iraqis are now taking ownership of the battle space themselves. I think this is an extremely positive move and it really demonstrates their capability,” Gledhill said to a group of Internet journalists and “bloggers” in a conference call.

“An increasing number are moving into the leading role, and I have every confidence that over the next 12 months Iraqi battalions and brigades will increasingly take the lead in the battle space,” he said.

In the past year, the Iraqi security forces have rocketed to nearly a half million, including both the police and army. The 158,000-member armed forces are expected to grow to 190,000. The police forces number more than 300,000, Gledhill said. A year ago, the police forces numbered less than 200,000, and the armed forces were about 135,000 strong.

Between the army and national police, 191 Iraqi battalions are in the fight, with more than half operating without coalition force support, he said. . . .

Read the entire article. And in a related story, the Iraqi intelligence cycle - gathering, processing and coordinating targets - is now producing results on par with U.S. forces.

And last but not least, do read Michael Yon’s Men of Valor Part III. Its riveting.

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