Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Deatials of the SURGE in Iraq : operation Phantom Phoenix

Phantom Phoenix Success

Within the first week of the operation Phantom Phoenix, Coalition Forces and Iraqi Security Forces have detained 193 suspected extremists, killed 60 suspected extremists and found 79 weapons caches. These caches included over 10,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, over 2,000 heavy machine gun rounds, over 4,000 pounds of home-made explosives, over 300 pounds of TNT, approximately 100 improvised explosive devices in various stages, over 300 blasting caps, over 50 pressure plates, over 2,000 feet of detonation cord and many other items.

Finding these caches continues to reduce extremists’ ability to attack CF, ISF and Iraqi civilians. The discovery of 4,000 pounds of homemade explosives takes away the enemy’s ability to build eight more massive vehicle bombs of the type that have been destroying Iraqi infrastructure and killing innocent Iraqis.

Liberating Villages

US and Iraqi forces liberated six villages from al Qaeda control in the region near Miqdadiyah, Iraqi army Major General Abdul Karim al Rubaie, the director of operations in central Diyala province told AFP.

"The villages have been under the control of al-Qaeda for a long time," Rubaie. "We have taken them back and al-Qaeda has been chased out." Ten al Qaeda were reported killed and 20 captured during the operation.

Col. John Lehr, commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, who commands the Brigade that is leading the efforts in Diyala Province , reported that he was “very thankful for the integration of 3rd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army into our operation. Upon joining us, they immediately discovered a major cache system, which will lead to other cache systems and the capture of other terrorists.” In one particular find in Diyala in an area known as the Breadbasket, Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces together uncovered a weapons cache in an underground bunker complex with several rooms.

“The 3rd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division made this latest find possible. They are making great gains headway against the enemy,” said Brig. Gen. James Boozer, deputy commanding general of Task Force Iron. “Their ability to turn human intelligence is significant because of the relationships they have made with the population in this short amount of time.

Major Bombing by the US

In addition the U.S. bombers and jet fighters unleashed 40,000 pounds of explosives on the southern outskirts of Baghdad within 10 minutes Thursday (10 Jan 2008) in one of the biggest airstrikes of the war, flattening what the military called safe havens for al-Qaida in Iraq. Large-scale air strikes have been rare in Iraq, especially over the past few months when the intensity of military action tapered off as overall violence declined and U.S. commanders emphasized "hearts and minds" engagement with civilians.

Coalition forces are meeting less resistance than they expected
, according to AP:

The top U.S. commander in northern Iraq said Wednesday a nationwide operation launched against insurgents was meeting less resistance than expected, but that troops would pursue the militants until they were dead or pushed out of the country.

Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling told reporters in Baghdad that in his area of control alone, 24,000 American troops, 50,000 members of the Iraq army and 80,000 Iraqi police were taking part in the offensive against al-Qaida in Iraq....

First, U.S. and Iraqi forces would try to clear areas of insurgents. Then, Iraqi police would move in to establish some semblance of law and order. Finally, Hertling said, the so-called "Awakening Groups" or "Concerned Local Citizens" -- mostly Sunni fighters who have joined the Americans in the battle against al-Qaida - would be relied upon to maintain stability after troops move out of areas....

Hertling said his troops had killed 20-30 insurgents so far.

operation was blown?

Unfortunately, the reason for the light resistance appears to be that the operation was blown, and many of the insurgents fled north to avoid it. Information tends to escape the Iraqi forces. From the Long War Journal post on Iron Harvest:

Both Iron Harvest and Phantom Phoenix "are seeing less resistance than expected," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "There are expectations that the decrease in resistance can be due to leaks in the [Iraqi security forces] or extremists might have seen an increase in helicopters in their areas prior to the operation."

And from AP:

Hertling said reports that insurgents in Diyala had fled north just before Phantom Phoenix began were probably accurate, a reason troops have met relatively little resistance so far. He also said the insurgen[cy] probably learned of the military's plans in advance.

"Operational security in Iraq is a problem," he said, noting that the Iraqi army uses unsecured cell phones and radios. "I'm sure there is active leaking of communication. That is why we have to keep a tight line on operational security."

It appears that "a tight line" now includes keeping Iraq security forces out of the loop of specific attacks until just before they launch.

No comments:

amazon quicklinker

Favorites linker

google adds