Friday, May 4, 2007

News From the Surge

Dinah Lord has been collecting the latest reports from Iraq. The U.S. and Iraqi soldiers captured 16 members of an Iranian linked cell in Sadr City:

The US command in Baghdad announced the arrest Friday morning of 16 suspected members of a terror cell with strong ties to Iran in Sadr City, the capital's massive mainly Shiite slum. In a statement, US troops said the cell was in charge of transporting anti-tank mines and weapons from Iran to Iraq and transfering militants fin the opposite direction for training. The US military also said intelligence reports showed that the cell was part of a network carrying out attacks and abductions in Iraq and had ties to criminal groups in both countries.
I do wonder when we are finally going to make the mullahs start paying very dearly for their actions in Iran. The fiction that Khamenei does not know what is going on is getting very difficult to stomach, and refusing to hurt Iran very badly for this meddling will simply encourage ever greater interferenace.

Dinah also posts on a report that U.S. and Iraqi soldiers have taken sucucessfully concluded an offensive to retake the Tahrir neighborhood in Baqouba, northwest of Baghdad. The area had become a stronghold for al Qaeda in Iraq.

And then, in what cannot be considered bad news, there is a report of another major split from inside the insurgent ranks, with at least one group now vowing to target al Qaeda and the U.S. forces, leaving civilians alone. That's fine by me.

Update: And see this from Bill Rogio. Othr then the fighting, by far the most important to come out of Iraq today is the report that the Anbar Salvation Council incrasing its membership to include one of the major tribes who originally welcomed al Qaeda, and the Council is expanding its membership outside Anbrar, including into Diyala Province, where the hardest fighting against al Qaeda and its affiliates is occurring today:
The news of al Jubouri's death comes as the Anbar Salvation Council scored a major victory against al Qaeda in Iraq. Sam Dagher of the Christian Science Monitor reports on how the Anbar Salvation Council, led by Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Rishawi, turned the Albu Fahd tribe against al Qaeda. The Albu Fahd was one of the six original Anbari tribes to support al Qaeda and its Islamic State in Iraq. These six tribes are known in some military intelligence circles as the "Sinister Six". The Albu Fahd [described as the Bu-Fahed] has now joined the Anbar Salvation Council and pledged to throw its weight behind the fight against al Qaeda.

"Winning over the Bu-Fahed tribe was a coup," said Mr. Dagher, who covered the tribal meeting where the Albu Fahd moved into the camp of the Anbar Salvation Council. "It had been one of Al Qaeda's staunchest supporters, and traces its lineage to the birthplace of the puritan form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism in the Saudi Arabian province of Najd. It formally threw its lot behind Sheikh Abdel-Sattar Abu Risha." the pickup of the Albu Fahd comes as the Anbar Salvation Council has made gains outside of its home province and is expanding in Diyala, Salahadin and Baghdad.

In the city of Baqubah in the al Qaeda sanctuary of Diyala province, U.S. forces retook the Tahrir neighborhood after a week of hard fighting. U.S. forces encountered hard fighting and prepared al Qaeda traps and fighting positions. The 1920s Revolution Brigades, a Sunni insurgent group now aligned with the Anbar Salvation Council, fought pitched battles against al Qaeda in Baqubah before being forced to withdrawal after running out of ammunition.

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