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The Beginning of the End

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these insurgent jahadist cockroaches have been given every opportunity to rejoin humanity...... NOW THEY WILL DIE and be sent straight to badWord !!!

 

 

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Assault Begins

 

The ground assault on Fallujah has apparently started -- from a surprising direction -- the river. According to the Bakersfield Californian;

 

US forces stormed into western districts of Fallujah early Monday, seizing the main city hospital and securing two key bridges over the Euphrates river in what appeared to be the first stage of the long-expected assault on the insurgent stronghold. ... The action began after sundown on the outskirts of the city, which has been sealed off by U.S. and Iraqi forces, and the minaret-studded skyline was lit up with huge flashes of light. Flares were dropped to illuminate targets, and defenders fought back with heavy machine gunfire. Flaming red tracer rounds streaked through the night sky from guerrilla positions inside the city, 40 miles west of Baghdad.

 

Although nothing is certain in war, there are indications that the reduction of Fallujah has a timeline measured in weeks rather than months. The British Black Watch regiment, which Chester believes is playing the role of a blocking force outside Fallujah has been attached to the operation for 30 days from the end of October.

 

Blair has promised to bring the Black Watch home by Christmas. The senior officer said: "The operation is approximately thirty days' duration, approximately, i.e., it could be longer. And we've heard, but not formally, that we could be replaced, but that is a political, high-level military decision which I'm not going to go into."

 

As Chester puts it, the British troops block any retreat to the north and east of the Euphrates (which is in the direction away from where the Marines assaulted last night the anvil to hammer)

 

The Black Watch has moved to positions east of the Euphrates, at the request of US military commanders, in order to "stop reinforcements moving north and block the way of insurgents leaving the city." This is consistent with my prediction last week that the Black Watch will be serving as a blocking force, so that it can clean up any insurgents who flee to the east of the city of Fallujah.

 

Presumably US planners have calculated that resistance in the central redoubt will have crumbled before the end of November and enemy survivors would then be trying to evade crosscountry to other Sunni towns to make sense of the Black Watch deployment. It should also be recalled that the Fallujah operation is part of a wider campaign against other strongholds in the Sunni triangle. In this connection, the 60-day declaration of Martial Law by Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawie on December 7 suggests a time horizon for related operations.

 

Marine Corps News reports that several embedded reporters are having second thoughts about accompanying combat troops into the city on the basis of what they have been briefed to expect.

 

The Marines recently embedded more than 30 media agencies with units that are operating in the Al Anbar province where the well-known towns of Ramadi and Fallujah are located. All were invited, many accepted the offer, but now some have doubts. The Marines are trained for this, the media is not, continued the CNN reporter who was actually covered other battles including the Iraq invasion during the spring of 2003.

 

One photographer, who has prided himself since his arrival here, on being in more than 17 conflicts, says he is more worried about this operation than any before. Because of the tactics the insurgents are using there is much more uncertainty, he explained. He went on to say that he did not expect to have this much access or be this involved with the Marines when he arrived. “What if I get separated, what if I think I’m in a safe place and all of a sudden an insurgent walks in with a gun,” he said.

 

Many of these reporters are experienced men who have been under some type of fire before. But the urban combat facing the troops they will accompany will probably consist of small units in constantly moving through a very dangerous kind of environment, full of IEDs, snipers and close-range engagements. In this situation, getting lost may well mean dying from enemy fire or blue on blue. Sticking close to Marine infantry advancing under fire is only slightly more palatable. Everyone knows the saying that 'war is badWord, you cannot refine it'; but Sherman might have added, 'you cannot describe it'. The Marines and many reporters will come to know what can never be described and what no sane person should ever hope to experience at first hand.

 

# posted by wretchard : 2:01 AM 40 comments

 

The Banner of Zarqawi

 

Ralph Kinney Bennet at Tech Central Station asks why Zarqawi should fight for Falluja and whether his men have not already melted away to other Sunni towns in the face of the imminent American strike.

 

The legendary Arab insurgent leader T. E. Lawrence described the characteristics of a guerrilla force as "speed and endurance, ubiquity and independence of arteries of supply." The "ubiquity" of al-Zarqawi and his fighters - their presence as a force to be reckoned with in Iraq -- will be severely compromised or eliminated if they choose to stay and fight in Fallujah.

 

One partial answer is that Zarqawi will fight for Falluja for the same reasons he wanted it in the first place. Anecdotal evidence in April 2004 suggested that many bunkers had been built. The secondary explosions from US strikes over the last days implies that a lot of explosive has also been stored up. Zarqawi had invested quite a lot of effort into Fallujah and he would have done this only if it were valuable to him. The interesting and apparently paradoxical thing about terrorism -- which is often characterized as rootless and spectral -- is how rooted it is in sanctuaries, an apparent indication of their utility. Whether South Waziristan, Pankasi Gorge, the Bekaa Valley, Fallujah or the banlieus of Paris, terrorism apparently needs some locus in order to exert a material force.

 

In Dark Networks the Belmont Club referred to idea of the Dunbar Number, which John Robb and others have related to terrorist networks. Robb observed:

Distributed, dynamic terrorist networks cannot scale like hierarchical networks. The same network design that makes them resiliant against attack puts absolute limits on their size. If so, what are those limits?

 

A good starting point is to look at limits to group size within peaceful online communities on which we have extensive data -- terrorist networks are essentially geographically dispersed online communities. Chris Allen does a good job analyzing optimal group size with his critique of the Dunbar number.

His analysis (replete with examples) shows that there is a gradual fall-off in effectiveness at 80 members, with an absolute fall-off at 150 members. The initial fall-off occurs, according to Chris, due to an increasing amount of effort spent on "grooming" the group to maintain cohesion. The absolute fall-off at 150 members occurs when grooming fails to stem dissatisfaction and dissension, which causes the group to cleave apart into smaller subgroups (that may remain affiliated).

 

Al Qaeda may have been able to grow much larger than this when it ran physical training camps in Afghanistan. Physical proximity allowed al Qaeda to operate as a hierarchy along military lines, complete with middle management (or at least a mix of a hierarchy in Afghanistan and a distributed network outside of Afghanistan). Once those camps were broken apart, the factors listed above were likely to have caused the fragmentation we see today (lots of references to this in the news).

 

Chester says more or less the same thing in commonsense terms.

... the sanctuary of weaponry, local political support, command and control infrastructure (however sophisticated), and ready ties to cash sources cannot be picked up and moved. I've touched on this earlier when I mention why I think Zarqawi is still in the city. I'm not saying that small bands of insurgents can't leave, posing as civilians and setting up shop elsewhere. What I'm saying is that by doing so, they will completely cut themselves off from command and control from above, and will no longer be able to mass in a single place. The US won't let this happen again. Therefore, if some small groups do leave, even if they are successful afterwards in some bombings or beheadings, eventually they will run out of steam without the logistical, moral, and command support that can be readily found when they have coalesced in a physical place.

 

Lawrence's Arab guerillas always had a base, -- their tribes -- fixed in concept yet mobile as camels and his perennial difficulty was keeping the tribes in the field in the face of pastoral demands. It was a difficulty Lawrence did not surmount until he obtained sufficient gold from General Allenby to keep his warriors in funds, for ride where they would, the desert legions could live only for as long as somewhere, their tribe existed. When Falluja is taken, Zarqawi's tribe will be dispersed, to meet furtively by the roadside perhaps, but never to muster under their full banner again.

 

# posted by wretchard : 6:19 AM 38 comments

 

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Fallujah Again

 

Although the US military has refused to give a timeline for the capture of Fallujah developments suggest they are moving at very rapid operational pace.

Hours after starting the offensive, U.S. tanks and Humvees from the 1st Infantry Division entered the northeastern Askari neighborhood, the first ground assault into an insurgent bastion. In the northwestern area of the city, U.S. troops advanced slowly after dusk on the Jolan neighborhood, a warren of alleyways where Sunni militants have dug in. Artillery, tanks and warplanes pounded the district's northern edge, softening the defenses and trying to set off any bombs or boobytraps planted by the militants.

 

Marines were visible on rooftops in Jolan. This reporter, located at a U.S. camp near the city, saw orange explosions lighting up the district's palm trees, minarets and dusty roofs, and a fire burning on the city's edge. Just outside the Jolan and Askari neighborhoods, Iraqi troops deployed with U.S. forces took over a train station after the Americans fired on it to drive off fighters.

 

The Fallujah can be conceived as a rough rectangle two miles on a side bounded by the Euphrates to the west, the railroad track to the north, a highway to the east and an "industrial park" and suburbs to the south. The recognized enemy stronghold is the upper northwest corner called the Jolan but their forces are likely to be more widespread than that. But in two successive nights, US forces have compressed the enemy from three sides (probably a fourth, as it is likely the US has also seized the 'industrial area' to the southeast) and have actually penetrated the enemy stronghold of Jolan in parts, without any published casualties apart from the two Marines who died when their bulldozer flipped into the Euphrates.

Readers will recall the same pattern of operations in Najaf where US infantry secured the buildings and rooftops while vehicles advanced on the streets below.

 

In Najaf as in Fallujah too, apparently, US forces did not advance on a single broad front but snaked in to seize key areas, breaking up enemy defenses into pockets which can no longer support each other. The pockets may be further isolated by bulldozing fire lanes. The low number of casualties so far indicates that US forces have successfully sidestepped enemy forces the way a broken field runner dodges tackles. The Strategic Studies Institute warns that heavy casualties may result from assaulting "mini fortresses", but many of those redoubts may be entirely bypassed and fields of fire cleared around them.

 

"The big fights, where you're going to see lots of casualties, are when defenders create miniature fortresses," Millen said. "Your infantry gets sucked into those things, and that's when you see casualties building up." U.S. forces have managed to keep casualties relatively low in previous urban battles in Iraq. In three weeks of fighting a Shiite Muslim insurgency in the streets and massive cemetery of Najaf this summer, seven Marines and two soldiers were killed out of a force of about 3,000. "If you go in there well and you go in there methodically - if you have a good plan - you're not going to have as many casualties," Millen said.

 

I believe (speculation alert!) that the enemy mobile defense is nearly at an end; that his active response has probably fallen to pieces much quicker than he anticipated and they are probably going to concentrate their resistance into mutually supportive strongpoints or explosive barriers fairly soon. The enemy's remaining hope is to hit the "jackpot" by demolishing a building or blowing up a street just as US forces occupy or overrun it. As they become squeezed into a smaller and smaller area, the risk that US forces will run into an exploding house or building will increase. But the rapid progress of the last two nights may be tempting US commanders to accept the risks and snap at the enemy's heels. Going fast may prevent the enemy from setting up their defense. One almost certain thing is that a fearful execution is being inflicted on the enemy, and probably worst among their officers and NCOs. Tonight's events will probably indicate whether the US goes for broke or takes a more deliberate approach.

 

Update

The Daily Telegraph has an atmospheric article which describes the terrible effect of networked forces on the enemy inside Fallujah.

 

"I got myself a real juicy target," shouted Sgt James Anyett, peering through the thermal sight of a Long Range Acquisition System (LRAS) mounted on one of Phantom's Humvees. "Prepare to copy that 89089226. Direction 202 degrees. Range 950 metres. I got five motherf****** in a building with weapons." A dozen loud booms rattle the sky and smoke rose as mortars rained down on the co-ordinates the sergeant had given. "Yeah," he yelled. "Battle Damage Assessment - nothing. Building's gone. I got my kills, I'm coming down. I just love my job."

 

... The insurgents, not understanding the capabilities of the LRAS, crept along rooftops and poked their heads out of windows. Even when they were more than a mile away, the soldiers of Phantom Troop had their eyes on them. Lt Jack Farley, a US Marines officer, sauntered over to compare notes with the Phantoms. "You guys get to do all the fun stuff," he said. "It's like a video game. We've taken small arms fire here all day. It just sounds like popcorn going off."

 

This engagement is all the more chilling because it probably happened at night. Five enemy soldiers died simply because they could not comprehend how destruction could flow from an observer a mile away networked to mortars that could fire for effect without ranging. All over Fallujah virtual teams of snipers and fire-control observers are jockeying for lines of sight to deal death to the enemy. For many jihadis that one peek over a sill could be their last.

 

"Everybody's curious," grinned Sgt Anyett as he waited for a sniper with a Russian-made Dragonov to show his face one last, fatal time. A bullet zinged by. ...

His officers said that the plan to invade Fallujah involved months of detailed planning and elaborate "feints" designed to draw the insurgents out into the open and fool them into thinking the offensive would come from another side of the city. "They're probably thinking that we'll come in from the east," said Capt Natalie Friel, an intelligence officer with task force, before the battle. But the actual plan involves penetrating the city from the north and sweeping south. "I don't think they know what's coming. They have no idea of the magnitude," she said. "But their defences are pretty circular. They're prepared for any kind of direction. They've got strong points on all four corners of the city." The aim was to push the insurgents south, killing as many as possible, before swinging west. They would then be driven into the Euphrates.

 

From UAVs wheeling overhead to Marines going through alleys linked by their intra-squad radios (a kind of headset and boom-mike operated comm device), the US force is generating lethal, real-time information which is almost immediately transformed into strike action. Against this, the jihadis have no chance. This doesn't mean (as I pointed out above) that there will be no American losses. The battlefield is too lethal to hope for that. But it does mean that terrorism has unleashed a terrible engine upon itself. Capabilities which didn't exist on September 11 have now been deployed in combat. It isn't that American forces have become inconceivably lethal that is scary; it is that the process has just started.

 

Update 2

An NYT article with an accompanying photo essay illustrates the high level of skill which some of the enemy display. It's not that the enemy is dumb, just that the US is that much better. A sequence of photos shows US troops observing targets from a rooftop to call in fires. Right after the Americans scoot off, enemy mortars land on the roof, too late to hurt their tormentors. It is a perfect illustration of the lethality of information and essentially futile enemy attempts to negate it. As the battle progresses, enemy snipers, mortarmen and machinegunners -- who are desperately trying to deny Americans their lethal targeting information -- will be picked off or run low on ammunition. The combat, already lopsided to start with, will grow more unequal. If it sounds unfair, it’s meant to be.

 

The Strategy Page points out that the enemy has dug tunnels under streets, utilized overhead cover and knocked holes in walls in an attempt to negate the US information warfare advantage. But the price for living like moles is relative immobility in trading concealment for stasis. The battle for Fallujah illustrates the relative strengths and weaknesses of both sides. The enemy, whatever his faults, is not obviously short on courage or resourcefulness and America can expect to encounter the same tenacity anywhere he is met. But against these strengths, enemy inherited not only the weakness of a poor technological base but a fundamentally flawed concept of American determination. They wrongly assumed, as Osama often claimed, that Americans were too morally weak to fight. They believed they could use physical remoteness and terrorist tactics to wage "asymmetrical warfare" on an American force geared to fight conventional battles -- the army of Desert Storm. Both these assumptions have proved poor bets. There are now tens of thousands of Americans with a good understanding of the Middle East; there are many systems now coming online which are designed to fight the terrorist enemy. They are going to get snowed under by the same tidal wave that buried the Imperial Japanese Army and the Wehrmacht in World War 2.

 

Thinking Muslim and Arab leaders probably recognize the handwriting on the wall, but like the peace factions in wartime Germany and Japan, are still reluctant to step forward. This is tragic, because like the unequal struggle in Fallujah, once the US gains the strategic upper hand its advantages will progressively mount and a hideous, irresistible annihilation of enemy forces will unfold, until despair brings an enemy statesman forward; not too late for his society, but too tardy to save the wasted lives of their young men.

 

# posted by wretchard : 1:52 AM 118 comments

 

The Enemy Starts to Collapse

 

Enemy resistance in Fallujah is starting to collapse, with US forces deep inside the city and fighters pulling back to their ultimate stronghold in the Jolan district. There is no more room to retreat with the Euphrates to the west and American forces on every side.

 

Troops have been advancing towards the center, fighting insurgents armed with rifles and mortars street by street. Early on Tuesday the US-led troops reached a key objective early -- a mosque in the north part of Falluja. ... The BBC's Paul Wood, embedded with US soldiers - and whose reporting is subject to military restrictions - says US-led forces reached their first major objective early on Tuesday, when they surrounded al-Hidra mosque in the northern parts of Falluja. The US military said the building was being used as an arms depot and a meeting point for the leaders of the insurgency. Our correspondent says Iraqi forces fighting alongside US marines will storm it.

 

Earlier, a US tank commander said guerrillas were putting up a strong fight in the north-western Jolan district. "These people are hardcore," Capt Robert Bodisch told Reuters news agency. "A man pulled out from behind a wall and fired an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) at my tank. I have to get another tank to go back in there."

 

"I can see heavy street-fighting from my house in the center of the city -- US soldiers are here, moving from house to house", according to BBC reporter Fadil Badrani.

 

A synoptic view of the same engagement comes from Ned Parker in the Australian.

US troops moved from house to house through the Jolan neighbourhood of Fallujah yesterday, knocking down walls and spraying machinegun fire at buildings from which insurgents fought back with small arms and mortars. The US forces, supported by Iraqi soldiers, pushed towards the centre of the besieged rebel city as columns of smoke plumed skyward after a night of heavy air raids and artillery shelling. "We are downing them," said US marine officer Major Todd Desgrosseilliers. "We're using good old American firepower."

 

A smattering of trained Iraqi forces accompanied the marines in their assault on the city, while more were poised on the outskirts, preparing to enter in an offensive codenamed Phantom Fury. Helicopter gunships swooped overhead, dropping flares on buildings from where the muzzles of insurgent rocket launchers jutted out, while the rebels fought back with anti-aircraft fire. White and red flashes lit the sky in a relentless barrage of artillery shells and aerial bombing that thundered throughout the night.

 

Mortars are what the enemy has for reserves, the only part of their firepower that remains mobile on the Fallujah battlefield because its high-angle fire allows it to shoot over obstacles in built up areas. Enemy forces have also been known to volley RPGs upward into neighboring streets. But their fire is largely blind. They have no comms and direction centers to mass fires or shift them as the battle progresses. The BBC press account indicates that heavy armor has actually penetrated deep inside the city (with an armor company commander joking about the disabling of his vehicle) with infantry progressing over and through the walls of houses on either side (probably what the BBC reporter is describing as 'moving from house to house').

 

Today's news will tell whether American commanders have decided to keep up the tempo and profit from enemy confusion or slow down and reduce the remainder by fire. One of the factors will be the condition of the Iraqi troops fighting alongside Americans. As suggested in the article above, Iraqi troops are employed to clean out areas like mosques that have been bypassed by US forces. This is dangerous and exhausting work. The limited number of trained Iraqi troops may enforce a limit on tempo. As the enemy fragments it will become a battle of small unit holdouts in dozens of locations. Each enemy position is doomed but they will take time to clean out.

 

Readers will remember that Fallujah is only a part of the wider campaign in the Sunni triangle. Chester has pointed out that the 3rd Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, identified as fighting at Fallujah, was detached from Ramadi. The enemy is now trying to relieve pressure on Fallujah with demonstration attacks in Ramadi, where they may have sensed the departure of the battalion. This has taken the form of a repulsed car bomb attack on checkpoints controlling access to the city and low level skirmishing. This report from the AP describes how two enemy vehicles were destroyed as they bore down on a checkpoint.

 

The military says five U-S troops have been injured after they attacked two suspected car bombs in the Iraqi city of Ramadi. It also says seven insurgents were killed in yesterday's attack. It gave few other details, but says the U-S troops wounded had shot at and destroyed the vehicles.

 

In a portentous development, the Marines have apparently withdrawn their observation posts inside Ramadi. Middle East Online reports:

Rebel fighters massed in the centre of the restive Iraqi city of Ramadi Tuesday after US military snipers withdrew from their positions following 24 hours of clashes, an AFP correspondent said. The US military could not immediately be contacted for comment.

 

US snipers left a hotel from where they were able to control most of Ramadi's main roads, but the military remained in its headquarters in the governor's office nearby, the correspondent said. Other US soldiers left the city for their bases in the east and west of the city.

 

As the snipers departed, large crowds of armed insurgents, their faces hidden by scarves, began dancing in the street and shooting in to the air, yelling "Allah Akbar" (God is great). Banners proclaiming solidarity with insurgents in Fallujah, where US-led forces launched a massive offensive to retake the city on Monday, were hung in the streets. "The residents of Ramadi condemn the attack against Fallujah and we appeal to the inhabitants of Ramadi to wage jihad against the American occupants who want to eradicate Islam," said one man who did not want to be named.

 

An earlier generation of historians would call the withdrawal of snipers "bringing in the pickets" and concentrating the fist. The feeble enemy response suggests a real weakness. The car bomb attack and public demonstration of "fighters" who are apparently unable to hinder the comings and goings of snipers will be portrayed as a great jihadi victory but is pathetic in reality. They are being measured for a pine box and the best they can do is caper in the streets. In a few days 3rd Battalion will be back in Ramadi, together with powerful units currently busy in Fallujah and the dance tempo will change to a funeral march unless the enemy lays down his arms. Wellington once observed that "nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." Nothing about it is nice; but better them than us.

 

Update

An Agence France Press report describes the terrible closed loop of networked firepower. For the first time in a major battle, guided artillery is being used in quantity. In addition to the now familiar JDAMs, or GPS guided bombs, there are now GPS guided shells. Space based positioning satellites, laser range finding, robotics and networked computing are now as much a part of infantry combat as the boot heel.

 

"Body parts everywhere!" cries a US soldier as a shell crashes onto a group of suspected rebels in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, where a punishing torrent of firepower thundered down on Tuesday.

 

More than 500 rounds of 155-millimetre Howitzer cannon shells have been fired on the besieged Sunni stronghold west of Baghdad since a US-Iraqi offensive to take control of the city started on Monday evening, said Sergeant Michael Hamby. Using a global positioning system, each shell is precision aimed and fired at insurgent spots, while unmanned reconnaisance aircraft check whether the target was hit and feed back the information, Hamby told AFP.

 

"We probably had 20-to-30 air strikes in the Jolan and probably two-to-three times that in artillery missions," he said. Attack helicopters swooped overhead, dropping flares on buildings from where the muzzle of insurgent rocket heads jutted out.

Though the enemy is to be frank, very brave, news reports them falling back everywhere.

 

The Washington Post says:

 

Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz, commander of multinational forces in Iraq, predicted "several more days of tough urban fighting." He said insurgents were "fighting hard, but not to the death. They are falling back," adding that the U.S. advance was progressing "ahead of schedule."

 

The enemy withdrawals have sometimes been explained by suggesting that the enemy is suckering in US forces into a trap. But this is impossible. Their backs are to the river and the Marines are across that. Every retrograde movement compresses the enemy into a smaller area and forces them to leave behind prepared positions painstakingly stockpiled with food, batteries and ammo. Running backward with wounded, they can't carry much ammunition and won't find any unless a prepared position is already available. And how does anyone stand fast in the face of the otherworldly violence of the American onslaught?

 

Small bands of gunmen -- fewer than 20 -- were engaging U.S. troops, then falling back in the face of overwhelming fire from American tanks, 20mm cannons and heavy machine guns, said Time magazine reporter Michael Ware, embedded with troops. Ware reported that there appeared to be no civilians in the area he was in. On one thoroughfare in the city, U.S. troops traded fire with gunmen holed up in a row of houses about 100 yards away. An American gunner on an armored vehicle let loose with his machine gun, grinding the upper part of a small building to rubble.

 

This is a description of platoon-sized enemy units attempting to hold back the Martians. The bravado of Al Jazeera has this completely wrong. If classical history were still widely taught, these scenes would be instantly recognizable as a rout, that terrible disintegration of ranks as the foe closes in before and behind. Describing the rout of the Roman Legions by Hannibal at Cannae, Livy wrote:

It was a terrible slaughter. ... On a narrow area 48,000 corpses lay in heaps. ... Hannibal once more released non-Roman prisoners. ... Roman knight's gold rings were collected in baskets and later poured out onto the floor of the Carthaginian senate. One of the consuls Lucius Aemilius Paulus (and one of the preceding year's) were killed, as well as both quaestors of the consuls, 29 out of 48 military tribunes and 80 other senators.

 

There can be no joy in war: it is always repulsive in actual detail, but if we are not left with the facts, then the world is deprived even of the doleful experience of the battlefield. The jihadi dream was a fraud. September 11 opened the door, not to Paradise but the portal to badWord and the jihadi nightmare will continue for as long as they are nourished on illusion and false encouragement. We are not their permanent enemies; that foe is within their breast.

 

# posted by wretchard : 4:23 PM 91 comments

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

badWord in a Very Small Place

 

The Bakersfield Californian reports that US forces have reached the major east-west highway that runs through Fallujah.

 

U.S. Marines said American forces had taken control Wednesday of 70 percent of Fallujah in the third day of a major offensive to retake the insurgent stronghold. Major Francis Piccoli, of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said enemy fighters were bottled up in a strip of the city flanking the major east-west highway that splits Fallujah. Army and Marine units had pushed south to the highway overnight, Piccoli said.

 

... As the American forces crossed the highway that split Fallujah, armored Army units stayed behind to guard the thoroughfare.

 

To realize the significance of this, refer to this map from Global Security, which shows the start lines of the participating American units: USMC 3/1, USMC 3/5, Army 2/7 Cavalry, USMC 1/8, USMC 1/3 and Army 2/2 Infantry. These units were attacking north to south, down towards the highway. The east-west highway referred to in the paragraph above is the bright green line running horizontally across the map. US Army armor is now on that highway, after advancing south and probably swinging west. US forces are probably waiting across the highway. We are fairly sure of this because the London Telegraph recounted how a US Army Cavalry Unit was moving through the industrial area which is located in the southeast corner of the city, below the green line which represents the highway which US armor is now patrolling going north to south; that is up towards the highway. We know it is cavalry because they call their companies "troops".

 

The flimsy metal door was ripped off its hinges as a hefty boot from a Legion platoon soldier made decisive contact. Inside the small room lay an AK-47 rifle, alarm clock parts and a handwritten notebook in Farsi. Moments earlier, the gunman, thought to be Iranian, had fled as Legion, Hunter and Outlaw platoons of the US army's Task Force 2-2 undertook one of the more dangerous tasks of the battle for Fallujah. Clearing buildings door to door in a guerrilla stronghold is risky at any time. Into the bargain this time, the platoons from Phantom troop had been ordered to sweep Fallujah's industrial zone, a haven for foreign fighters.

 

Simply reading the map shows that the enemy is pinned in a strip north of the highway, which is now a barrier to further escape south. As Major Piccoli put it, the "enemy fighters were bottled up in a strip of the city flanking the major east-west highway that splits Fallujah". Pressing them against the highway are four US battalions from the north and two from the east. Two days ago, the Telegraph carried an interview with Captain Natalie Friel, which eerily anticipated this very outcome.

 

"They're probably thinking that we'll come in from the east," said Capt Natalie Friel, an intelligence officer with task force, before the battle. But the actual plan involves penetrating the city from the north and sweeping south. "I don't think they know what's coming. They have no idea of the magnitude," she said. "But their defences are pretty circular. They're prepared for any kind of direction. They've got strong points on all four corners of the city." The aim was to push the insurgents south, killing as many as possible, before swinging west. They would then be driven into the Euphrates.

 

The reader is invited to draw his own conclusions about the enemy's prospects in this position. They are pinned against the highway, with no exit north, east or south.

 

# posted by wretchard : 8:14 AM 8 comments

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Guest mustefser
قناة الجزيرة الفضائية تعرض شريطا يظهر فيه مسلحون يقولون إنهم من الفلوجة وهم يحتجزون 20 فردا لم تظهر وجوههم قالوا إنهم أسروهم وإنهم أفراد من الحرس الوطني العراقي.

 

Aljazera aired a funni film about some insurgents claiming capturing of 20 personals of Iraqi national gaurds.. Noticed two things

1- The displayed personals were standing with back to the camera.. That is for first time.

2- The insuregent was reading inside a room, there was no any battel noise in the background..

 

I think the film was produced by a very un professional producer!!

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A salafee head clergy Alsumaidaie, is critisisng Alsystani in Friday preach in Baghdad.... Notice the following

1- Alsadrees critized Alsystani when he left Najaf to London and never commented on the assualt by Government forces on Alsadrees.. So why putting it in a factionist style.

2- Suportin Alsadrees through the Najaf crises had nothing to do with Shia/Sunni, most Iraqis"including Alsystani" critisised both Alsadrees and the Salafees/Sadamees in their stand against the new born Iraqi government

3-It is unrealistic to say that national army is a shia troops..At least the Anbar new military governer is not, the minister of interior is not, the PM spokesman is not..

 

It is very clear message by Suamaidai.. He wanted to factionalise the conflict to give the terror some legitamacy after the big defeat in Falouja.

 

Have a look to this

 

Senior Sunni figure blasts Sistani for failure to speak out on Falluja

 

Thu Nov 11, 5:51 AM ET   Mideast - AFP

 

 

 

BAGHDAD (AFP) - A senior Sunni Muslim figure blasted Iraqi Shiite religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for staying quiet about the US-Iraqi assault on the rebel Sunni enclave of Fallujah.

 

 

AFP/File Photo

 

  

 

"We reproach Sistani for not officially taking a position on the offensive and we call on him to do so," Sheikh Mehdi al-Sumaydai, the religious chief of a strict Salafist group, told AFP on Thursday.

 

 

Sumaydai, also the imam of the Ibn Taymiya mosque in Baghdad, recalled that all Sunni religious leaders supported the Shiites in the holy city of Najaf and the Baghdad slum of Sadr City when the US-led military clashed with militants loyal to the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

 

 

"Is it the case that the Shiites are not interested by what is happening now? Is not Fallujah an Iraqi city and its residents the brothers of this country?" Sumaydai asked.

 

 

Thousands of US and Iraqi troops are battling for control of the rebel city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, in the largest military offensive in Iraq (news - web sites) since last year's invasion.

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Guest Mustefser

http://www.alrafidayn.com/Story/News/N_12_11_04_1.html

In Arabic.. A story of Abo Thar an Arab Yameni Salafee who is telling his story of leaving his pregnent wife in yamen to join those who are killing Iraqi kids , women, elderly on the bases of fighting occupation in Iraq..

He told that a Jordaian buissness man finance his trip to Syria then bribing Syrian boarder police to get into Iraq. Then join alZarqawee network in a base in Jolan/Falouja.

He talked about all the tension with Falouja's Iraqi residents who looked to the Arab fighters as intruders that are distroying their culture and stability.. This had happened after the American withdraw from Falouja where these islamic fundelist started to impose their restriced talaban style rules on people.

Seems the Americans really knew what they are doing by withdrawing from falouja.. Today absolute majority of people of falouja are showing any simapthy to those criminals.Very different than what was the case last April

A similar scenario is happeneing in Musol to the north. Gorenment and American are withdrawing from city centers , where the Islamist are taking over, I had some Musoli friends that told me about the growing grieve against them.

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Guest Mustefser

http://www.iraqhurr.org/realaudio/specialr...41111191303.ram

 

In Arabic .. Very intersting interviews with some of the Falouja's residents who left the city just before the assault.. The interviewees were a bussness man, taxi driver and teacher.. All were blaming terorists for what had happened to their city..

They are looking forward to retirun soon to their city..

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Guest Guest_tajer

http://www.nahrain.com/d/news/04/11/19/wts1119a.html

 

In Arabic.. very funny!

The son of the suadi Clergi AlOOda " one of those who siged on Jihad letter asking people to go to Iraq ,last week" left a letter to his father, saying that he is leaving to Iraq to participate in Jihad.. The father was scared and ask the Suadi authoroties to block him.. Later it was found that the son was joking and returned back!!

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Guest Guest_tajer

http://www.sotaliraq.com/newiraq/article_2...11_22_4955.html

 

In Arabic.. An artile by an Iranian news ageny's analysist.. Very funny.. Remind me a atraditional Arabi Ashaab funny story tells.

Ashaab was a lair, one day he stood on a main intersetion, and kept telling every one who arrived that tehre is a feast an poite people into certain irection. When he saw every one going for the fake faest he believed him self an run after them.

The Iranian news reporte that General Mayers has sai that "Iraq is going into civil war".. I went through the original statement an foun that he was replying to a question if there is a possibility for a civil war , he answere that there is such possibility but there is no sign that such thing is happening.

In the above article , the "Analysistist , without ouble checking his news agency report, he started building on it to tell poor Arab reaers how Americans are planning for it ..

Very funny.

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Guest Someone

سنة العراق... أليس فيكم رجل رشيد؟

 

مشاري الذايدي

 

يوجد لدينا الآن أكثر من عراق، له أكثر من صورة، وتتزاحم على طابور مستقبله أحلام وفيرة مختلفة الوجهات.

هذه الحقيقة تجسدت من خلال عدة معايير، معيار طائفي يقول إن مصلحة الطائفة الشيعية في ارساء دعائم العراق الجديد، مصلحة حقيقية وعظمى وتاريخية، وبدرجات اخرى ينطبق هذا الوضع على الاقليات المسيحية وغيرها.

ومعيار إثني، يقول ان مصلحة الاكراد في مضي قاطرة العراق الوليد سيجعل ايام الكرد أطيب واحلامهم اقرب لمعانقة راحة الواقع، ونفس الامر ينطبق على إثنيات اخرى مثل التركمان وغيرهم.

يبقى فريق واحد ما زال «قسم» منه يحارب هذه الحقيقة ويؤخر بزوغها قدر ما يستطيع، وهم أطراف من السنة العرب. والحق أنهم بذلك يفوتون فرصة تاريخية، كما لاحظ عبد الرحمن الراشد والمفكر العراقي الشيعي اياد جمال الدين.

غير أن ما يجب لفت الانتباه اليه هنا، ولو بشكل مختصر، أن السنة العرب ليسوا على موقف رفضوي واحد، وليسوا كلهم «فلوجة» ولا هيئة علماء المسلمين، وغني عن القول، ان هناك من ينهج نهجا سياسيا مناقضا لموقف صقور السنة العرب، الممثل بالمشايخ الفيضي والكبيسي والضاري، المرفوضين هم بدروهم من جماعات الزرقاوي، لانهم ربما تلوثوا بترديد كلمة «وطن وانتخابات»، الامر الذي يناقض دولة العقيدة الاسلامية الاممية.

ولتأكيد وجود موقف سني عربي مختلف عن هذه المواقف، نشير الى موقف الحزب الاسلامي السني (اخوان مسلمين)، فقد دعا الحزب بلسان اياد السامرائي المتحدث باسمه، الى المشاركة بكثافة في الانتخابات، مع تنبيهه الى استحالة اتمام هذه العملية بسبب ما أسماه بالنص «أحداث العنف في البلاد»، وليس «الجهاد»، كما يقول مشايخ هيئة علماء المسلمين، او كما يقول القرضاوي والاسلاميون في البحرين والكويت والسعودية.

ويعارض السامرائي موقف هيئة علماء المسلمين التي دعت قبل عدة ايام الى مقاطعة الانتخابات، حيث يقول: «هذه الحجج غير قائمة، الانتخابات هي التي تقربنا من الاستقلال» واضاف: «على جميع العراقيين من كل الاتجاهات ان يعملوا على انجاح الانتخابات» («الشرق الأوسط» 21 نوفمبر (تشرين الثاني) الحالي).

الامر لم ينته هنا، فهناك شخصيات سنية محترمة كتبت ملامح وجه عراق صدام حسين وشاركت بفعالية في مجلس الحكم الانتقالي ثم في المجلس الوطني، كما شاركت في مواقع حكومية مهمة، نذكر منها عدنان الباجه جي وسمير الصميدعي ثم رئيس الجمهورية العراقية الشيخ غازي الياور، وكلهم سنة عرب يمثلون اطيافا مهمة.

وعليه، فانه يحق لنا القول ان هذه الفئات التي ترفع السلاح وتفجر وتخرب الوضع الجديد، تمثل تيارات داخل النهر السني، ولا تجسد القرار السني كله.

هذه بديهة يعرفها العراقيون بحكم معرفتهم بالالوان التي تلون مجتمعهم، ولكن يأبى موقدو نيران الحرب الا العمى المتعمد، والغاء كل هذه التفاصيل «الضخمة»!

طبعا لسنا بحاجة للتذكير بأن اللاعب الكردي الكبير في الحلبة، هو طرف سني أيضا، بل ويتفوق على سنة العرب بانه يمثل اغلبية عرقه الكردي، عكس العرب الذين يتشكل اغلبهم في العراق من الشيعة. ومعروف حجم الاسهام الكردي في تأسيس وحماية عراق ما بعد صدام حسين، بل ان هناك عائلات سنية انقسمت على نفسها في هذا الخصوص، فمهدي الصميدعي احد اعضاء هيئة علماء المسلمين السنية المتشددة، حذر المرجع الشيعي السيستاني من اندلاع حرب طائفية، اذا لم يصدر فتوى تحرم انضمام الشيعية الى قوات الحرس الوطني العراقي التي تلاحق جماعات الزرقاوي في المثلث السني.

هذا الرجل يقابله صميدعي آخر، وهو سمير الصميدعي سفير العراق لدى الامم لمتحدة، الذي يعارض خط واتجاه هيئة علماء المسلمين، فقد وجه انتقادا للاسلاميين السعوديين الـ26 الذين أصدروا بيانا يؤيد مقاومة رجال المقاومة في العراق، خصوصا الفلوجة معقل الزرقاوي. وقال الصميدعي الآخر ان البيان يمثل تحريضا على العنف، وانه يجب على هؤلاء الموقعين الآن أن يكفوا عن التدخل في شؤون العراقيين «الاهرام»21 نوفمبر الحالي.

وسني عربي آخر هو السفير رعد الالوسي مندوب العراق لدى الجامعة العربية، يقول: «أنا لا أعترف بوجود مقاومة ولا أسمي ما يحدث في العراق، بأنه من أعمال المقاومة، فمن يقتل الاطفال ويحاول تخريب البنى التحتية وتفجير السيارات، فهذا لا يسمى مقاومة «عكاظ» 19 نوفمبر الحالي.

أما الطرف الشيعي فيكاد يكون موقفه اجماعا على وجوب المشاركة بقوة في الانتخابات والدخول في مشروع العراق الجديد بفعالية، وهذا ما أكده أحمد الصافي ممثل المرجعية الدينية الشيعية في خطبة صلاة الجمعة الماضية في الحرم الحسيني، ليقول: «ان الانتخابات تمثل مرحلة مهمة جدا في تاريخ العراقيين».

بعد هذا كله، لماذا يصر بعض الاسلاميين خارج العراق، على تصوير الامر وكأنه مواجهة ضد كل العراقيين، وأنهم عبر بيانات التحريض على القتال، ووجوب الجهاد الفوري باعتبار أنه «فرض عين»، حسبما جزم الشيخ القرضاوي، ليسوا إلا ممثلين لإرادة العراقيين وقرارهم العميق والنهائي؟!

المسألة في تقديري واضحة، ان المتضررين من الحملة العسكرية الجارية هذه الايام في المثلث السني، هم الجماعات الاصولية المتشددة، ولذلك لم يناصرها الا من يخشى عليها.

الجديد في المشهد، هو تناغم مواقف الاسلاميين في الخليج في وقت واحد، ففي البحرين دارت معركة بين النواب الشيعة والسنة على خلفية احداث الفلوجة، ثم نزل اسلاميو البحرين السنة الى الشارع يهتفون ضد اياد علاوي، ويناصرون مقاومة الفلوجة، ورددوا هتاف «يا علاوي صبرك صبرك...الفلوجة تحفر قبرك». أما في الكويت، فكانت القصة أكثر اثارة، فقد اختار اسلاميوها وزير الاعلام المثخن بالسهام محمد ابو الحسن، وشنوا عليه هجوما ضاريا بسبب المسرحية الكوميدية (حب في الفلوجة)، لأنها «تسخر من جراح اخواننا في العراق»، وعبأوا البلد بحالة من الشعور الجهادي، الامر الذي استفز كتابا آخرين في الصحف الكويتية، واتهموا هؤلاء بالانتقائية في المشاعر، حيث لم يحركوا ساكنا ايام حوادث النحر والخطف والتفجير، التي كان يقوم بها مقاومو المثلث السني، مع التسليم بان هناك ضحايا مدنيين عراقيين ابرياء يسقطون في الفلوجة، وانه يجب مد يد العون والاغاثة لهم، لانهم لا حول لهم ولا طول في ما صنعه العنف الاصولي وما جره. وحتى كتابة هذه الاسطر المعركة ما زالت مستمرة.

أما في السعودية، فلا تزال اصداء بيان 26 اسلاميا سعوديا ساندوا مقاومة الفلوجة ودعوا لنصرتها وتشجيعها، تدوي على صفحات الصحف ومجالس السمر، وكان من ذيولها معركة جريدة سعودية محلية قبل ايام مع احد موقعي البيان، على خلفية موقفه من الحث على مساندة مقاومي الفلوجة، ثم الخوف على ابنه من الذهاب الى هناك، الامر محل تكذيب متبادل من الطرفين، لكن الجدل لم يتوقف الى الآن حول جدوى تعبئة الاجواء من اجل الفلوجة.

وهكذا... فالجرح اصاب الفلوجة الزرقاوية، لكن صرخة الألم ترددت على فم الاسلاميين الحركيين في الكويت والسعودية والبحرين... ومصر بطبيعة الحال.

معركة الفلوجة في جوهرها، معركة ضد الاصولية، أصولية تمظهرت هذه المرة في ثوب المقاومة، ولذلك فان مواجهة هذه المعركة في كل المواقع الاصولية في العالم تصبح معركة مصير، خصوصا لنا نحن العرب، حتى يتم انقاذ ما يمكن انقاذه من شبابنا.. وعقولنا.

ومن هنا نفهم صخب الضجيج على الفلوجة، وكأنها حفلة الموت الوحيدة في العراق، وكأنه لم تكن هناك مجزرة الجنود الـ45 من افراد الحرس الوطني، الذين ذبحوا بدم بارد وفي ليل بهيم، ومجازر بغداد واسراب السيارات المفخخة، وكرنفالات جز الرؤوس بالسيوف والسواطير، حتى لمن جاء من اجل ارامل وضعفاء ومعاقي واطفال العراق، وهو معارض للوجود الاميركي، مثل مارغريت حسن والصحافي الايطالي انزو بالدوني...

يجب على كل الاسخياء بدموعهم وبياناتهم على رجال الزرقاوي وعبد الله الجنابي وعمر حديد، وغيرهم من فلول وضباط البعث، أن يدركوا أن موقفهم هذا لا يمثل في الجغرافيا العراقية الداخلية الا جزيرة معزولة، فاغلب العراقيين، ليسوا كذلك.

إن ما يخيف الانسان بعد العراق هو: أين سيكون متنفس هذه التعبئة بعد زوال الغليان العراقي، وما هو المرجل التالي؟

 

mshari@asharqalawsat.com

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Guest Guest_tajer

http://www.elaph.com/ElaphWriter/2004/11/23308.htm

 

In Arabic.. Very intersting Article by Iraqi scholar Saad Khalis..

Commenting on the interview by the french Liberacioun newspaper with the head of Salafee's in Iraq Shiekh Alfakhreee, the deputy of Shiekh Alsumaidae who was arrested in Baghdad last week.

Please try to find the english copy of that interview , it is very dengrous.. He threatend to attack the Vatican and all Chrestian churches, also to kill kids and women and any one..

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