November 23, 2005

Standing Up, Standing Down

139 terrorists killed. 256 terrorists captured. Operation Steel Curtain ends today as a success.

Did I mention that a substantial number of the soldiers fighting for the coaltion were locally-recruited Iraqis?

Via Centcom:

The 17-day offensive, which took place in the cities of Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi, was part of the larger Operation Sayaid (Hunter) designed to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout al Anbar province. The operation made way for the establishment of a permanent Iraqi Army security presence in the al Qaim region and set the conditions for local citizens to vote in the upcoming Dec.15 elections.

Operation Steel Curtain ushered in the first large-scale operational employment of the Iraqi Army, approximately 1,000 Soldiers, in western al Anbar province. The Iraqi Soldiers conducted detailed clearing missions alongside Coalition counterparts and began establishing permanent bases within these three cities. Forces at these outposts will prevent the al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists from regaining a presence in these cities and threatening local residents with their murder and intimidation campaign.

Integration of locally recruited Iraqi Army Soldiers in al Anbar was introduced by the arrival of the Desert Protectors. The Desert Protectors were recruited from the al Qaim region and worked alongside the Iraqi Army and U.S. units throughout the course of the operation. Their familiarity with the area and its people was crucial in identifying friend from foe and enabled their Iraqi and Coalition partners to better understand the geographical complexities of the region.

This comes on the heels of a discovery of a large cache of terrorist weapons in Baghdad by 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division the day before.

Iraqi police and military forces are increasingly asserting themselves, and so it is perhaps not surprising that their leaders are feeling confident enough to call for withdrawing coalition forces... if not exactly right now. Some folks seem surprised by this, but they shouldn't be; it has only been our plan since the beginning.

Some are also a bit taken aback by the fact that Iraqi officials have not condemned the insurgency outright. Indeed, they make the statement:

In Egypt, the final communique's attempt to define terrorism omitted any reference to attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces. Delegates from across the political and religious spectrum said the omission was intentional. They spoke anonymously, saying they feared retribution.

"Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships," the document said.

Call me cynical, but I'd interpret that as Sunnis pandering to their insurgent elements in an attempt to get their agreement for furhtering the political process, while Shia and Kurd may have agreed because it would focus Sunni insurgents on the U.S. military forces best equipped to kill them.

The Iraqi government goes forward, insurgents get killed as things wind down, and we leave Iraq with a democratically elected government.

Yeah, I can get behind that.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 23, 2005 02:29 AM | TrackBack