June 19, 2007

Major Surge Op Underway in Diyala

Up to 10,000 U.S. Troops have mounted an air and ground assault in Baquba:

Up to 10,000 U.S. soldiers backed by armored vehicles and helicopter gunships fought their way into an al Qaeda haven in Iraq on Tuesday, killing at least 22 extremist fighters, the military said.

Operation Arrowhead Ripper, involving Strykers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, was aimed at dismantling al Qaeda operations around Baquba, a hotbed of unrest north of Baghdad, a military statement said.

Baquba is the capital of Diyala province, a mixed region located north and east of Baghdad and bordering Iran. Military officials believe some al Qaeda in Iraq elements have recently migrated from Baghdad and Anbar province to Diyala.

The 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division kicked off the operation "with a quick-strike nighttime air assault earlier today," the military said Tuesday.

Ground troops joined the attack helicopters in engaging the militants, 22 of whom were killed by daylight, the military said.

Michael Yon is on the ground with U.S. forces, and writes via email:

We just attacked Baqubah (or let's say it's just begun) and I am here. Very, very busy. US forces appear to be meeting objectives so far. There is fighting and casualties on both sides, but mostly I am seeing order so far.

He posts about the opening stages of the operation in Diyala on his latest dispatch:

The doctor has made a decision: Al Qaeda must be excised. That means a large scale attack, and what appears to be the most widespread combat operations since the end of the ground war are now unfolding. A small part of that larger battle will be the Battle for Baquba. For those involved, it will be a very large battle, but in context, it will be only one of numerous similar battles now unfolding. Just as this sentence was written, we began dropping bombs south of Baghdad and our troops are in contact.

Northeast of Baghdad, innocent civilians are being asked to leave Baquba. More than 1,000 AQI fighters are there, with perhaps another thousand adjuncts. Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004. They are ready for us. Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipersóreal snipersóhave chiseled holes in walls so that they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots. They will shoot for our faces and necks. Car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.

The enemy will try to herd us into their traps, and likely many of us will be killed before it ends. Already, they have been blowing up bridges, apparently to restrict our movements. Entire buildings are rigged with explosives. They have rockets, mortars, and bombs hidden in places they know we are likely to cross, or places we might seek cover. They will use human shields and force people to drive bombs at us. They will use cameras and make it look like we are ravaging the city and that they are defeating us. By the time you read this, we will be inside Baquba, and we will be killing them. No secrets are spilling here.

Read that again, "Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004."

The "Mahogany Ridge" media is tied up in the latest suicide bombing in Baghdad (simply look at the title, lede, and focus of the CNN article cited above as an example), and even those who chose to feature the Baquba assault clearly don't understand the magnitude of the just-joined battle.

Once reality slowly dawns on the media that they are misunderestimating the scope and scale of the assault, steel yourself for a rush of inaccuracies as they seek to get something, anything published, much of it based upon rumor, some of it based upon outright propaganda and lies.

We saw the same during and after Fallujah, when the U.S. military was accused of using napalm on civilians. We don't even have napalm.

The ignorati claimed that white phosphorus was a "chemical weapon," or a "poison gas" and ascribed horrible wounds to it. These claims turned out to be completely untrue.

There may also once again be claims that using .50-caliber machine guns and the cannons of Bradley IFVs and helicopter gunships against terrorist personnel somehow violates the Geneva Conventions. It doesn't.

We'll be hearing and seeing much more from Diyala Province, Baquba proper, and other areas surrounding Baghdad as full-scale surge operations seek to envelop and destroy al Qaeda.

Read smart.

Update: Over at Captains Quarters Ed Morrissey adds some good analysis, and Glenn Reynolds features a longer email from Yon.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 19, 2007 08:15 AM

It might not be a bad idea to bring back the good
old Flame thrower and Napalm...

Posted by: Tincan Sailor at June 19, 2007 08:43 AM

Hey, cool. I read more of Yon's post. This part was very interesting:

Al Qaeda was never at this table and no one is planning to set a place for them now. They are mass murderers anywhere they can be: Bali, Kandahar, London, Madrid, New York and now, Iraq. This enemy is smart, resourceful and tough, and our early missteps created perfect conditions for the spread of their disease in Iraq.

Political solutions only work with people interested in a resolution where all parties can move forward. Al Qaeda is more interested in an outcome where they dominate through anachronistic anarchy. Our philosophies are so fundamentally different that fighting is inevitable. They want to go backwards and are willing to kill us to do so. We are unwilling to go backwards, and so they started killing us. Finally, we started killing back, but only seriously so after they rammed jets into our buildings, by which they hoped to cause the same chaos and collapse in America (where they failed) that they are fomenting in Iraq (where they are succeeding).

Is AQ really succeeding?

Posted by: b at June 19, 2007 08:51 AM
Is AQ really succeeding?

In some regards, unquestionably.

They now exist as a significant presence in Iraq, and as a result of their fight there, have established a certain bit of infamy/fame as a result which helps in both recruiting and funding them. They have also largely been successful in instigating and maintaining the sectarian "civil war" between Sunni and Shia. They play a significant role in keeping Iraq from being stabilized, and account for up to 90% of suicide attacks on Iraqi civilians.

But some, including myself and most embeds I've talked to, most soldiers, and some journalists, think that al Qaeda may be the proverbial "victim of their own success."

They were so good at terrorizing and murdering the Iraqi population that they've eroded their bases of support in the Sunni population severely. As a result, the same Sunni tribes that used to support AQ are now hunting them down and killing them, and are forming political parties to join a government they'd shunned before. This started in al Anbar, and is spreading to other communities like a vine. I know that a lot of support we are getting in Diyala targeting al Qaeda is coming from Iraqi civilians and even Sunni insurgents, both current and former. They don't like Americans, but Americans don't torture and kill their children.

As a result of their brutal oppression of the Iraqi people and their constant, nearly indiscriminant targeting of civilians, they have mostly worn out their welcome, something that al Qaeda's al Zawahari tried to warn AQIZ commander Abu Musab Zarqawi about in the past, but apparently wasn't able to hammer home (a U.S. bomb finished that dialogue just over a year ago, 5 miles north of Baquba).

It may be surprising to hear someone say this, and I may prove to be wrong if the situation changes radically, but I would not be surprised if the major elements of al Qaeda are finished in Iraq before America leaves, and that they will be wiped out largely because of the Iraqis themselves rejecting terrorism tied to radical Sharia.

I also suspect that as Yon states, General Petraeus, far from being out of touch as dim-bulb Harry Reid suggests, is doing much behind the scenes to help orchestrate entire tribes to defect from the insurgency into the political process, as we've seen starting to occur in al Anbar and now beginning in Diyala. As the old saying goes, there is no limit to what you might get done as long as you are willing to give others the credit.

We made a huge mess in Iraq, and one that might not be one we can turn around, but the war is not "lost" by any objective measure, and there are some encouraging developments of note recently to indicate that we may yet pull this off.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at June 19, 2007 09:32 AM

Is AQ really succeeding?

Well, with a great majority of Americans not supporting the effort, including members of Congress, AQ is winning the battle for the political will to keep going.

Through luck and our good enough efforts in Iraq, the Iraqis are getting the political will to fight AQ. One of the primary things that successful operations need is local by-in. Without the support of the locals, we are just holding back the flood with our thumbs.

I share your optimism CY. I think AQ's days can be numbered in months now.

That will still leave large problems to be solved, primarily by the Iraqis and the government which they need to shape into their government.

Posted by: Keith, Indy at June 19, 2007 10:16 AM

Al Qaeda doesn't need to succeed to win in Iraq. All they need to do is keep us from winning, anything else is a victory for them.

"You're never beaten until you admit it."
-General George S. Patton, Jr.

According to ole Blood and Guts and Harry Reid, yes, we have lost.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at June 19, 2007 11:43 AM

Git e'r dun!

No rest till vic-to-ree!!!


Posted by: karlsjr. at June 19, 2007 12:43 PM

WTF? Willie-Petes burn, not poison. Anyone near the sucker would get burned when it detonates.

And only 22 terrorists captured?

Posted by: the_velociraptor at June 20, 2007 12:08 AM


move out of the YURT, get a HAIRCUT, get a JOB, read up on the CONSTITUTION, 911, IRAQ, and militant ISLAM, stop with the sex depravety, your patchouli STINKS, toss your fairy pants SOYBURGER, toss your collectivist

then maybe we can talk,,, JERK

Posted by: Karl at June 20, 2007 01:07 AM


Whatevir you say, SURRENDER MONKEY.

You better buy yerself a PRAYER RUG cuz your gonna be praying to ALLAH after the terrirists come here and impose ISLAMIC LAW.


Posted by: karlsjr at June 20, 2007 06:55 AM


throw out your sandals, buy a razor for your common law wifes and start wearing UNDERWARE

Posted by: Karl at June 20, 2007 05:18 PM


Maybe if took that SPLIFF out of your mouth, turned off the JOPLIN, burned your BEN WAH BEADS, you'd start to take the moslims seriouslee.

Yer probaly one of them VEGANS

Posted by: karlsjr. at June 20, 2007 09:00 PM

googled the beads thing,,, wish I hadnt

oh but you know all about it

depraved HIPPY

quit using your rectum for gratification thats NOT what the LORD had in mind

Posted by: Karl at June 20, 2007 11:54 PM