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Operational Issues

BAGHDAD, IRAQ: As Operation Steel Curtain on the Syrian border comes to a close, the Coalition continues to press operations in hot areas. Ramadi, which has been the focus of numerous small scale operations over the past months, most recently Panthers and Bruins, is the focus of Operation Lions. The operation is aimed at southern Ramadi and is made up of approximately 200 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 250 Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2-BCT).

A “terrorist hideout” on Bayji Island, which lies on the Tigris river north of Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, a “previously untouched area”, is the subject of an air assault operation called Old Baldy. The mission was conducted by members of the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. Thirty terrorists and an assortment of weapons and cash were discovered. Iraqi forces took over control of the Forward Operation Base in Tikrit just yesterday.

The Christian Science Monitor discovers that there is a plan to defeat the insurgency, in what it describes as a “New Iraq strategy: Stay in hot spots”. Its close, but it is anything but new; it is a plan we reported a long time ago in The Anbar Campaign. Right now, we are in Phase 2, the process of clearing out the insurgency and al-Qaeda from their western bases and slowly introducing Iraqi troops to assume responsibility for security.

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Hello Bill, are you traveling with soldiers yet?

GW's plans for success are and always will be the focus this administration, evidenced by the words of Clifford May today. The plan for Iraq from the beginning was and still is to create a cohesive government for Iraq's future, soon to be cemented in election, less the terrorists who controlled Iraq! Other terrorists who came to fight are dying in droves for their cause.

Clifford eloquently proves the existing plan for peace in this terror war by unveiling the one absent, evidenced by the lack-of-leadership party of John Murtha. See http://www.defenddemocracy.org/in_the_media/in_the_media_show.htm?doc_id=321827&attrib_id=7374

Hey Bill:

I've been following you for several months now on Fourth Rail and never commented. What's to say? You're one of the best out there.

The new location is a marked improvement, however.

Thanks for keeping myself and others informed on what's really going on over there.

Must feel weird to attach at "Baghdad, Iraq" dateline...

Let everyone know over there this Thanksgiving how much most of us back here are behind them,

Jason at http://iraqnow.blogspot.com/ points out that it is a significant development in the abilities of the Iraqi forces that they are now participating in air assaults such as 'Old Baldy.'

Interesting tidbit from Gen Vines press conference 11/22:

[According to the Multinational Security Transition Command -Iraq As of 20 Nov 2005, 3,769 officers of the former Iraqi military have applied at the six national recruiting centers and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense had accepted 2,662 of them for return. The recruiting drive is continuing into December and the expectation is that the goals will be exceeded. The recruitment effort is for officers of the former Iraqi military in the ranks Lieutenant to Major, who were not members of the Special Republican Guards or level 4 Baathists and above. Experience and professional competence, not ethnicity, are the focus of the recruitment effort.]

Some Iraqi insurgents groups want to talk...

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/news/local/13250742.htm

Hey Bill,

I am with the 2nd Marine Division and recently just came back from Ramadi, Iraq. If you would like any info I would be glad to share.

A plan? A plan? Gosh, what a concept. Who would believe that highly trained and educated senior level officers could come up with such a thing! I'm just shocked, shocked I tell you, that the MSM have missed this.

Is there any credibility to the Debka rumor that U.S. and Syrian troops are "locked" in a battle?...

"Both sides have suffered casualties. US soldiers crossed over after Damascus was given an ultimatum Thursday, Nov. 24, to hand over a group of senior commanders belonging to Abu Musab al Zarqawi's al Qaeda force. According to US intelligence, the group had fled to Syria to escape an American attack in Mosul. Syrian border guards opened fire on the American force."

Hi CPL Ralph Fleming - first off, I must thank you and the rest of the troops for a job well done - Iraqis and other M.E. people highly appreciate your many sacrifices.

I still cannot figure out what is keeping the central gov from sending many more battalions of Iraqi Army to Ramadi and other hot spots on the Eurphrates. I understand about 7 battalions come on line per month.

Any info or speculation on this matter that can be shared?

The Generals have been saying this in press briefings for >6 months!

http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=IRAQ-TROOPS-11-25-05

I too had seen the blurb on Debka relating to the "syrian incursion". Mysteriously, it's been removed from the site now. I think it would make sense that the incursion would take place at the height of pressure being applied on Damascus related to the Mehlis Commission. I'd sure love to know why that post was made and then removed. Anyone have any further insight on this "incident"?

"WishIKnew"

The Debka blurb is still on there. Its just been moved from the banner headline...LOL

But no where else, anywhere, whether in the media (the so-called and much distained, "mainstream media"), or on the Internet (blogs or Arab news), there is no corroboration (it hasn't been mentioned by CT Blog or Kohlmann either, but that could be a function of the T-Day Holiday). I asked one of my associates who lives in Israel about it, and his response seemed to be a paraphrase of the Debka blurb.

Personally, I don't place much weight in Debka blurbs until the information is confirmed. Lots of other people, though, buy their blurbs "hook line and sinker." When I asked the question, I was hoping that someone could actually provide the "answer." I suspect we won't know for sure, for a while.