On the Offensive in Ramadi
HADITHA DAM, IRAQ: Coalition forces continue to chip away at the insurgency in Ramadi. The latest operation, Rams consists of “approximately 100 Iraqi Army Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Division and 400 Soldiers from the 2/28 Brigade Combat Team”.
Five al-Qaeda in Iraq suspects have been captured. Four IEDs and four caches have been found during the operation. According to the CENTCOM press release, “One of the caches was significant in size and contained the following items: dozens of mortar rounds, approximately 100 rocket propelled grenades and RPG launchers, approximately 150 hand grenades, anti-armor missiles and rockets, a rocket launcher, dozens of small arms weapons and AK-47s, plastic explosives, bomb-making material and body armor.” These weapons, specifically the IEDs, will be unavailable to the insurgency for attacks during the election.
Rams follows six prior operations in the city directed at individual neighborhoods, which began with Mountaineers in early October, and was followed with Panthers, Bruins, Lions, Tigers, and Shank
The results of the small scale offensives in Ramadi are still in question. Attacks in the city are said to be down 60%, but there is still a robust insurgency in the city. Ramadi is the provincial capitol of Anbar province, with 400,000 residents, and there are political ramifications to an assault on the scale of Fallujah. The elections are less than two weeks away and the new government may see things differently. This isn’t an issue of the Coalition possessing combat power, but a matter of trying an alternative strategy to subdue the insurgency in the city.