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'Insurgents' negotiating with coalition forces in Iraq? Perhaps so. But if it's true, lets not question who's negotiating from a position of power. (And don't be deceived by the wording of the Time story - if there's any negotiating going on with the insurgents it's not just the Americans, the Iraqis are in the discussion too.)
If you've been reading Mudville for any time at all you must have gotten the message: the insurgents are on the ropes. Make no mistake about it - they are capable of killing people in large numbers, but their political effectiveness is virtually nil.
As I noted here there has been some post-Iraqi election improvement in media coverage of the ongoing battles with the terrorists in Iraq. But will the trend continue? Will the American media pick up the clues and put the real story together, or will they carry on as described by Austin Bay:
Collect relatively isolated events in a chronological list and presto: the impression of uninterrupted, wide-spread violence destroying Iraq. But that was a false impression. Every day coalition forces were moving thousands of 18-wheelers from Kuwait and Turkey into Iraq, and if the ?insurgents? were lucky they blew up one. However, flash the flames of that one diesel rig on CNN and ?oh my God, America can?t stop these guys? is the impression left in Boston, Boise, and Beijing.
I noticed the same sort of appoach during my time in Iraq - media coverage of each new terrorist attack would include a "laundry list" of attacks over the previous two-week period - ignoring the fact that the coalition often had more victories on any given day than the terrorists did in any two weeks.
CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Iraq ? Iraqi and U.S. forces increased security operations in and around Ramadi and throughout the Al Anbar Province Feb. 20.
The 1st Marine Division of the I Marine Expeditionary Force and Iraqi Security Forces kicked off Operation River Blitz, which includes a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and other measures to enhance security in and around Ramadi.
?We were asked by the Iraqi government to increase our security operations in the city to locate, isolate and defeat anti-Iraqi forces and terrorists who are intent on preventing a peaceful transition of power between the Interim Iraqi Government and the Iraqi Transitional Government,? said Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commanding general, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
The security measures in and around the provincial capital are designed to ensure the safety of the populace by controlling access into the city. Access control points leading into the city will screen vehicles for terrorists and criminals as well as weapons, munitions and materials to produce improvised-explosive devices.
In conjunction with implementing the security measures in Ramadi, increased security operations also began in several cities along the Euphrates River, including the cities of Hit, Baghdadi and Hadithah.
Operation River Blitz is designed to target criminals and terrorists, who have attempted to destabilize the Al Anbar Province by terrorizing the populace through wanton acts of violence and intimidation. The 1st Marine Division of the I Marine Expeditionary Force stands committed with the Iraqi Security Forces in disrupting and defeating the anti-Iraqi forces while providing enhanced security to the people of Al Anbar Province.
Here's more bad news for insurgents:
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In the battle against insurgents here, two kinds of Iraqi military forces are emerging: the planned units and the pop-ups.
The planned units of the Iraq Army, about 57,000 soldiers strong, are the result of careful preparation this summer between the U.S. and Iraqi commanders. The pop-ups started to emerge last fall out of nowhere, catching the American military by surprise. These dozen disconnected units totaling as many as 15,000 soldiers are fast becoming one of the most significant developments in the new Iraq security situation.
The unplanned units -- commanded by friends and relatives of cabinet officers and tribal sheiks -- go by names like the Defenders of Baghdad, the Special Police Commandos, the Defenders of Khadamiya and the Amarah Brigade. The new units generally have the backing of the Iraqi government and receive government funding.
Troops who might have otherwise joined the regular Iraqi Army are drawn to these units because they are often led by a particularly inspirational commander or made up of people with similar tribal and religious backgrounds. This makes the units more cohesive and potentially effective against the insurgency. "Just show us where to go and we will eat the insurgents alive," an Iraqi in one of these units told Maj. Wales earlier this month when he tracked them down at a long-shuttered Baghdad airport.
The first of these military units, the Special Police Commandos, was formed in September by Gen. Adnan Thavit, the uncle of Iraq's interim interior minister. The unit started with about 1,000 soldiers. When Col. James Coffman, a senior aide to Gen. Petraeus, found them they were occupying a heavily damaged Republican Guard base a few miles from the U.S. embassy. "It was basically 1,000 guys at the time living in a bombed-out building with no electricity, no plumbing and no bathrooms," the colonel says.
Col. Coffman, however, was struck by the unit's arms room, which was stocked with rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, mortar tubes and lots of ammunition. "The weapons were clean and organized," he says. He immediately went on a patrol with the unit and was impressed by both Gen. Thavit and his troops. The soldiers seemed to have a discipline that many of the U.S.-trained Iraqi Army units lacked.
The 63-year-old Gen. Thavit, an intelligence officer in the old Iraqi Air Force, attended military academies in the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. In the mid-1990s he joined a small group of former officers plotting to overthrow Saddam Hussein. In 1996 their plan unraveled and Gen. Thavit was sentenced to life in Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Gen. Thavit and his second-in-command, Maj. Gen. Rashid Flayeh Mohammed, were both released by Mr. Hussein along with thousands of other political prisoners and common criminals just before the American invasion. One of Gen. Thavit's former jailers, who gave him food and cigarettes, is now a battalion commander in his new force.
On Col. Coffman's recommendation, Gen. Petraeus visited the Commandos' base and was impressed with the troops. "When I saw them and where they were living I decided this was a horse to back," the U.S. general says today. He agreed to give the fledgling unit money to fix up its base and buy vehicles, ammunition, radios and more weapons.
Meanwhile, chaos in Fallujah:
FALLUJAH, Iraq - When word went out the other day that the U.S. was looking for 250 applicants for a new Fallujah police force, the turnout was so big it nearly turned into a riot as men pushed to get to the head of the line and some fell into concertina wire.
But when it was over, the Marines were delighted.
"They saw the Iraqi traffic cops out there and nothing bad has happened to them," Marine Capt. Shannon Neller said. "That brought them out in droves."
Fallujah has been policed by 1,500 Marines and 2,700 Iraqi troops since the city was retaken - but severely damaged - in an offensive last November to destroy what had become a safe haven for militants and terrorists.
...on my way back to Baghdad from Samawa last week, some Iraqi soldiers and IP men stopped us an handed the passengers-with a nice language-a number of leaflets that urge the people to report any suspicious activities and/or elements and encourage people to report and assuring them that they don't have to fear from being tracked by the thugs.
Few miles later we were stopped by an American checkpoint and they didn't stop us for an inspection procedure, after greeting us they were glad to see that some of us speak English well, one of them said that a coalition point was attacked with mortars and so he was asking us for any information or observations about this attack.
I told them that we're only passers by and we don't know the area very well and I asked if there were any casualties but gladly the answer was "no but we want to gather information about the attackers".
And I also noticed that Iraqi soldiers on other checkpoints started friendly conversations with the people and this is a good indication; searching isn't enough alone, bridging the gaps is what really matters.
Security will not be achieved if the people do not cooperate with the authorities and I think now it's due the time for the people to take bigger role in a nation-wide action against terror.
A few days ago a coalition convoy was patrolling our district and they were stopping every other hundred meters talking to the people and distributing key chains and leaflets that carry secure phone numbers for the people to use in reporting criminal activities and this is a smart idea as key chains are always in one's hands or pocket and phones are a reliable contact route and I think using the internet and e mails for the same task is another option that can be helpful as it's untraceable and people, especially the educated segment use the internet very often and they would feel more secure comfortable that way than with the phones.
I have no estimations about how many people will provide information that way but I feel that the rate has increased after the elections. Moreover, the Iraqi media is also playing a good role in exposing criminals and there are some local channels that broadcast the confessions of arrested terrorists.
The 'insurgents' are indeed in the streets again, but they know their time is running out.
The elections got them going. They are realizing they have a stake in this. I'm glad to hear how the ING and Coalition troops are talking with people and being nice and respectful. It's good to treat people that way. They usually respond in kind.
Hey, even Hilary is jumping on the wagon, but let's save that for another time.
Maybe giving concerned, capable citizens long-distance paintball guns, to shoot and mark "insurgent/terrorists" when they take to the streets...
Citizen fades into the woodwork, professionals take over, terrorists can't hide...
Worth a thot or two...Posted by Carridine at February 22, 2005 06:42 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)