Troop Scoop 7/23/2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 23 Jul 2008 08:34 AM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, warns that a timeline for the draw down of troops in Iraq would be dangerous.  Amarah continues to show signs of peace.  Baghdad Police College graduates the largest class ever.  Many high level criminals detained, and huge weapons and munition caches are being seized based on tips from Iraqis wanting to participate in reconciliation with the GoI.  As security is strengthened, displaced Iraqis are returning to their communities.
Joanna
____________________________

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

July 23, 2008
Timeline for Iraq Drawdown Would Be Dangerous, Mullen Says

By Fred W. Baker III

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Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visits with a neighborhood leader in Rashid, March 1.
Pres. Bush and Iraqi PM Maliki this week agreed to set a general “time horizon” for bringing more U.S. troops home from the war, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” but he added that to his knowledge, the agreement does not include specific dates. “I think the consequences could be very dangerous in that regard,” he said.
The admiral stressed his view that troop-strength decisions must be conditions-based, but said he wants to see more U.S. forces come home. “I think the strategic goals of having timed horizons are ones that we all seek,” he said, “because eventually we would like to see U.S. forces draw down and eventually all come home,” he said.
Though he said he worries that a “rapid” movement of U.S. forces out of Iraq could create instability, Mullen said he found during a trip there 2 weeks ago that security conditions were better than he expected they would be, and that could mean more troops can come home if the trend continues.
“If conditions continue to improve, I would look to be able to make recommendations to Pres. Bush in the fall to continue those reductions,” Mullen said.  With the return home this month of the last “surge” bde, cmdrs. will spend the next several weeks assessing post-surge conditions in Iraq, including political and economic progress, before making their recommendations concerning future troop levels.
“We’re engaged very much right now with the Iraqi people,” Mullen said. “The Iraqi leadership is starting to generate the kind of political progress that we need to make, [and] the economy is starting to move in the right direction.”
The admiral said he doesn’t know if that means more troops could be home by the end of this administration in January. Logistics and other security details would factor into that, he explained.  “There is a physical challenge with respect to moving troops around,” he said. “You just can’t do it overnight.”

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MND-B Soldiers detain known Special Groups criminal in Abu T’shir

FOB FALCON – July 21 in the Abu T’shir community of Baghdad’s Rashid district, Soldiers from the 1st BCT, 4th ID, detained the criminal leader at approx. 11:45 p.m.  He is considered to be a roadside bomb expert.

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Iraqi soldiers detain 3 suspected criminals in Haideriya

FOB KALSU – Iraqi Soldiers conducted an op in Haideriya, July 18, resulting in the detainment of 7 individuals, including 3 key suspected criminals.  The op, called Op Alfafiden, was aimed at eliminating extremists in southern Iraq in the vicinity of Haideriyah.
“This op targeted the boundary area between 2 (IA) brigades where insurgents had been exploiting that boundary,” said Col. Timothy Deady, team leader of the 8th IA MiTT. “The op showed the brigades have gained control over their main areas and are now focusing on the outlying sectors.”  During the op, CF provided air support. “The (IA) still have very limited air assets,” Deady said. “The Coalition will continue to provide aircraft, and (the IA) will keep gaining proficiency in ground ops.”
“It has happened all over the country, and this is just an example in the central Euphrates (River) area, where Gen. Othman and his division are aggressively taking the fight to the enemy,”  said Col. Thomas James, cmdr., 4th BCT, 3rd ID.

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Col.Thomas James (second from left) confers with members of the 8th IA Div. MiTT, while Iraqi cmdr. Maj. Gen. Ferhood, listens to reports.
( photo by Sgt. David Turner)

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Reconciliation efforts taking shape in Ninewa province

MOSUL – Since the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program began in early March, 287 petitioners have come forward to seek a cease-fire with CF in the Ninewa province.
“The goal of the DDR process is for petitioners to progress from a cease-fire phase to full reintegration into Iraqi society, including legitimate employment, in cooperation with the GoI,” said Cpt. Matt Rodano, reconciliation program mgr, MND-N.
The DDR process is designed for petitioners to provide info on weapons caches and insurgent activity.  “We are encouraged by the progress of the DDR, and look forward to continued participation from citizens displaying the courage to come forward,” said Maj. Gary Dangerfield, spokesman, for 3rd ACR.

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Raiders detain criminal, remove IED in Rashid

FOB FALCON –  July 20, after receiving a tip in the Hadar community, Soldiers from Troop B, 7th Sqdrn, 10th Cav Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID discovered an emplaced IED.
In the Bayaa community, Soldiers from the Scout Platoon, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 4th ID detained a criminal wanted for alleged murders and roadside bomb attacks against innocent Iraqi citizens and CF at approx. 10:30 p.m.

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Hundreds of IDPs return to Al Khwalis

TIKRIT – More than 108 internally displaced families returned to their homes in the town of Al Khwalis, July 20. The event was celebrated by a welcome ceremony and is a significant mark in the reconciliation process.
The families left the area when tensions mounted after the IA cleared the area of Al-Qaeda last year. “Today was a ceremony that represents the reconciling of differences between Sunni and Shi’a families,” said Capt. Roger Miranda, EO, 1st Bn, 19th Bde, 5th Div, MiTT.
There were more than 500 people who returned to Khwalis in the reconciliation process that had been ongoing since January.  “I am so happy today because these families are able to come back to their homes,” said Sheik Ratif Al Sa’adi, a member of the reconciliation council for Al Khwalis.
CF Soldiers support the reconciliation council for the area of Al Khwalis by assisting with security and providing recommendations about how to move forward with the process, said Capt. Keith Miller, commander, Outlaw Troop, 4th Sqdrn, 2nd Stryker Cav Regt.  With the return of the families, there is a restored trust and unity in the town and one of the benefits is that it makes it harder for anyone to come in and disrupt it. There will be less ability for AQI to seek refuge in these villages, said Miller.
“It’s good to see that they are putting their past behind them. They were together as brothers and sisters at one point, and now they are able to come back together again,” said Miller. “The more we focus on the reconciliation councils, the more this country will come back together again.”

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Heads of the displaced families are greeted by the members of the Isnod Reconciliation Council to mark the beginning of the return of the families.
( photo by Sgt. Mark Albright)

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Trucks filled with the belongings of displaced families travel into the entrance of Al Khwalis

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Iraqi Security Forces disrupt terrorist activities in northern Iraq

BALAD – Iraqi SF captured 3 suspected ISI and AQI terrorists and detained 18 others in separate ops in northern Iraq, July 18-20.
On July 20 in Mosul, IA captured a suspected ISI emir for the Jazeera region, specifically the Julayi area. Reports indicate that he was previously the ISI emir in Rabiyah before taking charge of cells in Jazeera. He is said to be part of an IED network that conducts IED and VBIED attacks in the west side of Mosul. Reports also indicate that he has perpetrated attacks against Iraqi Security and CF, and is involved in foreign fighter and weapons facilitation.
In Hawijah, approx. 75 km north of Baghdad, the IA captured a suspected AQI financier and weapons smuggler. The suspect is reportedly responsible for many insurgent activities in the area, including IED attacks against CF.
In Ibrat Najar, approx. 70 km west of Mosul, a Tall Afar SWAT team and Iraqi SOF detained 4 suspected ISI members in an op to disrupt AQI and ISI operations in Ninawa province.
On July 19 in Gardiglikha, approx. 100 km south of Mosul, the IA captured a suspected ISI cell leader wanted for murder. The suspect is also said to be involved with anti-Iraqi govt intimidation activities against local citizens.  IA also detained 2 other suspected ISI members during the op.
In Kareem al-Haymus, approx. 100 km northwest of Baghdad, the IA and Mandali SWAT team detained 12 armed suspected AQI fighters.  IA and SWAT were in the Nidah Tribe region conducting ops to disrupt AQI activities throughout the area when they became suspicious of a van fleeing at a high rate of speed. The suspects were tossing unidentified objects out the van windows before they stopped to hide in al-Wahda village.  ISF also confiscated a pouch containing an unknown drug. Sources indicate that the drugs may be similar to methamphetamines believed to be given to suicide bombers prior to suicide missions.
On July 18, the IA discovered a weapons cache in Garsur Village, approx. 75 km northwest of Mosul, consisting of IEDs, electronic initiating devices, and 50 pounds of home-made explosive material along with other confiscated materials, indicate foreign fighter facilitation activity throughout Ninawa province.

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New Signs of Peace Continue in Amarah

By Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret

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Brig. Gen. Nama, deputy cmdr for the 10th IA Div., shows Brig. Gen. Jeffery Buchanan, Camp Sparrowhawk during Buchanan’s visit, July 19.
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret

BAGHDAD — During a visit to the area July 19, Brig. Gen. Jeffery Buchanan, deputy comm. gen. for ops for MND – Center, met with Brig. Gen. Nama, dep. comm. for the 10th IA Div, to discuss ops and the future well-being of Maysan Province.
In the 4 weeks since Op First Signs of Peace began in Maysan Province, the Iraqi SF are successfully maintaining just that – peace.
During their month-long presence in al-Amarah, bns from the 10th IA Div. have not seen a single gunfight, not one IED attack, nor received any indirect fire. They continue searching for caches and criminals in the area with support from the 4th BCT, 1st Cav Div.
“The most important thing out here is to cut off or interdict the flow of munitions that flow in from Iran up to Baghdad. With the ISF we can do that pretty well,” said Lt. Col. Edward Bohnemann, cmdr. of the 2nd Bn, 7th Cav Regt, 4th BCT.
Buchanan wants to help the 10th IA Div. by improving senior leadership who can mentor, teach and support their fighting forces. He also discussed bringing MiTT down to Camp Sparrowhawk to train with Jabbar’s men.
Ops in al-Amarah began June 19.  In a matter of days, IA and IP detained approx. 200 criminals and collected more than 220 weapon caches.  ISF found the caches in homes, businesses and public areas throughout the city of Amarah, containing 2,262 mortar rounds, 1,034 mines, 971 artillery rounds, 749 rocket-propelled grenades, 598 rockets, 259 missile launchers, 176 IEDs, 259 grenades, 43 DSHKA barrels, 141 EFPs and 22 missiles.  All of this without a single shot fired.
The GoI offered Shiite extremists and local citizens an amnesty period prior to the op. Citizens who turned over weapon caches to ISF would not be arrested. The GoI also gave extremist forces the option to turn themselves in peacefully. Military leaders visited with Tribal Sheikhs of the area and encouraged them to enforce tribal laws that would maintain peace.
Throughout the op, ISF took the initiative in planning and executing the mission. Now, 6 bns under the 10th IA Div. maintain stability in Maysan by manning checkpoints, performing ground recon and conducting other security measures.

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Baghdad Police College Graduates Largest Class Ever of 1,698

BAGHDAD — 1,698 officers, the largest class ever, graduated from the Ministry of Interior’s Baghdad Police College, July 20, and took the loyalty oath to uphold the rule of law and protect the citizens of Iraq.
The new course is known as the 1st Qualification Course.  PM Maliki spoke of this initiative during Basrah ops as a means to promote both reconciliation and new jobs for former govt employees and other recruits who met the qualifications.  To become lieutenants in the police force, the graduates must complete the retraining and certification in the 4-month course.   Most were college graduates.
“You will share with your police brothers the challenges to defeat terrorists and continue to reduce crimes in every province in Iraq,” Minister of Interior Bulani told the large group of graduates.  “Your work will give the citizens hope and security in a free and democratic Iraq.  Keep your loyalty to your country and carry out your responsibilities with honor.  You will keep Iraq free and keep liberty for the people.  Your duty always is to defend Iraq and the people of Iraq.”
The 4-month course included instruction in English, the new Penal Law, police ops, criminal investigations, administrative duties, forensics, human rights and anti-terrorism.

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Sit Down

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Staff Sgt. Esteban Vazquez, of the 101st Abn Div, 1st Bn, 187 Inf Regt, sits next to a local national while maintaining a nearby securiy checkpoint in Al Sadr Yusifiyah, on July 12.
Photo by Spc Richard Del Vecchio

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