Don't Count Iraqis Out of the Coalition

Today, over 200,000 Iraqi’s are being trained on the most technologically advanced equipment and methods of modern warfare and security.  With about 150,000 U.S. and other foreign troops, the coalition of forces to secure Iraq and build the momentum towards democracy is unprecedented.  Untold successes are an everyday occurrence in Iraq as a result of this real coalition.  I have witnessed them firsthand.

U.S. and Iraqi National Guard leaders meet daily and plan raids on confirmed insurgent targets.  The recent joint operations is the result of a partnership and training plan designed to integrate the Iraqis into their future “stand alone” mission.  On the morning of October 1st, I witnessed a cordon and search mission executed by the 5th Battalion 20th Infantry Regiment.  The mission was directed at 11 objectives that had confirmed reports of the presence of anti-Iraqi forces and Insurgents.  For the operation, the battalion was enhanced with support from attack helicopters and close air support jointly provided by the United States Air Force.  The result of the operation was the detainment of 38 anti-Iraqi insurgents, one of which was a local high value target who when captured had over $300,000 dollars in multiple foreign currency as well as several unauthorized drugs.  Prior to the operation a detailed intelligence and targeting process is performed using the results and efforts of multiple intelligence collection assets that include analysis from informants, signals technology and results of analysis from the unit’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Another recent joint operation in Mosul on October 7, 2004 foiled a roadside bomb attack and detained several insurgents responsible for the planning and attempted execution of the attack.  According to Task Force Olympia, “Soldiers from the 109th Iraqi National Guard Battalion conducted a cordon and search in Tal Afar and detained eight people wanted for planning and conducting anti-Iraqi activities. During a search of the residence, two 100-pound grain sacks filled with dynamite, four paint cans in various roadside bomb fabrication stages, three two-way radios rigged as roadside bomb initiation devices, three AK-47s and various documents and videos describing how to make bombs including car bombs were confiscated. All suspects are in custody and no injuries were reported during the search. In addition, soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment conducted a cordon and search in Mosul and detained seven people suspected of planning and conducting roadside bomb attacks against multi-national forces. All suspects are in custody undergoing questioning.”

In addition to pinpoint raid operations, I also witnessed a clearing operation executed by the 1st Squadron 14th Cavalry Regiment in Mosul.  The operation named “Operation Block Party” achieved its purpose of ridding a particular neighborhood and business district of insurgents as well as weapons and ammunition caches.  This operation which was directed at suspected locations was planned as a result of an increase and presence of multiple vehicle born improvised explosive devise (VBIED) attacks along a major logistical supply route between U.S. forward operating bases.  It appears that the VBIED is the weapon of choice due to the precision and effective fires against anti-Iraqi forces that resort to direct fire from small arms weapons and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs).

The effectiveness of Coalition forces is the result of the leadership and commitment of the U.S. and its allies, which include the people of Iraq.  Their hard work and dedication is vital to success and they deserve to be counted.