May 13, 2008

From the Front: 05/13/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

In their own words:
LT Nixon: Vote For Obama To Alleviate Your Iraq Sins? I Ain't Buyin' It! - Michael Hatley has an Op-Ed at the Houston Chronicle entitled "America's Guilt Over Iraq" that discusses how Americans who initially supported invading Iraq should vote for Obama to wash away their evil sins. Obama may or may not have better foreign policy objectives for Iraq, because it's hard to say with the media's attention solely focused on that dickhead Jeremiah Wright and Obama wearing jeans. It's also difficult to look into the crystal ball and see what the reality on the ground will be for Iraq and what U.S. policy should be. Why do you think General Petraeus wanted that 45-day "evaluation" period later on this year? What's troubling about the Op-Ed is the tone of shamelessly spreading the "hope and change" gospel: (READ MORE)

LT Nixon: Iraq News (13 May) - The Good: While the security situation in Sadr City remains troubling, the Sahwa council has the adjacent Adhamiya district of Baghdad under control according to this recent Alive in Baghdad release. The Turkish media reports that 11 PKK rebels have been killed in clashes in southern Turkey. PKK terrorists have long used the mountainous northern part of Iraq to launch cross-border attacks into Turkey. Iraqi media reports that 142 thugs have been detained in Mosul from Operation Lion's Roar, but the Prime Minister says the operation has yet to begin. That's rather strange. (READ MORE)

Cheese's Milblog: It's been a long couple of days... - I wish I could keep it at that. We're in the middle of one of the most tragically entertaining ordeals of which I have ever been a part. We knew it would be a multiple day convoy to help deliver some supplies, but we have been more than plagued by vehicle breakdowns. Some of the cargo is being hauled by "jingle trucks" which are semi-trailers named after the metal wind chimes that the Afghan drivers hang from them to ward off bad luck. Let's just say that the jingles aren't working. Everything that can break has, and the mechanics that were sent to ride along with us are about to just give up and walk. There are plus sides to help weigh out the delays and frustrations. When we were stranded at a small outpost in the absolute center of nowhere, my squad volunteered to guard the locals and their trucks while we waited for parts. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Two al Qaeda operatives killed in Afghanistan were Saudis - New information has emerged on the two al Qaeda operatives who were recenty killed in Afghanistan's Paktia province. The NEFA Foundation has published a translation of the martyr's notice for Abu Suleiman al Otaibi and Abu Dejana al Qahtani, while a US intelligence official has provided background information on Otaibi's involvement with al Qaeda in Iraq's Islamic State of Iraq. Both Otaibi and Dejana are Saudi nationals, while Dejana is the brother of one of the four al Qaeda operatives who escaped from Bagram prison in 2005. (READ MORE)

Bill Ardolino: Patrolling the Shorja Market with the Sons of Iraq - Last Friday, soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division conducted a night patrol through Shorja Market, the most famous market in Iraq with the Al Sadria Sons of Iraq, or neighborhood watch. Vendors and shoppers pack Shorja’s streets during the day, and a vibrant nightlife continues well past dusk. The market is located in the heart of downtown Baghdad, and was the scene of some of the war’s worst spectacular bombings and sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007. Security has vastly improved in the last seven months. The positive change is credited to the “surge” of American forces, the development of the Iraqi security forces, and especially the efforts of the Sons of Iraq. (READ MORE)

Back but still writing:
Yellowhammering Afghanistan: 'Bama bound - It's official. This time tomorrow we will back in the great state of Alabama. We are scheduled to be back in Montgomery at Fort Taylor Hardin for a brief "welcome home" ceremony around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13. If you are going to be in the Montgomery area around that time or just want to make a special trip to welcome home some heroes, I know you would be welcome. The armory is located at 1600 N. Eastern Boulevard in Montgomery. We will all be thankful to be home. Many of you have asked if this blog ends now. It is my intent to continue it until I return to work at The Birmingham News in June. Part of the whole experience is the re-integration back into the "real world" so I will share those thoughts with you, along with some "leftovers" from Afghanistan I never got to post. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Operation Charge of Knights enters new phase in al Qurnah - BASRA, Iraq – Operation Sawlat al-Fursan, or Charge of the Knights, entered a new phase of operations in al Qurnah, May 13. The operation, which began March 24 in Basra, continues the process of targeting criminal elements by the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Security Forces as strongholds previously dominated by criminal militias fall. The complex combined operation has integrated elements of the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Security Force with air and ground support of Coalition forces. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers engage IED emplacers, find weapons cache - BAGHDAD – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers killed three criminals and discovered a weapons cache during nighttime operations against enemy forces in Baghdad May 12. At approximately 5:30 p.m., aerial surveillance witnessed two men initiate an improvised explosive device in northwestern Baghdad. An aerial weapons team then engaged the criminals, who were fleeing the scene on a motorcycle, with a Hellfire missile and killed them both. (READ MORE)

Raiders conduct clearing operations, net weapons cache and detainees (Baghdad) - FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Multi-National Division – Baghdad soldiers conducted clearing operations that netted a weapons cache and seven detainees, suspected of attacks on Coalition forces and Iraqi civilians, in the West Rashid district of southern Baghdad May 10-11. At approximately 5:30 p.m. May 10, in the Bayaa neighborhood, soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, detained a suspected criminal wanted for attacks against Coalition forces and the killing of innocent Iraqi citizens. (READ MORE)

ISF, MND-B finds seize substantial weapons caches across Baghdad - BAGHDAD – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers found several large weapons caches across Baghdad May 12. At approximately 10 a.m. Iraqi Army soldiers informed their Multi-National Division – Baghdad partners that they had discovered a weapons cache in east Rashid that contained several mortar rounds. The IA soldiers cordoned off the area to protect the local populace and awaited an explosive ordinance team to clear the site. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Army led to cache in Shakariya - BAGHDAD – A local citizen led Soldiers from 25th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division to a cache in Shakariya, about 24 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, May 11. The cache contained 50 rocket fuses, 5.56 and14.75 mm ammunition, one anti-tank grenade, three pressure plates, one 2.2-pound bag of homemade explosives and various trigger components. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Army helps improve education - BASRA, Iraq – Soldiers from the 33rd Brigade of the 9th Iraqi Army Division helped local schools in Basra, Iraq by delivering school supplies to children May 7. Children returned to school after Operation Charge of the Knights cleared criminal elements out of the city making the streets safer for children to travel to and from schools. (READ MORE)

Shukrega Greenhouse Project Begins - CAMP STRIKER — Local government officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Shukrega greenhouse in the Mahmudiyah area, about 25 kilometers south of Baghdad, May 10. "The project brings to the area an opportunity to prove how effective the greenhouse can be for farmers,” said Capt. Benjamin Torpy, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. (READ MORE)

Kazakhstani Troops Keep Water Flowing at COP Murray - FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Six Kazakhstani soldiers completed a transfer of operations at Combat Outpost Murray May 8 that will provide Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, with clean, drinkable water. The Kazakhstani Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU) team’s equipment pumps water directly from the Tigris River and filters it in large bladders that desalinate and distill it, reducing the risk of waterborne diseases. Their equipment has the capacity to produce 2,500 gallons of drinkable water per hour, enough to provide Soldiers with clean water for laundry and shower facilities. (READ MORE)

‘Gunfighter’ Searches the Bunkers - ANBAR PROVINCE — In the endless deserts of Iraq, the insurgency attempts to hide weapons for future use. Charlie Company, 2nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, is there to find them. Scouts and light armored vehicle crewman with Charlie Company, nicknamed ‘Gunfighter,’ searched the deep, dark corners of western Anbar province in one of the key cache areas: the old Iraqi military bunkers at H2 airfield. (READ MORE)

Commander Says al-Qaida ‘Virtually Destroyed’ in Kirkuk - WASHINGTON — Violence in Iraq’s Kirkuk province has dropped by 70 percent, and coalition and Iraqi forces have “virtually destroyed” al-Qaida in Iraq in the region, the commander of the U.S. brigade combat team in the area said May 12. Army Col. David Paschal, commander of 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, said that as security improves in the strategic northern province, changes are happening in the economy and in governance that help cement the security progress in place. (READ MORE)

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