May 30, 2008

From the Front: 05/30/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

In their own words:
Iraq: The Purgatorium: Vultures and POGs - Here in Kuwait, there isn't a damn thing to do, and that's precisely the reason why posts have been so frequent now. One of my friends and I were out and about exploring this wasteland (after Iraq, this place really doesn't seem that bad. It just sucks, but it doesn't seem like its been marinaded in runny, sickly shit for eons). Kuwait has REAL sand, not the Iraq dust and dirt, but legitimate sand. In the movies, when you see someone walking aimlessly across the dunes, there's always vultures circling overhead, waiting for the lost traveller to grow too weak to continue, then they descend on him and pick his bones. Here, it's bootleg vendors. They've got their shops set up all over the place and they shout at you as you walk by, explaining how incredible their shitty merchandise is. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Hope for Iraq's Future - It's no longer just Iraqis who see positive signs in Iraq. UN chief Ban Ki-moon praised Iraqi progress at a UN forum in Sweden on the situation in the country. Though some will surely say UN chief Ban is as deluded as the optimistic Iraqis, he did explain that while the country is "stepping back from the abyss that we feared most," the situation "remains fragile." Still more are getting the message that Iraq is improving. Presidential candidate Barack Obama, who has been busy dismissing Iraq and the achievements of U.S. soldiers, is suddenly planning a trip to visit the U.S. troops in Iraq -- his first since his only visit in January of 2006. (READ MORE)

LT Nixon: Final Words From the Emerald City - This deployment has certainly been more interesting than the last two (albeit a lot longer). Primarily because I had access to the internet, and I worked on a staff with many senior officers, which allowed me to fly low on the radar with my relative unimportance. Although, important people frequently counted on me for various pieces of the puzzle in their decision making, and I'll miss that aspect of my existence having a purpose. I also worked with some wonderful people both civilian and military and I wish them the best in their future endeavors. Since I don't have a girlfriend, wife/kids, or any of that other bullshit, I thought it would be interesting to spend all of my free time frantically engaging in an experiment of how America was going about its business while a war went on in Iraq. The blogosphere seemed like the logical place to accomplish this. (READ MORE)

IN-iraq: Local task force trained by 1/327th infantry kicks in doors on insurgents in Adwar - The Iraqis just got their uniforms fresh out of the bag. They tried on their new boots and their Marine surplus uniforms. By the time they received their almost full AK-47 magazines, yesterday's rag tag group was transformed into something resembling a cohesive force. "This should give them the confidence that they've been trained by the best Army in the world," said Spc. Mark Mahurin, commenting they only had 60 days to mold the force. Now it was test time. Soldiers from 2nd Platoon of Charlie Co. led them out to an Iraqi Police checkpoint where they quickly integrated with the blue-uniformed police and began searching cars- basically checking for weapons and comparing male IDs with a list of wanted insurgents in the area. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Negotiations with the Taliban under way in Kohat - With peace agreements signed between the Taliban in Swat, Bajaur, and Mohmand, and talks under way in South Waziristan, the government is pushing forward with negotiations in northwestern Pakistan. The Pakistani government is currently in talks with the Taliban in the settled district of Kohat in the Northwest Frontier Province, where heavy fighting has taken place this year. Word of the negotiations was leaked by unnamed sources to The News on May 28. "The government wanted to keep the media away from details of the peace deal and also it did not want peace accord to be made public," sources told The News. But the Taliban went on record to confirm the negotiations. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
VBIED explosion wounds 12 Iraqis - TIKRIT, Iraq – A vehicle-borne improvised explosive attack wounded 12 Iraqis locals in Mosul, May 29. “Although overall attacks have decreased dramatically and AQI has no stronghold left, terrorists continue to attack civilians and Iraqi Security Forces in an attempt to maintain an influence in the area,” said Maj. Daniel J. Meyers, a spokesperson for Multi-National Division - North. (READ MORE)

First Iraqi led Master Instructor Trainer Course graduates - TAJI, Iraq – The first Iraqi taught group of 34 Iraqi Army master trainers graduated today from the Master Instructor Course at the Taji Regional Training Center. The Iraqi Army master instructors will go onto become future trainers at the Master Instructor course in Taji, or be part of a mobile training team that will travel throughout Iraq to regional training centers and provide oversight and site evaluations to instructors at those centers. (READ MORE)

AQI bombing network weakened - BAGHDAD – On Friday Coalition forces killed an al-Qaeda in Iraq weapons dealer and detained another man during an operation near Tikrit, about 160 kilometers north of Baghdad. He made threatening movements toward Coalition forces when they attempted to detain the terrorist. Perceiving hostile intent, Coalition forces engaged the terrorist, killing him. The terrorist was identified as the targeted weapons dealer, who was involved in a Tigris River Valley bombing network. Coalition forces also discovered bomb-making materials inside the building, which they safely destroyed on site. (READ MORE)

Four wanted men, six other al-Qaeda suspects detained - BAGHDAD – Iraqi and Coalition forces disrupted al-Qaeda in Iraq’s mid-level leadership Friday, detaining four wanted men and six additional suspects during operations in central and northern Iraq. Coalition forces captured two alleged al-Qaeda leaders who reportedly manage terrorist activities in Mosul. One of the wanted men is believed to coordinate attacks against Coalition forces, and the other allegedly provides falsified documents for foreign terrorists. (READ MORE)

Sons of Iraq successfully defend checkpoint from attackers - TIKRIT, Iraq – Sons of Iraq killed nine enemy insurgents today during a firefight at a checkpoint near Owja, south of Tikrit, May 29. Members of the local SoI group were attacked when a fuel truck, fabricated to hold enemy fighters, approached the checkpoint and engaged the SoI guards with small-arms fire. As the SoI returned fire, the driver of the fuel truck exited the vehicle and detonated a suicide-vest. (READ MORE)

Iraqi citizens lead IA to large cache near Samarra - SAMARRA, Iraq – Acting on a tip from local Iraqi citizens, Soldiers from the 4th Iraqi Army Division discovered a large weapons cache site near the al-Rega area of the Salah ad-Din province, May 29. The cache was buried nearly five feet underground. It contained 231, 40 mm rounds; 29, 60 mm rounds; and 14, 80 mm artillery rounds. This type of ordnance has commonly been used to manufacture improvised explosive devices. (READ MORE)

Suicide bomber kills 10, wounds 16 - MOSUL, Iraq – A suicide bomber killed eight Iraqi citizens and two Iraqi Police officers in an attack in Ninawa province, May 29. Eleven locals and five IPs were wounded in the attack. All causalities were evacuated to a local hospital for treatment. “This attack shows the enemy’s complete disregard for human life and their continued attempt to stop the citizens of Iraq from supporting their government,” said Maj. John Blankenhorn, a spokesman for the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. (READ MORE)

IA seize weapons cache, find IEDs in northern Baghdad - BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi Army soldiers discovered six improvised-explosive devices and a weapons cache in northern Baghdad May 29. Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, found six IEDs in the Sadr City district of Baghdad at approximately 8:30 a.m. Four of the IEDs were 155 mm rounds, and two were 120 mm rounds. At approximately 11:35 a.m., soldiers with the 42nd Brigade, 11th Iraqi Army Division, seized a weapons cache in the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad. (READ MORE)

Marines Assist Iraqi Police in Release - KARMA — The Karma Iraqi police station was bustling with activity. Men lined up inside the station as family members waited outside, waiting for the words that they have been waiting to hear, “You are free to go to your families.” Marines of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, assisted the Iraqi police release approximately 40 Iraqis back to their families and home, May 18. “The significance of their release is that it demonstrates that the area is very secure and that we are working with the locals to return their country back to a state of stability,” said Capt. James E. Gallagher, staff judge advocate, 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines. (READ MORE)

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