Monday, June 13, 2005

Chrenkoff reports: Good News from Iraq, Part 29

When Arthur Chrenkoff did his first "Good News from Iraq", I am confident he never expected it to become 1) the definitive reference in the blogosphere on the goings-on in Iraq or, sadly, 2) a series of posts necessitated by a media that virtually ignores any positive news coming from the region. I'm glad we've got him. Today, he posts his 29th such post and, as ever, there's a lot here you'll never hear from the MSM.

::::::::"You can't fix in six months what it took 35 years to destroy." These words, spoken by Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraq's first democratically elected Prime Minister in half a century, should be inscribed in three-foot tall characters as a preface to all the reporting from Iraq. Sadly, the underlying reality all too often seems to escape many reporters caught in the excitement of "now".

In an opinion piece in "Christian Science Monitor", A. Heather Coyne concurs with the gradualist view:

Having spent the past two years in Iraq, first as an Army officer and now as the head of the Iraq office of the Washington-based US Institute of Peace, I am struck by the determination and steadiness of Iraqis as they struggle to build a stable, democratic country, and by the continuing, firm commitment of Iraqis to participate in - and manage - that process.

In spite of a constant threat from the various insurgencies over the past year, Iraqi government agencies, political parties, and civil society organizations have gradually expanded their capabilities and activities. They will tell you how much more they could have done had they not been constrained by security threats or - almost as important - the lack of reliable infrastructure, but what they have accomplished already is admirable, as is their unflagging determination in the face of these threats and constraints.

There is a phrase I hear in almost every conversation with Iraqis that captures the mood of this process: hutwa bi hutwa, or "step by step."

Can you imagine a person who, while watching the young learning to run the hurdles in track, chattered on endlessly and only took pictures when one of the new atheletes tripped and fell while never - never - snapping shots or announcing when they succeeded? How long do you think those youths would keep their enthusiasm for the activity? How easy would it be for them to just quit and walk away from it? This is what we have in the MSM these days. Every bombing, every shooting, any suggested impropriety by an American is loudly and proudly displayed as widely as they can muster. An American watching this endless parade of negativity could be forgiven for believing that our troops are being assailed with every step and that the Iraqis are just standing away from them to avoid any contact. At the end of Chrenkoff's report is an amazing list of the kinds of successes Coalition troops are achieving and that you never hear of. Have a look at this:

::::::::"On May 17 in eastern Baghdad, Iraqi citizens tipped off local police to a terrorist bomb threat for the second time in two days. The civilians noticed a suspicious vehicle parked near a neighborhood mosque and then alerted an Iraqi army unit. Iraqi soldiers arrived and cleared the area. The bomb exploded, causing no injuries or damage";

The same day, in the Salman Pak neighborhood of Bahdad, "Iraqi citizens flagged down an Iraqi Army patrol in central Baghdad and handed over four hand grenades and 14 mortar charges they said they found while working in the area";

And again, on the same day in the same neighborhood, another tip from a local led to the seizure of a weapons cache consisting of 1,500 pounds of ammunition and explosives, and including "more than 250 mortar rounds, seven rockets, one rocket warhead, 40 anti-tank mines and 47 rocket-propelled grenade rounds [as well as] three missiles, detonation cord and numerous primers, detonators, grenades and bomb-making materials." "This is the largest cache I have seen here," says said Staff Sgt. Brandon Gold, C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, senior scout;

On May 22, "an Iraqi citizen told Iraqi Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division about two people suspected of planning and carrying out a car-bomb attack near a military base in central Baghdad. An Iraqi patrol went to the site, cordoned off the area and detained two suspects... Another Iraqi citizen’s tip helped Task Force Baghdad Soldiers find 14 mortar rounds in east Baghdad";

On May 27, a patrol by Task Force Baghdad soldiers "reportedly received a tip from an Iraqi, who directed the soldiers to a plastic bag on top of a barrier. The bag contained a 130 mm round. Officials said the informant told the soldiers the name of the individual who placed the round and where that individual lives";

Also on May 27, "soldiers from 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry Regiment, 155th Brigade Combat Team, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), captured a man who was waiting to detonate an improvised explosive device near the Al-Shahaba Mosque in Jarf As Sakhr, Iraq. An informant notified U.S. Soldiers of a man acting in a suspicious manner. When the Soldiers arrived on scene, they observed him squatting on the side of the road. He fled on foot and was wounded when Soldiers fired at him";

Acting on a tip-off, Iraqi police uncovered a large weapons cache on a farm in the al-Dora district outside Baghdad on March 28;

"A suspected weapons smuggler led Task Force Liberty Soldiers to a pair of cache sites near Tuz on May 28. Soldiers from the 278th Regimental Combat recovered 75 60mm mortar rounds, two 81mm mortar rounds, two mortar tubes, one rocket-propelled grenade launcher, 17 RPG rounds and five anti-tank mines at the two sites";

On May 28, in the east Baghdad a tip from a local who saw a terrorist place a roadside bomb alerted a Task Force Baghdad patrol, which defused the explosive;

"An Iraqi citizen's tip led Task Force Baghdad soldiers to a weapons cache in the Kanun district of east Baghdad on May 31. When the soldiers followed up on the Iraqi's tip, they found nine anti-personnel mines that appeared to be in their original packaging... In western Baghdad, another Iraqi citizen approached a patrol of Task Force Baghdad soldiers to tell them about a roadside bomb. The local national led the soldiers to a red wire running across a road";

On June 1, an Iraqi child alerted American soldiers about something sticking out of the ground, which turned out to be a mortar round; later on that day, an Iraqi civilian "walked into a police station and told the officers he'd seen men in a white Mazda hiding what looked like bombs near the side of a road in northwest Baghdad. The police investigated and found two artillery rounds at the location identified by the tipster"; on June 2, local residents informed Iraqi police about insurgents placing a roadside bomb on the road to New Baghdad;

On June 5, tips from Iraqi citizens led to rescue of a kidnap victim, recovery of two sacks of ammunition dumped by the insurgents in a field, and a recovery of an arms cache.

In other recent security successes:

"Pressure from Iraqi Army and Task Force Liberty units operating near Bayji has led to the surrender of wanted Iraqi terrorist Nabil Badriyah Al Nasiri, according to Capt. Hussein Ali Suleman, commander of Company C, 201st Iraqi Army Battalion. Badriyah, who is from Bayji, surrendered to the 201st Iraqi Army Battalion in Tikrit May 2. He is suspected of being a terrorist cell leader responsible for recent vehicle borne improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi police, and other terrorist activities designed to undermine stability in and around Bayji, Tikrit and Samarra";

"Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 6th Division, Iraqi Army found nearly 100 sticks of the plastic explosive C-4, false identification cards and vests and belts that would have been used for suicide attacks during a night raid in north central Baghdad May 8. Four terror suspects were detained in the raid near the town of Al Waziriah, including a man suspected of designing and manufacturing improvised explosive devices";

The arrest by Iraqi police on May 16 in Kirkuk of suspects implicated in an earlier shootout;

On May 17, "Task Force Baghdad Soldiers captured 13 suspected terrorists in three early morning raids carried out in west and central Baghdad. One of the suspects was specifically targeted for possible involvement in a terror cell in central Baghdad"; the same a weapons cache has been located in the Salman Pak neighborhood;

"Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces performed cordon and search operations in Heychal Salama resulting in the detainment of 150 suspected anti-Iraq forces May 17"; 110 of these suspects were held for further questioning;

The capture in Baquba on May 17 by Iraqi security forces of Ismail Budair Ibrahim al-Obeidi, a terrorist close to the Al-Zarqawi network;

On 18 May, "Iraqi security forces have captured alleged car bombing expert Ali Saleem Yousif in Mosul. He is reported to be close to the leader of the Abu Talha terrorist network, connected to Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi. Yousif is said to have provided the car bombs used in suicide attacks on Mosul";

Joint Iraqi-American raids in Mosul on May 18 netted 10 suspects;

Two terrorists killed (including one while attempting to place a bomb) and 18 suspects detained during various raids in Baghdad on May 19; five more were killed and 10 more captured the following day;

A week-long sweep in mid-May by the Polish and the Iraqi troops in south-central Iraq resulting in 190 suspected insurgents being detained and weapons and ammunition seized (more here);

"Task Force Baghdad units nabbed 15 terror suspects during six early-morning raids conducted throughout Baghdad on May 22. One of the raids, in central Baghdad, netted two suspected terrorists and $6 million dollars in US currency";

In a massive joint American-Iraqi sweep of Abu Ghraib district in Western Baghdad, 285 suspects were detained on the first day (May 22) of Operation Squeeze Play;

The arrest by a detachments of the 1st police division in Al Basra province of an organized gang specializing in murder and looting cars in the border region of Safwan;

"Security forces arrested an insurgent leader, Mohammed Daham Abid Hamadi, in a raid carried out in Baghdad on May 23. A government statement said Hamadi was an Islamic extremist who runs a group called the Lewa al-Numan - the Numan Regiment- in the town of Ramadi. The group is said to be responsible for attacks on civilians and the security forces, and Hamadi himself accused of killings and of a series of kidnappings of officials and businessmen, with the aim of collecting ransom money to fund his own group and also to provide other insurgent organisations with funds and weapons";

The arrest on May 24 in Baquba of Al Zarqawi's secretary, Ali Agha Omar;

The new offensive commenced on May 10 in western Iraq by 1,000 American troops; "The American troops killed at least 10 suspected militants in Haditha, a Euphrates River city of 90,000 people one of whom told the Marines that insurgents had recently killed her husband. Speaking inside her home through a military interpreter, the woman moved her finger across her throat as she begged that her name not be used, indicating she could be killed for talking to U.S. forces. She later helped cook a breakfast of eggs and bread for the handful of Iraqi soldiers helping guard the street". As the operation progressed, the troops killed 14 insurgents and captured 30 others, found four machine guns in a local school, located numerous arms caches, precision-bombed a terrorist safe house and released an Iraqi man kidnapped and tortured by foreign fighters. More on the operation here.

The discovery by the Iraqi security forces of the biggest car bomb factory yet, with enough materials to construct 70 car bombs;

On May 27, on six occasions Task Force Baghdad soldiers located and defused roadside bombs;

"Task Force Baghdad Soldiers captured 15 terror suspects in three early-morning raids conducted throughout the capital May 28";

Eight suspects arrested and a terrorist hideout destroyed when a weapons cache exploded during a shootout with American troops near Husaybah on May 31;

"The Iraqi police, supported by army officers, raided the al-Kubeisi Sunni mosque in Baghdad on Wednesday [1 June]... Inside the mosque, the security forces are reported to have found large quantities of arms and money, belonging to militants killed by the police two days earlier. The blitz was carried out after a group of militants opened fire on a police station from the mosque. The insurgents are said to have used the mosque's minaret as a post for their snipers to fire on the officers from the police station in front of the place of worship";

300 Hawn mortar shells, regularly used by insurgents, found in Karbala on 1 June by the Iraqi police;

17 alleged terrorists arrested by the police in raids in al-Radwaniya, al-Latifiya and al-Muhawi, outside Baghdad on 2 June;

The arrest in Mosul on June 4 of suspected Al Zarqawi deputy Mullah Mahdi and five other suspected terrorists, Mahdi's brother, three other Iraqis and a Syrian; on the following day, the police arrested the key aide and financier to the chief of Al Zarqawi's cell in Mosul, Mutlaq Mahmoud Mutlaq Abdullah, also known as Abu Raad;

The discovery of the largest underground network of insurgent bunkers in an old rock quarry north of the town of Karma, Anbar province; the complex was uncovered during search for weapons caches, 50 of which have been discovered over the three days of operations;

On June 2, "Iraqi soldiers and coalition forces captured 29 terror suspects, including three targeted for their involvement in terror cells, during a series of recent raids throughout Baghdad. Weapons, passports and bomb-making materials were also seized. The largest of the raids took place in the Karb De Gla district in southern Baghdad, and netted 18 suspects, including two of the three targeted terrorists, as well as Iraqi military uniforms and bomb-making materials";

59 suspects arrested by the Iraqi and American forces during Operations Woodstock/Uhaser Sunday conducted on June 5 in the northern Babil province, south of Baghdad;

The same day in the capital, American troops of Task Force Baghdad have arrested three insurgents after a shootout with police, recovered guns from a car, and disarmed six roadside bombs before they could detonate;

20 suspects arrested in a joint American-Iraqi operation in Tal Afar on 6 June; "U-S and Iraqi military commanders met with nearly 80 local tribal elders in the area yesterday. They agreed to work together to end violence and rebuild the city's police and local government services"; you can read more about the operation here.

Check out Arthur's site for the links and much, much more. This is the balance side you need to hear about along with what the MSM is pushing at you. Be informed.