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Iraq Report: A Look at Iraq Operations

11:37 AM, Jun 29, 2007 • By BILL ROGGIO
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More details have emerged on the operations in the Thar Thar region of Anbar province. Meanwhile, operations in Baghdad and Baqubah continue to evolve, while the Iraqi and U.S. recruiting and training of local police south and west of Baghdad is showing some positive results.

The 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines [3/1] are conducting clearing operations in the Thar Thar region of Anbar province. Brigadier General Charles Gurganus, the commanding general of the Ground Combat Element, Multi-National Force-West said he expected to encounter light resistance and find weapons caches and factories during an interview earlier this week.

ra1989596056.jpgA U.S. soldier walks past women in line waiting for the
distribution of relief supplies in Baquba, June 28, 2007.
REUTERS/Helmiy al-Azawi reported that the operation in the Thar Thar region is called China Shop, and the 3/1 found three large caches on June 25 and 26. "The first cache reportedly contained more than 121 IEDs, more than half of which were already armed. The devices included "speed bump" IEDs, often placed or buried in roads ... The second find was the largest of the three. A house search uncovered a room containing a high-explosive stack nearly three feet high draped in a United Nations flag. Battalion personnel estimate the material could have been used to construct more than 80 large IEDs ... The third cache ... [contained] various small arms munitions, a rocket-propelled grenade, 10 pressure plate IEDs and other bomb making material."

The raids against al Qaeda's network are ongoing. Coalition Forces killed three al Qaeda operatives and captured 26 during operations Friday in Fallujah, Karmah, Baghdad, and Mosul.

Kinetic operations are said to be "winding down" in Baqubah, the focal point of Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Diyala province. "With almost no hostile fire reported in days, combat operations are winding down," said Drew Brown in Stars and Stripes "The focus of the effort now is to consolidate control and persuade local residents to begin cooperating with U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces."

David Kilcullen the Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser for Multinational Forces Iraq described this phase in an update on the scope of the operation at Small War Journal. "The really decisive activity will be police work, registration of the population and counterintelligence in these areas, to comb out the insurgent sleeper cells and political cells that have 'gone quiet' as we moved in, but which will try to survive through the op and emerge later," said Kilcullen. "This will take operational patience, and it will be intelligence-led, and Iraqi government-led. It will probably not make the news (the really important stuff rarely does) but it will be the truly decisive action."

In Baghdad, clearing operations have focused on the Rashid District in the west and New Baghdad (or Sadr City) in the east. In the Rashid neighborhood of Amil, U.S. forces found a cache of Iranian-made rocket parts, which included "several empty 107mm cases with the same lot numbers as those seized June 17, one rocket launcher, materials to build more than 50 launchers, 13 60mm mortar rounds, one 81mm mortar, rocket-propelled grenades, a large quantity of homemade and plastic explosives," and small arms and ammunition. Also, two weapons caches were found in mosques in Rashid. Seven insurgents were killed and 17 captured since June 27.