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Squeeze Play

| 27 Comments

Persistent military pressure is a vital part of defeating the Iraqi insurgency. A question that occasionally emerges after a significant combat operation in Iraq is: Are there enough combat forces available to sustain persistent operations against the insurgency? While there may not be enough American forces in Iraq to effectively execute each and every operation, the responsibility of combating the insurgency is increasingly shifting to the Iraqi security forces. As the Iraqi security forces have taken a great responsibility for local security efforts, Coalition and Iraqi forces gain greater flexibility to mount offensive efforts to disrupt terrorist and insurgent strongholds.

Security operations continue in the wake of Operation Matador. In the vicinity of Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad along the Euphrates River, a joint Coalition – Iraqi operation dubbed Squeeze Play is under way. The assault force is comprised of 4 battalions of Iraqi infantry, 3 battalions of Iraqi Special Police Commandos and elements of the 10th Mountain Division’s Task Force 2-14. This is an Iraqi-heavy operation and has yielded great success on the first day. Over 285 terrorists have been detained.

In the Kerbala province (south of Baghdad, see map), a brigade of Polish and a brigade of Iraqi infantry execute Operation Peninsula and round up 184 terrorists and uncover a significant weapons cache.

Operations continue in the Mosul region, one of the insurgency’s major rat lines from Syria. In the latest news, 18 suspects have been detained. Michael Yon, who has been embedded with the 24th Infantry Regiment in Mosul, reports that the American forces are effectively shouldering the responsibility of providing security. He also states the Iraqi security forces are becoming more effective in assisting in local security operations:

The friendly forces in Iraq are also an amalgamation. In Iraq as a whole, the Coalition is comprised of soldiers from many countries. But here in Mosul, the "Coalition" is almost entirely US, charged with building the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), while simultaneously keeping the insurgents at bay until the ISF can take over. Building the ISF is part of a larger plan that will allow our people to come home, but without leaving a wounded Iraq victim to septic fundamentalism from within, or invasion from opportunistic neighbors.

Some definitions: The ISF includes the Iraqi Police (IP), Iraqi Army (IA), Iraqi National Guard (ING), Border Patrol (BP), and sundry other groups, each with their own initials. Every month the ISF becomes a greater and more proximate threat to FRE and extremists groups throughout Iraq. This is borne out in a most ironic fashion; evidence of the growing competence and capability of ISF shouts from the headlines as the Iraqi government becomes the primary focus of insurgent attacks.

Gone are the days when the FREs and extremists in Mosul chased police from their stations and ravaged entire neighborhoods at will. Today, the ISF kills and captures enemy every day in Mosul, something that seldom makes news.

In my own dispatches I rarely mention these successes, yet I see or hear about small operations every day, collecting in ever larger pools of confidence and stability. There's no time to write about each event; this would be like trying to describe every raindrop that hits the windshield while keeping up with a fast moving storm. Eventually, a competent witness must stop taking mere notes, and step back to see the storm for what it is.

The next dispatch will explain how Deuce-Four has captured nearly one-hundred insurgents in the past three weeks, and how three drugged-up foreign homicide bombers were caught last night.

The attacks on the Iraqi security forces and civilians highlight the fears of the insurgency and their perception on the current state of affairs in Iraq. The insurgents’ activities alienate them from most Iraqis, even from those who would provide their natural base of support. The terrorists and insurgents recognize this, and lash out against the Iraqi civilians in an attempt to cow them and at the Iraqi security forces in an attempt to destroy their morale.

Meanwhile, Iraqi citizens continue to dime out the “resistance”. The Iraqi security forces execute operations at the battalion and brigade level, which require greater sophistication and competence. This is part of the story the media doesn’t want to tell you about Iraq. Car bombs, assassinations and potential civil strife are much more interesting from the media's perspective, but it is a small part of the picture that reflects the desperation of the insurgents, and not their power.

27 Comments

So a desparate enemy is less of a threat? Doesn't desparation define terrorism, in many ways? What's your point, again that the "MSM" is biased? Yawn.

It seems that you are simply trying to innoculate The Faithful against bad news from Iraq, but this is of little or no value to the actual outcome there I should think.

"Are there enough combat forces available to sustain persistent operations against the insurgency?"

To date, no, as evidenced by the ability of the insurgents to build up bases like the one we just took out in Matador. That is changing with the addition of Iraqi forces. But prior to that being the case, we demonstrably have not had the force levels necessary to crush the insurgency in a systematic way. Sealing the borders would have been the first step in that, and that has still not been accomplished.

"It seems that you are simply trying to innoculate The Faithful against bad news from Iraq, but this is of little or no value to the actual outcome there I should think."

To the contrary, this campaign is a political battle of wills between the insurgents and the American people. Whoever blinks first will lose. For that reason it is critically important to be inoculated against a stream of bad news that doesnt tell the whole story. If the enemy is desperate he is losing and close to defeat, hence we must press him which requires the continued support and determination of the American people. Having an accurate picture of whats going on in Iraq is of great value.

No, Ari, I am reporting an aspect of the war in Iraq that gets very little attention. Be it media bias, poor reporting, lack of understanding of military affairs - I really don't care. But the problem of an incomplete picture being painted exists regardless of the media's reasons.

Terrorists, desparate or not, are always a threat. But the ones in Iraq sense they are losing, and in their desparation they are wrecking any chance they have at maintaining a support base. That's a story, is it not?

Mark,

No arguments here, that is the point of this post. Of course Ari would somehow try to tell you I am "trying to innoculate The Faithful" by admitting that, right?

More sinister attempts to hide the truth:

The insurgents will do what they are good at. But no one really believes that those dispensers of death can turn back the clock. Among the Sunni Arabs, there is growing recognition that the past cannot be retrieved, that it had been a big error to choose truculence and political maximalism. By a twist of fate, the one Arab country that had seemed ever marked for brutality and sorrow now stands poised on the frontier of a new political world. No Iraqis I met look to neighboring Arab lands for political inspiration: They are scorched by the terror and the insurgency, but a better political culture is tantalizingly close.

From Fouad Ajami's recent visit to Baghdad, Kirkuk, Erbil and Suleimaniyah.

There goes PD Shaw, "simply trying to innoculate The Faithful against bad news from Iraq." Seems I'm in good company.

"No, Ari, I am reporting an aspect of the war in Iraq that gets very little attention."

Seems like this op was front page news to me.

The media does a good job of reporting a particular event is occurring, but does a poor job of putting the events into context. That is what I am referring to, Dr. praktike.

They put it in context. Unfortunately that context is almost always whatever storyline they happen to want to tell at a given time. Its a major media bad habit, and bias is only part of it. Mostly it is sheer lazyness. Its much easier just to parrot whatever the NYT is saying the conventional wisdom is than to spend the energy spelling out anything different.

Sorry, I don't buy these conspiracy theories about journalists.

Here is an example of "front page news" from the NY Times:

Insurgent Attacks in Iraq Kill at Least 11 and Wound Over 100

Six paragraphs into the article which obviously focuses on car bombings, the NY Times then devotes two paragraphs to the Abu Ghraib offensive, without mentioning others being executed or offerring any real insight into the operations. I'm really impressed, praktike.

Okay, so they don't report it the way you would prefer, which is that the Times articles read like this.

That also tells me very little in the progression of military operations and their importance, Dr. praktike.

Like I said, the NY Times and others wants to talk carbombs, and I disagree this is the main story coming from Iraq.

Woudl you prefer I write about what you prefer to read? No doubt the NY Times already writes about that.

You can write about whatever you want, and as a matter of fact I enjoyed this post and your perspective. I think it's important to read a wide variety of sources.

And I also read the NY Times and other various news sources whose editorial slants I do not agree with (my news sources at the 4th rail will show you this, the large majority of them are no doubt classified as 'liberal' by many conservatives). I think these newspapers contain valuable information that is overshaddowed by some poor and often conflicting editorial biases, a basic lack of understanding of military affairs, and as Mark stated, laziness.

"Sorry, I don't buy these conspiracy theories about journalists."

No conspiracy. Its like Goldberg said, nobody sits around their newsrooms discussing how to 'get' George Bush. Otoh, when your choice is to write a story about how much the Iraqis in Basra appreciate their new sewers, or instead about the latest carbomb that kills 3, its pretty obvious which one gets told and that has nothing to do with bias. 90%+ of human beings follow the path of least resistance in their jobs. Bias exists of course, and it exists with everyone. There is no neutrality and it affects the way the job gets done. Thats fine, the problem develops when there is no intellectual diversity to offset and mitigate the biases, and that is why the MSM has gone so out of wack. If no-one in your newsroom has any military background, you're gonna flub military stories, for instance. If you have zero republicans you're gonna see Bush through a certain set of assumptions. That should be pretty obvious, especially from the party that champions affirmative action based on that exact logic.

ITM has a good round-up of operation squeeze play. Of particular note is the first reported instance, that I'm aware of, of successful counter-intelligence penetration of the indigenous terrorist cells by the Iraqi army.

Bias exists of course, and it exists with everyone. There is no neutrality and it affects the way the job gets done. Thats fine, the problem develops when there is no intellectual diversity to offset and mitigate the biases, and that is why the MSM has gone so out of wack. If no-one in your newsroom has any military background, you're gonna flub military stories, for instance. If you have zero republicans you're gonna see Bush through a certain set of assumptions. That should be pretty obvious, especially from the party that champions affirmative action based on that exact logic.

But still, I wonder why there isn't a liberal (in the universal sense, not the strictly partisan sense) bias that distinguishes "us" from "them" (the totalitarians). It's partly that the don't havn't been connected in their heads, partly that there's this juicy partisan haggling going, and partly that pessimism seems to sell if for no other reason than we want to be informed of the bad news so we can adjust. But the main reason is that "they" haven't decimated New York in awhile. The Qaedists don't know how well their failures have served them.

To the contrary, this campaign is a political battle of wills between the insurgents and the American people.

Where are the Iraqi's in this? Will they name their stadions after insurgent leaders in 40 years time? (purely retorical, it isn't like the insurgents are as brutal as the Mao-Mao)

"The Qaedists don't know how well their failures have served them."

Demo has hit a nerve here. He's absolutely right, and his words contain the worst condmemnation of the MSM I have heard or read in this context. So easy to be tony and pc, smirking about bushhitler and the brave jihadists (doesn't it just make chills go up your spine?) from the security of your blue cocoon.

Praktike has the advantage of never quite opening himself up--never really saying enough to make himself vulnerable--at least not here. I know, I know you read all the sources--but surely, Praktike, you can't possibly believe that the MSM is giving either a balanced or a full picture of the state of the conflict. My acquaintences who rely on the MSM--and these are academics, classically "smart" people--are sure it is only a matter of days until the U.S. forces in Iraqi are overwhelmed and drowned by a tsunami of the chaos of civil wa, or an unstoppable assault by the jihadists--any day now, any hour, any minute, any moment, any second--they tell themselves and each other. They are positively gloating over the possibility, and this is only possible because of the intentional or unintentional (it doesn't matter which) misrepresentation of the reality on the ground by the MSM. These brilliant folks are hopelessly deceived. If a preponderance of Americans become likewise deceived our effort could be undermined and our advantage lost to a loss of will--based on nothing more than illusionary news reporting. If you really are a LAT, that cannot be a palatable outcome to you, so why grouse about Bill's sourcing in the first place?--that seems petty and parsimonious.

You really claim that they are deceived by the MSM to belief this. Can i ask you how as all the Iraq stories in the MSM have a very positive slant.

Praktike has the advantage of never quite opening himself up--never really saying enough to make himself vulnerable--at least not here.

Prak is short because he is outside the leftist group think bubble, and knows how that otherworldly garbage that passes for conversation there would sound here.

Praktike, do you juggle both realites as the postmodernist that rejects objective reality, so both realities exist at once?

I like the way Keith Thompson put it recently.

The radically relativist postmodern left typically responds that there’s no valid basis for making universally based value judgments about right and wrong, good and evil. But the deconstructionist credo that universal value judgments lack validity is itself a universal value judgment, one that smacks itself upside the head and cancels its own claim.

Yes it does, objective truth exists, and the leftist media and what they are doing has become self evident.

Newsweek

America is dead (U.S. Flag Shown in Trashcan on Cover!)

Tthe cover story shows an American flag, dirtied and tossed in a trash can, its staff snapped in two. The large white text reads, "Amerika ga shinda hi", which translates to "The day America died."

The equivalent international edition of Newsweek, the January 31 issue, featured a picture of Bush on the cover, with the caption "America Leads ...But is Anyone Following?"

Both of the above editions featured a cover-story article by Andrew Moravcsik, titled "Dream on, America". (This was translated into Japanese as "Yume no kuni Amerika ga kuchihateru toki", which is even harsher; it means, roughly, "America, the dream country, is rotting away".) According to Newsweek itself, the article described "the world's rejection of the American way of life."

It's one thing for Newsweek to actively promote the notion that America is a "dead", "rotting" country overseas. But it's quite another thing indeed to hide those efforts from its American readers. If Newsweek really thinks America is dead, and our flag belongs in the trash, why won't it tell us?

If I were to offer Newsweek a suggestion, it would be this: Any story or cover you're ashamed to run in America probably shouldn't be used in other countries, either.

Which reminds us of the butcher Arafat always getting a love hug from the left dumping crap on the Jews, who would preach "Kill the Jews" in Arabic inbetween talking about "peace" in english.

The leftist media is exposed in their anti-american pro-evil propaganda, and the left are attempting to deny this to us. it isnt working.

Newsflash, objective reality exists, all views are not equal, many are in error, self delusional, wishfull thinking, and just plain wrong.

I still have not forgotten the left and their antics during the leadup and execution of the Afgan war.

On that subject they have gone silent, well except when their frantic lustfull search for failure has them popup like wack-a-moles for morsels of bad news from there.

Transparent, utterly transparent, and the denials have gotten absurd to the extent of characture, they have become cartoons. And would be funny, if not so disgustingly loathsome.

Raymond,

Consider that praktike may also be someone with a thought-out point of view who doesn't say such things because he doesn't believe them.

I wasn't pleased about the "never really saying enough to make himself vulnerable" shot, because I thought it was cheap and unworthy. It employs (ironically) the very same tactic it claims to rail against.

Praktike's comments here have become shorter, sometimes a bit cryptic, and less informational then they once were. You can cite that, but if you do, I expect some acknoledgment that you have no real idea why this is so.

Or, you can point to a specific comment you have a problem with, and explain why.

But if you can't do either of those things, the smart (and correct) thing to do is not to raise the innuendo in the first place.

Praktike has the advantage of never quite opening himself up--never really saying enough to make himself vulnerable--*at least not here.*

I don't think this is true. umm, i do find praktike a lot more loquacious (and always enjoyable) at various other blogs, like umm, Aziz's blog, Praktike's Place and Liberals Against Terrorism. On the other hand, i've learned an awful lot from him here, especially in his discussions with Dan.

Here is my personal experience with praktike:

He'll be respectful to you in comments about a particular issue say here or at my old haunts, but will then go to liberal blogs and call you a "right wing nutjob" or such on the exact same topic.

So be it.

Heh, when ricks made the observation I knew what he meant.

And Jinn, when Bernie Goldberg tells us that the leftist bias isnt intentional is he avoiding the blunt confrontation orthagonal, is he just toneing reality down to a few memes ?

What matter is intent to leftist dysfunctionals? they are what they are, arnt they ? when the leftist mental programming has become hardwired reflexes, what need of intent ?

They are still following the program bought in by the KGB, they still hawk the communist manifesto, right down to the income tax, they still press the
communist goals for America given to us by an FBI agent who infiltrated the CPUSA and exposed the KGB direction of them, we know of the communist direction of Kerry's antiwar groups.

But we need no "conspiracy" today, nothing is hidden, they follow the commie program like worker ants, and operate as the army of our distruction with no need of any central command.

We still see things like the Oneil Kopple Interview where pro-commuist Ted acted all incredulus that we would not accept the Vietmihn slaves goverment script delivered in front of his communist minder, dispite the fact, as Oniel pointed out, Oneil was confirmed by Kerries own book on the very facts in question.

We have a littany of such stunts in the record, are we to suspend our judgment about them?

An army of independent liliputaians each taking their cut at us. Those in the media, able to make deeper cuts, ballancing their desire to attack america against the need to maintain their credibility.

Lately, with their proaganda being countered by alternate information sources,, their desire for attack is overiding their judgement on the amount of leftist lies the public will swallow, they have overeached, thats all.

The propaganda is becomming more transparent, the sheepskin has slipped off the wolf.

OK, Joe.

"Praktike's comments here have become shorter, sometimes a bit cryptic, and less informational then they once were."

Only, I wasn't here for the "then they once were," part.

I expect (or hope) comments to actually contribute something substantive to the discussion, and since I come to WOC to learn, I am a little impatient with sniping--without real content and without putting a point of view on the line. That is what I think I have seen here (and elsewhere) from Praktike. If I am wrong about that I am willing to be corrected (especially by Praktike himself), but there is nothing "cheap" about the observation in itself, although perhaps it was not my place to express my frustration at someone else's blog--in this case, yours. I will acknowledge that, in that respect, my comment may have been injudicious.

Neverthelss, it is not unworthy to expect (or hope) that a commentor's "well-thought out point of view"--especially if it is from a well-informed commentor--be brought to bear candidly on the discussion. Indeed, it is worthy to comment fully and honestly and honourably from one's true point of view with openness to other points of view and a willingness even to be proven wrong. I am waiting to learn something from Praktike as you say you have, Joe, from longer, less cryptic, and more informational comments, if they are forthcoming.
Thanks.

WOC, btw, imho, is the best blog of its kind on the web.

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