Battle Blog 30 August - September 5 2004

As Battle Blog goes up on the web, there has been no confirmation that Saddam's number two man, Izzat Ibrahim Al—Douri has, in fact, been captured.  The Multi—National Forces—Iraq (MNF—I) has stated that he is not under US control, but Iraqi security forces maintain there is a good chance that they have the second—most wanted man in Iraq in custody.  If this is indeed the case, it will be a huge boost for the fledgling Iraqi government.

Al—Douri was a military commander, and was deputy chairman of the Ba'athist Revolutionary Command Council.  He and his family are from the region around Tikrit, which is Saddam's birthplace.  Saddam Hussein, Taha Yassin Ramadan, and Al—Douri brought the Ba'ath Party into power in the late 60s.  In addition to 'Chemical Ali,' he was a key operational commander in the chemical attacks against Kurdish villagers near the city of Halabjah in 1988, which resulted in the deaths of 5,000 civilians.

Following Operation Iraqi Freedom, Al—Douri escaped from Baghdad, and is generally regarded by US intelligence as  involved in directing and funding Ba'athist and Islamist terrorists in his home territory of the Sunni triangle.  Keep in mind that the ruling party of Syria is also Ba'athist, and Al—Douri's capture would be a significant blow to the Syrian rat line that ends in Fallujah.

Meanwhile, Najaf and the Sadr City slum in Baghdad appear to be relatively quiet after peace deals were implemented last week.  The mainstream media, including Fox News, seem totally uninterested in one of the key stories  coming out of the second fight for Najaf.  If we don't live in Florida, we are told to sit back and relax, and watch full coverage of Hurricane Frances, while the networks ignore the revelation of who comprises the real enemy our troops are facing in battle. 

And the major press thinks GW is out of touch?

In combat action from December of last year, but just recently reported in the Army News Service, OIF troopers beat 10:1 odds in December firefight describes an incredible series of events that led to Sgt. Tommy Rieman of the 82d Airborne Division being awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.  At the time, Sgt. Rieman was part of the Long Range Surveillance Unit assigned to V Corps, which is home—stationed in Darmstadt, Germany.  During a reconnaissance patrol, Sgt. Rieman and his eight—man squad came under intense small arms and RPG fire from an enemy force estimated to be ten times that of his small unit.  This is another account that any additional narrative would just distract from the heroics of Sgt. Rieman and his men.  True heroes give credit to others, and Sgt. Rieman is no exception:

I dedicate everything I was able to do to my training,' he said. 'We reacted the way we did because we were taught so well.'  But perhaps the one thing that helped him through his ordeal the most, Rieman said, was his wife, Mary.  Even though she was thousands of miles away, she was with him on that terrible day.  'I had to get back to her.  So I just told myself, you've got to make it through this,' Rieman said.

While attention was focused on operations around Najaf, the 3d Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment was conducting a series of operations with Iraqi Special Forces in the Fallujah area.  Thundering Third conducts 'Clean Sweep' near Fallujah describes a large cordon and search operation to further isolate the city of Fallujah.  The Battle Blog does not presume to know details of friendly operations plans, but it appears that the end of the Syrian rat line in Fallujah is next for the tried and true tactic of isolate and reduce.  The concept of operations involves putting Iraqi Special Forces on point to gather intelligence from the locals.

"Our Iraqi partners were up front developing the tactical situation for their Marine counterparts," explained [Lt. Col. Willard A] Buhl. "Their ability to gain intelligence on suspected enemy caches was invaluable and continued to build trust between our two fighting organizations — I expect our capabilities to increase commensurately," Buhl added.

In Afghanistan, Rozi Khan, a regional terrorist leader, has been killed during a joint raid by the Afghan military and US Special Forces.  The operation was conducted after intelligence reports indicated there was Taliban activity in the Zabul Province.  Coalition forces engaged in an hour—long firefight and captured 22 enemy fighters without sustaining any friendly casualties.  Khan's death is significant since he,

...is allegedly responsible for numerous attacks on coalition forces, laying of mines, kidnapping of non—governmental organization and road workers, and recruiting of enemy insurgents.  Khan was found with large sums of money, including nearly $10,000 in U.S. dollars and Pakistan rupees, an AK—47 assault rifle, six magazines of ammunition and a pistol.

An Numaniyah, Iraq is home to a new military base that has been completely refurbished by the Coalition at a cost of $165 million.  A CENTCOM press release emphasizes that the base will now be home a brigade headquarters and will,

serve as the home station for three battalions of the Iraqi Intervention Force — the Iraqi army's counterinsurgency wing.

The base at An Numaniyah was originally a Yugoslavian construction project for Saddam's regime.  As part of the current project, local Iraqi citizens have been an integral part of the renovation, helping with school construction, medical assistance and water projects.  In addition to the Army units stationed at the base, an Iraqi Police Services regiment is slated to begin training in special operations in urban terrain.  There are about 2,500 currently garrisoned at the base.

Douglas Hanson is our military affairs correspondent

As Battle Blog goes up on the web, there has been no confirmation that Saddam's number two man, Izzat Ibrahim Al—Douri has, in fact, been captured.  The Multi—National Forces—Iraq (MNF—I) has stated that he is not under US control, but Iraqi security forces maintain there is a good chance that they have the second—most wanted man in Iraq in custody.  If this is indeed the case, it will be a huge boost for the fledgling Iraqi government.

Al—Douri was a military commander, and was deputy chairman of the Ba'athist Revolutionary Command Council.  He and his family are from the region around Tikrit, which is Saddam's birthplace.  Saddam Hussein, Taha Yassin Ramadan, and Al—Douri brought the Ba'ath Party into power in the late 60s.  In addition to 'Chemical Ali,' he was a key operational commander in the chemical attacks against Kurdish villagers near the city of Halabjah in 1988, which resulted in the deaths of 5,000 civilians.

Following Operation Iraqi Freedom, Al—Douri escaped from Baghdad, and is generally regarded by US intelligence as  involved in directing and funding Ba'athist and Islamist terrorists in his home territory of the Sunni triangle.  Keep in mind that the ruling party of Syria is also Ba'athist, and Al—Douri's capture would be a significant blow to the Syrian rat line that ends in Fallujah.

Meanwhile, Najaf and the Sadr City slum in Baghdad appear to be relatively quiet after peace deals were implemented last week.  The mainstream media, including Fox News, seem totally uninterested in one of the key stories  coming out of the second fight for Najaf.  If we don't live in Florida, we are told to sit back and relax, and watch full coverage of Hurricane Frances, while the networks ignore the revelation of who comprises the real enemy our troops are facing in battle. 

And the major press thinks GW is out of touch?

In combat action from December of last year, but just recently reported in the Army News Service, OIF troopers beat 10:1 odds in December firefight describes an incredible series of events that led to Sgt. Tommy Rieman of the 82d Airborne Division being awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.  At the time, Sgt. Rieman was part of the Long Range Surveillance Unit assigned to V Corps, which is home—stationed in Darmstadt, Germany.  During a reconnaissance patrol, Sgt. Rieman and his eight—man squad came under intense small arms and RPG fire from an enemy force estimated to be ten times that of his small unit.  This is another account that any additional narrative would just distract from the heroics of Sgt. Rieman and his men.  True heroes give credit to others, and Sgt. Rieman is no exception:

I dedicate everything I was able to do to my training,' he said. 'We reacted the way we did because we were taught so well.'  But perhaps the one thing that helped him through his ordeal the most, Rieman said, was his wife, Mary.  Even though she was thousands of miles away, she was with him on that terrible day.  'I had to get back to her.  So I just told myself, you've got to make it through this,' Rieman said.

While attention was focused on operations around Najaf, the 3d Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment was conducting a series of operations with Iraqi Special Forces in the Fallujah area.  Thundering Third conducts 'Clean Sweep' near Fallujah describes a large cordon and search operation to further isolate the city of Fallujah.  The Battle Blog does not presume to know details of friendly operations plans, but it appears that the end of the Syrian rat line in Fallujah is next for the tried and true tactic of isolate and reduce.  The concept of operations involves putting Iraqi Special Forces on point to gather intelligence from the locals.

"Our Iraqi partners were up front developing the tactical situation for their Marine counterparts," explained [Lt. Col. Willard A] Buhl. "Their ability to gain intelligence on suspected enemy caches was invaluable and continued to build trust between our two fighting organizations — I expect our capabilities to increase commensurately," Buhl added.

In Afghanistan, Rozi Khan, a regional terrorist leader, has been killed during a joint raid by the Afghan military and US Special Forces.  The operation was conducted after intelligence reports indicated there was Taliban activity in the Zabul Province.  Coalition forces engaged in an hour—long firefight and captured 22 enemy fighters without sustaining any friendly casualties.  Khan's death is significant since he,

...is allegedly responsible for numerous attacks on coalition forces, laying of mines, kidnapping of non—governmental organization and road workers, and recruiting of enemy insurgents.  Khan was found with large sums of money, including nearly $10,000 in U.S. dollars and Pakistan rupees, an AK—47 assault rifle, six magazines of ammunition and a pistol.

An Numaniyah, Iraq is home to a new military base that has been completely refurbished by the Coalition at a cost of $165 million.  A CENTCOM press release emphasizes that the base will now be home a brigade headquarters and will,

serve as the home station for three battalions of the Iraqi Intervention Force — the Iraqi army's counterinsurgency wing.

The base at An Numaniyah was originally a Yugoslavian construction project for Saddam's regime.  As part of the current project, local Iraqi citizens have been an integral part of the renovation, helping with school construction, medical assistance and water projects.  In addition to the Army units stationed at the base, an Iraqi Police Services regiment is slated to begin training in special operations in urban terrain.  There are about 2,500 currently garrisoned at the base.

Douglas Hanson is our military affairs correspondent