CENTCOM Reports 27 November 2005

The CENTCOM Newsletter is not available for this past week, however, the command routinely publishes news releases here.  Among the stories covered are:

Operation Steel Curtain concludes

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq —Iraqi Army Soldiers and Marines, Soldiers and Sailors with Regimental Combat Team —2 wrapped up Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) today near the Syrian border.  The 17—day offensive, which took place in the cities of Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi, was part of the larger Operation Sayaid (Hunter) designed to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq—led terrorists from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout al Anbar province.  The operation made way for the establishment of a permanent Iraqi Army security presence in the al Qaim region and set the conditions for local citizens to vote in the upcoming Dec.15 elections.  Ten Marines were killed in fighting during Operation Steel Curtain.  Since the operation began 139 terrorists were killed and 256 processed for detention.


Air assault mission takes down terrorist stronghold

TIKRIT, Iraq — A joint Iraqi and U.S. mission against a terrorist hideout near Bayji uncovered a large amount of money and weapons.  The operation named Old Baldy was launched Nov. 21 by Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and 'Rakkasans' from the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.  More than 30 suspected terrorists and a large cache of money, weapons and material were captured during the operation.


Water for 4000 people

Starting Nov. 23, 800 Iraqi families living in ad Diwaniyah suburbs have a connection to city water main thanks to the efforts of Multinational Division Central South Soldiers. A pipeline system has been built to provide water for the citizens.  A 12 mile long water pipeline system has been built for three housing estates in ad Diwaniyah suburbs which did not have connections to the city water main.  Because of the two month long project, about 4000 citizens will have water in their houses.


Operation Lions concludes

AR RAMADI, Iraq — Approximately 200 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 250 Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2—BCT) concluded  Operation Asad (Lions) in the Tammim area of Ar Ramadi today.  As a result of Lions, 20 suspected terrorists were detained by Iraqi Army Soldiers and 2—BCT Soldiers.  Operation Lions is the third in a series of disruption operations that aimed to capture or kill al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists in the Ramadi area and deny them the ability to influence the Iraqi people there.


Results of investigation of body burning incident

The Executive Summary of the command investigation of US forces burning Taliban bodies after combat action can be found here.  It is also important to note the differences between the official report on what is known as the Gumbad Incident, and the spin published by the Associated Press.  For example, the AP said that,

TV footage recorded Oct. 1 in a violent part of southern Afghanistan showed American soldiers setting fire to the bodies and then boasting about the act on loud speakers to taunt insurgents suspected to be hiding in a nearby village.

The official investigation, however, found that the two incidents were very much separate, although related:

While the initial media report presented the impression that the burning of enemy combatant remains and the broadcast of offensive loudspeaker messages were one action, CJTF—76 investigation revealed that the incident at Gumbad was comprised of two separate, but related actions: first, the hygienic disposal of remains subsequent to the firefight in Gumbad; and second, the broadcast of information pertaining to the burning of enemy combatant remains.

Read the entire summary and compare to contemporary major press accounts.  Essentially, the CJTF—76 investigation established that the bodies were burned because of hygiene concerns and not out of a desire to desecrate them.  In fact, once told to stop the burning, the Soldiers complied immediately.  Both incidents portrayed 'poor judgment and a lack of Afghan cultural knowledge — not Law of War violations.'  These errors in judgment, although serious, will result in administrative punishment and not prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  Nevertheless, the administrative actions will result in serious repercussions for the Soldiers involved, including General officer letters of reprimand and non—judicial punishment under Article 15.

The CENTCOM Newsletter is not available for this past week, however, the command routinely publishes news releases here.  Among the stories covered are:

Operation Steel Curtain concludes

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq —Iraqi Army Soldiers and Marines, Soldiers and Sailors with Regimental Combat Team —2 wrapped up Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) today near the Syrian border.  The 17—day offensive, which took place in the cities of Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi, was part of the larger Operation Sayaid (Hunter) designed to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq—led terrorists from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout al Anbar province.  The operation made way for the establishment of a permanent Iraqi Army security presence in the al Qaim region and set the conditions for local citizens to vote in the upcoming Dec.15 elections.  Ten Marines were killed in fighting during Operation Steel Curtain.  Since the operation began 139 terrorists were killed and 256 processed for detention.


Air assault mission takes down terrorist stronghold

TIKRIT, Iraq — A joint Iraqi and U.S. mission against a terrorist hideout near Bayji uncovered a large amount of money and weapons.  The operation named Old Baldy was launched Nov. 21 by Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and 'Rakkasans' from the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.  More than 30 suspected terrorists and a large cache of money, weapons and material were captured during the operation.


Water for 4000 people

Starting Nov. 23, 800 Iraqi families living in ad Diwaniyah suburbs have a connection to city water main thanks to the efforts of Multinational Division Central South Soldiers. A pipeline system has been built to provide water for the citizens.  A 12 mile long water pipeline system has been built for three housing estates in ad Diwaniyah suburbs which did not have connections to the city water main.  Because of the two month long project, about 4000 citizens will have water in their houses.


Operation Lions concludes

AR RAMADI, Iraq — Approximately 200 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 250 Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2—BCT) concluded  Operation Asad (Lions) in the Tammim area of Ar Ramadi today.  As a result of Lions, 20 suspected terrorists were detained by Iraqi Army Soldiers and 2—BCT Soldiers.  Operation Lions is the third in a series of disruption operations that aimed to capture or kill al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists in the Ramadi area and deny them the ability to influence the Iraqi people there.


Results of investigation of body burning incident

The Executive Summary of the command investigation of US forces burning Taliban bodies after combat action can be found here.  It is also important to note the differences between the official report on what is known as the Gumbad Incident, and the spin published by the Associated Press.  For example, the AP said that,

TV footage recorded Oct. 1 in a violent part of southern Afghanistan showed American soldiers setting fire to the bodies and then boasting about the act on loud speakers to taunt insurgents suspected to be hiding in a nearby village.

The official investigation, however, found that the two incidents were very much separate, although related:

While the initial media report presented the impression that the burning of enemy combatant remains and the broadcast of offensive loudspeaker messages were one action, CJTF—76 investigation revealed that the incident at Gumbad was comprised of two separate, but related actions: first, the hygienic disposal of remains subsequent to the firefight in Gumbad; and second, the broadcast of information pertaining to the burning of enemy combatant remains.

Read the entire summary and compare to contemporary major press accounts.  Essentially, the CJTF—76 investigation established that the bodies were burned because of hygiene concerns and not out of a desire to desecrate them.  In fact, once told to stop the burning, the Soldiers complied immediately.  Both incidents portrayed 'poor judgment and a lack of Afghan cultural knowledge — not Law of War violations.'  These errors in judgment, although serious, will result in administrative punishment and not prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  Nevertheless, the administrative actions will result in serious repercussions for the Soldiers involved, including General officer letters of reprimand and non—judicial punishment under Article 15.