Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Al Qaeda's Presence In Iraq Mystifies Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is on to something big:
That the Bush administration, and specifically its military commanders, decided to begin using the term "Al Qaeda" to designate "anyone and everyone we fight against or kill in Iraq" is obvious. All of a sudden, every time one of the top military commanders describes our latest operations or quantifies how many we killed, the enemy is referred to, almost exclusively now, as "Al Qaeda."
He then goes on to complain that the media, calling out the NYTimes, "makes this claim over and over, as prominently as possible, often without the slightest questioning, qualification, or doubt."

Well, I thought it might be a good idea to do the slightest amount of questioning, qualification or doubt about Greenwald's claims, simply because, not to slice it too thin here, he's been something of a raving idiot in the past. (here, here, here)

Since Greenwald said "specifically [the Bush administration's] military commanders" were at fault, I thought CentComm would be the place to look, so I clicked on current press releases and found:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (June 23, 2007) - Coalition Forces detained three suspects during operations before dawn on Saturday in Sadr City as part of an effort to deny Iranian influence in Iraq.

Saturday, Coalition Forces working with Iraqi informants conducted an operation to capture suspected terrorists with ties to Iran. The assault force detained three suspects for questioning.

Iranian surrogates are suspected of smuggling explosively formed projectiles (EFP) and other munitions to be used against Coalition Forces and civilians in order to further destabilize Iraq and fuel sectarian violence.

"Coalition Forces are determined to counter Iranian influence in Iraq, pursuing those suspected of smuggling arms and other forms of lethal aid into Iraq. Disrupting the bombing network in Baghdad remains a high priority for us, and we will continue to target the cells' leaders and members," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson.
Hmmm. No mention of al-Qaeda there ... but given that the old Unholy Grail of Middle East terror-politics is that Iranian Shi'ia and Saudi/al-Qaeda Sunnis won't mix, we won't draw conclusions yet. Next:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (June 23, 2007) - Coalition Forces killed seven terrorists and detained 10 suspected terrorists during operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders and operatives Friday and Saturday.

Coalition Forces targeted an al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leader during a Saturday raid in Tikrit. While the ground force was securing the target building, a vehicle approached on the road at a high rate of speed. ...

Coalition Forces cleared civilians from the area and called in an air strike to destroy the vehicle, which produced secondary explosions after the strike.

Inside the building, Coalition Forces detained two suspected terrorists with alleged ties to the targeted al-Qaeda in Iraq leader.

East of Fallujah, Coalition Forces raided four buildings Saturday while looking for associates of a high-level al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist. As Coalition Forces advanced on the building, a group of armed men fired on them from a nearby patch of reeds.

Reacting to the hostile threat, the ground force called in close air support to engage the armed men. Five men armed with rifles, light machine guns and grenades were killed in the strike. ...

Based on information gained from an operation June 16, Coalition Forces targeted an area south of Baghdad Saturday and captured an alleged member of the Baghdad vehicle-borne IED network. The suspect is also believed to provide foreign fighters and weapons to the network.

Coalition Forces captured an alleged Kurdish extremist associated with attacks in northern Iraq areas during a Friday raid in Mosul. The suspect is believed to be involved in facilitating the movement of foreign fighters, as well as conducting financial and media operations for al-Qaeda in Iraq. Four other suspected terrorists were detained in nearby raids.
Well, by golly, Greenwald might be on to something -- lots of aQ here. Even the Kurdish guy had connections to the big bad Q. But wait a minute ... it's undisputed that even during Saddam Hussein's time, aQ was operating in Kurdistan.

And there was no aQ identification for the IED-maker, and there was that reference to intelligence leads that pointed to an aQ stronghold, like maybe there's really something al-Qaeda-ish going on here.

Yeah, he could be right ... but is it possible there just might be a lot of al-Qaeda in Iraq folks in, of all places, Iraq? Next:

BAGHDAD (June 23) - Iraqi Special Operations Forces conducted an early morning operation June 22 and detained a key rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi insurgent leader in Sadr City.

The key insurgent leader is allegedly responsible for coordinating and conducting kidnappings, death squad killings and improvised explosive device attacks against innocent civilians and Iraqi and Coalition Forces. He is also suspected of smuggling weapons into Iraq.

With Coalition Forces present as advisers, Iraqi Special Operations Forces detained their primary suspect without incident.

No Iraqi or Coalition Forces members were injured during the operation.
We'll, we're not stooping so low as to tag the Shi'ia militia in Sadr City aQ. That would be real proof of Greenwald's theory, but it's not there. Next:

CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers conducted three raids in northwestern Baghdad, detaining 18 suspects as well as weapons and equipment June 21.

Soldiers from the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division conducted three early morning raids, targeting terrorist cells believed responsible for improvised explosive attacks in the region.

“We continue to apply pressure to al-Qaeda and anti-Iraqi forces by capturing them and eliminating the safe havens from which these terrorists operate,” said Austin, Texas native Lt. Col. Peter Andrysiak, the deputy commander for the Ironhorse Brigade.

“The surge has allowed us to keep an increased presence in the rural area of northwest Baghdad, so we can provide improved security for the people in this region.”
The good Lt. Col. said "al-Qaeda and anti-Iraqi forces." Seems fair enough, an all-inclusive bad guy reference. Uno mas:

BAQOUBA, Iraq (June 22, 2007) - On day four of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, Task Force Lightning and Iraqi soldiers continued sweeping through Baqouba, Iraq, to root out al-Qaida in Iraq.

CF Soldiers worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Iraqi soldiers and police officers in and around the city during the operations. Coalition ground forces and air support provided critical assistance in targeting and destroying al-Qaida operatives and their safe havens.

In the Khatoon neighborhood of Baqouba, ISF and CF discovered a building suspected of being used as a torture chamber. Ground forces observed various weapons, including knives and saws, inside the building as well as blood stains throughout the building. After securing the area, the building and its contents were destroyed by an attack helicopter armed with Hellfire missiles.

Also in Khatoon, CF destroyed two houses that contained 45 water heaters filled with homemade explosives, IED making materials and computer equipment. One of the houses also contained several booby trapped freezers.

Iraqi police were conducting security operations in and around the village of Khalis when Coalition attack helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and ground forces from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, observed 15-20 armed men attempting to circumvent the IPs and infiltrate the village.

The attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaida gunmen and destroyed the vehicle they were using.

Since the beginning of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, at least 55 al-Qaida operatives have been killed, 23 have been detained, 16 weapons caches have been discovered, 28 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed and 12 booby-trapped structures have been destroyed.
Oh, where has my head been? That's right! We're now in day five of Operation Arrowhead Ripper! That's the operation that's targeting ... who is it again? ... al-Qaeda in Iraq! And doesn't this all have something to do with The Surge, and it now being at full capacity?

You betcha. I'll defer to the inimitable Jack Kelly:
The heart of the offensive is Operation Arrowhead Ripper, in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, involving some 8,000 American and 2,000 Iraqi troops.

Many members of al-Qaeda fled from Baghdad to Diyala, which borders on Iran, when the U.S. troop surge began in January. There are thought to be between 1,000 and 2,000 hard core al-Qaeda fighters in Diyala, mostly in the provincial capital of Baquba.

"They are ready for us," said former special forces soldier Michael Yon, now a freelance journalist embedded with the U.S. troops. "Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers have chiseled holes in walls so they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots - car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared."

It's no coincidence that Arrowhead Ripper began within days of the arrival in Baghdad of the fifth and final brigade of the troop surge.

"The U.S. ability to shift 10,000 coalition soldiers into a major operation outside Baghdad in the midst of a major security crackdown is the mark of significant operational flexibility," said STRATFOR, a private intelligence service. "This flexibility will allow the United States to keep pressure on the jihadists and thus impede their ability to plan complex operations."

Chiefly because of a shortage of troops, American offensives in the past have tended just to push insurgents from one part of Iraq to another. Arrowhead Ripper is different.

"The idea this time is not to chase al-Qaeda out, but to trap and kill them head on, or in ambushes, or while they sleep," Mr. Yon said.
So the Bush Administration has completed its Surge deployment and gained the operational flexibility it needs to shift tactics in Iraq, resulting in a major initiative to set al-Qaeda in Iraq back on its heels, then amputate its legs.

This is exactly what was promised by Bush and his generals, exactly what was laughed at by Greenwald and his leftist fellow travelers. Rather than take a breath, say a prayer, and write something that encourages success, Greenwald keeps up his saliva-flinging attack against the cause of liberal freedom over Islamist repression:
But now, support for the war is at an all-time low and war supporters are truly desperate to find a way to stay in Iraq. So the administration has thrown any remnants of rhetorical caution to the wind, overtly calling everyone we are fighting "Al Qaeda."
Greenwald and his followers are not ready to find enemies anywhere other than the power structure of America. Their goal of defeating the power structure requires defeat in Iraq, and they'll posit the silliest of theories, and ignore all realities, to further their efforts.

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