The Enemy Response
The enemy has struck back -- twice -- after nearly two weeks of being hit hard by Coalition forces.
The soldiers were killed yesterday by two separate homemade bombs that exploded while they were conducting combat operations in the city in Iraq's al-Anbar province, the military said in an e-mailed statement. The soldiers had been assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
A suicide car bomber attacked a US diplomatic convoy in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing four Americans and wounding two others, a US official said.
But his resources are limited too. His command and operational span are demonstrably finite. Iraq violence wanes; bodies found
BAGHDAD (AP) — Insurgents assassinated a Kurdish member of parliament, and police said they found 20 bodies in the Tigris River north of the capital on Sunday. But there was no major violence in Baghdad for the first time in five days.
Meanwhile, the Coalition is head-hunting, pecking away at leadership targets.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces raided two terrorist safe houses in Mosul, killing two terrorists and detaining three others Sept. 19 at 1:51 a.m. The terrorists were suspected of having senior al-Qaeda in Iraq connections in Mosul and northern Iraq.
This follows a raid on September 5 against the same Al-Qaeda type of target. Shorn of all the Arabic names, the gist of the account is that a number of senior insurgents were captured in different locations in the Mosul area.
Captured during the raid, which took place on Septmber 5, was Taha Ibrahim Yasin Becher, also known as Abu Fatima, the al-Qaida in Iraqs Emir of Mosul, and Hamed Sa'eed Ismael Mustafa, or Abu Shahed, the organizations West Mosul Emir, a multi-national force press release said today.
(Speculation alert) The enemy has probably set out to prove, in the light of the recent one-sided combat, that they can still cause US casualties. The enemy strikes do not appear to be "complex" operations which rely on the combined and coordinated application of different types of attack. In the case of the attack on the diplomatic convoy, the enemy expended a VBIED, which is pretty much their ultimate weapon, against a vehicle which did not contain any targets of a high propaganda value to them, although they must have believed the middle vehicle, which was attacked, may have contained a diplomat probably because of its location in the convoy. The deaths of these Americans are a tragedy. However, there is nothing yet in the operational pattern which suggests that the enemy is able to strike at other than targets of opportunity: they are killing whoever they can. This is pretty much consistent with the strategy of causing a political, rather than an overtly military impact on US forces.
The Coalition is pursuing a different strategy. Apart from combat operations against enemy fighters, it is attempting to roll-up the command infrastructure of the opposing force by capturing their key leaders. A "capture" is among the most complex operations of war. It is the very opposite of killing whoever you can. It means seizing specific persons ensconced deep within their most secure areas without giving them the time to resist or kill themselves, equivalent to the enemy seizing a full colonel and his staff inside brigade headquarters. (Another demonstration of a complex operation was provided by the British Army, which recovered two undercover men from a house after they had been moved there from a Basra jail.)
"Head hunting" does not of itself destroy the enemy force: that is something that must be accomplished separately. What headhunting does is reduce enemy cohesion and capability. From the scanty data available one might guess that, despite his recent losses, the enemy retains enough awareness to understand where and at what he must strike back at. He knows he must attack Americans to avoid seeming impotent and to make his mark on the Media. To the extent he retains the awareness to respond strategically, his command infrastructure is clearly intact. However, the relatively unsophisticated method of attack when compared to his previous efforts, when he would combine IEDs with mortar fire, snipers and the opportunistic selection of targets suggests that he is operationally hurt. Hurt, but not yet fatally hurt.