Saturday, January 20, 2007

Reportage from Iraq

Iraqis speak to America on Hot Air. Video from Michelle Malkin's trip to Iraq. Bill Roggio describes "Patrolling with the Snake Eaters in Iraq" here and here.


Blogger wretchard said...

Bill Roggio is embedded in a unit commanded by Major Owen West, Bing's son. There are interesting anecdotes about refugee camps (Sunnis fleeing Baghdad?), the increasing intel power of the Iraqi Army, the existence of al-Qaeda redoubts and tantalizing hints about how al-Qaeda takes over the local insurgency. But the most interesting anecdote of all is the rise, fall and rise of this one unit of the Iraqi Army: the 3/3-1.

In conversations with LtCol Mohammed and Major West, they explained the history of the 3/3-1, which they both felt was important in understanding the development of the unit and its place in the fight today. The unit possessed experience and leadership in the officer corps. The officers and many of the enlisted fought against the U.S. in the Gulf War in 1991, during Operation Desert Fox in 1998, and during the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The unit was considered to be an elite fighting force, superior to Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard. “This Iraqi Army battalion has a positive, martial attitude,” said Major West.

During the 2003 invasion, the battalion dropped its weapons and faded back into the civilian population, awaiting the call to reform after the fighting was over. “The call never came,” said Major West, which he said was a critical error made by the Coalition Provisional Authority, led by Paul Bremer. The unit maintained its social network and reformed after the failure and collapse of the Iraqi National Guard in 2004. The 3rd Brigade of the 1st Iraqi Army Division was the first unit to form up under General Petreaus' order to reconstitute the Iraqi Army.

The 3/3-1 trained in Taji and fought heavy battles in Mosul during 2004, where they “learned what it was like to fight offensively,” said Major West. “We fought on both the east and west sides of the city, and the fighting was tough,” said LtCol Mohammed, “But it prepared and hardened us.” In Mosul, the 3/3-1 also established what Major West calls “a predator-prey relationship,” an aggressive, offensive mindset which is vital to control security out here in Anbar province. A passive security posture is viewed as weakness by the local population, and serves only to encourage the insurgency. The battalion conducts multiple patrols, raids and security operations on a daily basis, and conducts the intelligence gathering and planning for these missions. They work closely with the Iraqi Police in the region, and conduct joint operations. Like other Iraqi battalions, their weakness lies in their ability to sustain logistics and pay their soldiers on a regular basis.

1/20/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Roggio describes how the 3/3-1 is a mixed Sunni-Shi'a unit, without obvious sectarian divisions. One of the problems with extrapolating the future of operations in Iraq is selecting what to extrapolate. The MTT is a relatively small force with a high ratio of interpreters. "Major West's team consists of 5 Marines, 9 soldiers, and 3 interpreters, and advises the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division (3/3-1 IA) of the Iraqi Army." But obviously the security of the MTTs relies to a large extent on the immediate availability of pure combat units in the vicinity.

1/20/2007 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

"Under the current, broken judicial system for detainees – the “catch and release” program where captured suspected insurgents are judged in U.S. military courts and are let go despite solid evidence of their guilt, the release rate is high, at about 50 percent. This causes a loss in confidence among the Iraqi people and a sag in morale among U.S. and Iraq troops, as the same fighters are released to conduct more attacks and intimidate those who fingered them. The detention facilities are derisively referred to as “Muj Universities” as the insurgents network in the jails."

Fri Jan 19, 06:19:18 PM EST

1/20/2007 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger R2K said...

What about the 20 dead in one day? There a post for that?

1/21/2007 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

R2K - you left out the helicopter crash part. Are you just being silly, or a trouble-maker? Oh, right - liberal moonbats are, by definition, silly trouble-makers who parachute into a discussion, leave a non sequitar having nothing to do with anything, and then leave because they lack the facts, the maturity and the stamina to hold their own among adults.

That would be you.

1/21/2007 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Because the troopers were in a lost chopper, that makes them less dead?
To be counted in a different column?
Death by surface to air IED does not count as much as by roadside attacks?

The dead US troopers are dead, killed in Iraq. To empower the faction of Mr Maliki, Mr al-Haikim & Mr al-Sadr? The UIA.
For that those Americans died?
Or for what?

1/21/2007 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> For that those Americans died?
Or for what?

We are fighting for our self defense, not to prop up any particular Iraqi government.

As President Bush keeps asking the anti-war crowd, what is your alternative?

1/22/2007 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Iraq for the Iraqi
That's the alternative.

It is their Country, after all

Liberated from tyranny
Delivered to purpled fingered Democracy

Let them work out their problems, without overt US interference.
Same as Pakistan & Sudan.

1/22/2007 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Let them work out their problems, without overt US interference.
Same as Pakistan & Sudan.

Should that have been the approach to Afghanistan after 9/11, let them work it out theirselves instead of the US liberating it? Should we have allowed their training camps to keep churning out terrorists determined to repeat 9/11?

We have a friendly government helping us in Pakistan. There may be rebels in it, and there are still some rebellious tribes by the border, but that is far, far different from Iraq.

There will come a time to move to a Special Ops war in Iraq, but this is not it.

1/22/2007 06:57:00 AM  

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