Thursday, June 15, 2006

US/Iraqi Troops Root Out 864 Terrorists

I know its a long read, but its all good news.

Post-al-Zarqawi raids kill 104 insurgents
By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press WriterThu Jun 15, 12:46 PM ET

U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 104 insurgents in hundreds of raids since terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was slain last week, and the American death toll in the war in Iraq hit 2,500, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Even as the Iraqi government released a document found in al-Zarqawi's hideout that appeared to show the insurgency was weakening, new violence erupted. Gunmen shot and killed 10 Shiites in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad.

U.S. officials also identified the man claiming to have succeeded al-Zarqawi as head of the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian with ties to al-Qaida.

American and Iraqi forces have carried out 452 raids since the June 7 airstrike on al-Zarqawi, and 104 insurgents were killed in those actions, said U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell.

The nationwide raids led to the discovery of 28 significant arms caches, Caldwell said.

He said 255 of the raids were joint operations, while 143 were carried out by Iraqi forces alone. The raids also resulted in the captures of 759 "anti-Iraqi elements."


Caldwell said al-Zarqawi's successor apparently is the same person as a man identified by the nom de guerre Abu Hamza al-Muhajer who has claimed to have succeeded al-Zarqawi and vowed to avenge him in threatening Web statements in recent days.

The Afghanistan-trained Al-Masri, an explosives expert, was a key figure in the al-Qaida in Iraq network and was long responsible for facilitating the movement of foreign fighters from Syria into Baghdad, Caldwell said at a news conference.

Al-Masri has been a terrorist since 1982, "beginning with his involvement in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad," which was led by Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, Caldwell said.

Authorities said a document found in al-Zarqawi's hideout that includes a blueprint for trying to foment a war between the United States and Iran and also appears to show that the insurgency in Iraq is weakening.

The document said the insurgency was being hurt by the U.S. military's program to train Iraqi security forces, by massive arrests and seizures of weapons, by tightening the militants' financial outlets, and by creating divisions within its ranks.

"Generally speaking and despite the gloomy present situation, we find that the best solution in order to get out of this crisis is to involve the U.S. forces in waging a war against another country or any hostile groups," the document said.

"We mean specifically attempting to escalate the tension between America and Iran, and American and the Shiite in Iraq," it quoted the documents as saying, especially among moderate followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq.

The document's authenticity could not be independently verified.

National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie called it "the beginning of the end of al-Qaida in Iraq."

"Now we have the upper hand," he said at a news conference in Baghdad. "We feel that we know their locations, the names of their leaders, their whereabouts, their movements, through the documents we found during the last few days."

Baghdad was in the second day of a huge security crackdown involving 75,000 Iraqi army and police forces backed by U.S. forces. It includes a curfew extended by 4 1/2 hours — from 8:30 p.m. until dawn — a weapons ban, and the frisking of motorists at checkpoints around the capital. The government did not say how long the crackdown would last.

Operation Forward Together began Wednesday — one day after Bush visited Baghdad to reassure Iraqis of Washington's continued support and exactly a week after al-Zarqawi's death in a U.S. airstrike.

Full Article

That would make a total of 864 insurgents out of commission. Now assuming that they were all members of Al Quaeda in Iraq that would be roughly 5% of Al Qaeda in Iraq's estimated 17,000 members. Not bad for a weeks worth of work. Hopefully further intelligence was gathered from the raids. that'sats true and the raids are able to continue as a result of it this could snowball enough to crush Al Qaeda in Iraq. Either way by pressing the attack it might be enough to keep Al Qaeda in Iraq off balance. Additionally such effectiveness against one insurgent group may soften another one up for negotiations:

Iraq Amnesty Plan May Cover Attacks On U.S. Military
Leader Also Backs Talks With Resistance

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, June 15, 2006; Page A01

BAGHDAD, June 14 -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday proposed a limited amnesty to help end the Sunni Arab insurgency as part of a national reconciliation plan that Maliki said would be released within days. The plan is likely to include pardons for those who had attacked only U.S. troops, a top adviser said.

Maliki's declaration of openness to talks with some members of Sunni armed factions, and the prospect of pardons, are concessions that previous, interim governments had avoided. The statements marked the first time a leader from Iraq's governing Shiite religious parties has publicly embraced national reconciliation, welcomed dialogue with armed groups and proposed a limited amnesty.

Reconciliation could include an amnesty for those "who weren't involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood," Maliki told reporters at a Baghdad news conference. "Also, it includes talks with the armed men who opposed the political process and now want to turn back to political activity."

While I can't say that I'm overjoyed at the amnesty part I do see the logic of it. It may be the only way to get everyone to the negotiating table. Additionally the Iraqi government is not excluding former Baathists from holding government jobs or serving in the military.