Skip to comments.Iraqi, US forces keep pressure on the Mahdi Army
Posted on 07/21/2008 8:02:38 AM PDT by Tennessean4Bush
Iraqi and US troops continue to press the offensive against the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army during a series of raids throughout Iraq. Since July 18, US and Iraqi forces have killed six Mahdi Army fighters and captured 18 during operations in central Iraq. Scores more have been captured, including senior leaders, weapons smugglers, financiers, trainers, and cell leaders.
The raids have been driven by intelligence, much of it gleaned from captive Mahdi Army fighters, according to information contained in Multinational Forces Iraq press releases. Captive Mahdi Army leaders and cell members are providing US and Iraqi forces information on leaders and cells throughout central and southern Iraq.
The leadership of the Mahdi Army, which the US refers to as the Special Groups in an effort to divide and conquer the militia and entice moderate elements into the political process, has been heavily targeted this year. The Mahdi Army has received funding, training, weapons, and support for Iran's Qods Force.
Iraqi special operations capable forces are often at the forefront of these raids. On July 20, the Baghdad National Emergency Response Brigade killed six Mahdi Army fighters and captured two during a raid inside Baghdad. The main target was a distributor of "lethal weapons," likely the deadly Iranian supplied explosively formed projectiles, which can penetrate heavy armor. The Iraqi troops called in support from an AC-130 gunship after taking ground fire.
Iraqi and US forces conducted a series of raids on July 18. Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured a Special Groups operative who used his position at the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad "to purchase weapons and vehicles." Seven members of a Special Groups IED cell were detained in New Baghdad. In Basrah, two Mahdi fighters were detained, one of whom used his position as a police officer to obtain weapons and police vehicles for the Special Groups.
In Taji, US troops captured a Special Groups operative who was "supporting the insurgency in Iraq by supplying intelligence reports with the means to target US installations with rockets."
Coalition special forces also captured five Special Groups fighters while targeting a financier just northeast of Sadr City. The financier supported Mahdi Army propaganda efforts by paying for successful attacks on Iraqi and US forces.
The Mahdi Army has by and large offered very little opposition to these raids. Most of the suspects surrender without a fight. The operations against the Mahdi Army have come at a relatively low cost to US troops. During the month of July, only three US troops have been killed in Baghdad, where most of the action against the Mahdi Army takes place.
Background on the fighting with the Mahdi Army
The Iraqi security forces have stepped up operations against the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army in the southern provinces over the past several months. Operation Knights' Assault was launched against the Mahdi Army in Basrah on March 25. After six days of heavy fighting, the Mahdi Army pushed for a cease-fire. The Iraqi security forces also dealt the Mahdi Army a heavy blow in the southern provinces of Najaf, Karbala, Qasadiyah, Maysan, and Wasit.
The Iraqi security forces and the US military also confronted the Mahdi Army in Sadr City in Baghdad. After six weeks of heavy fighting, the Mahdi Army and the Iraqi government signed a cease-fire that allowed the military to enter Sadr City uncontested.
In May, the Iraqi security forces expanded operations throughout Basrah province in Az Zubayr, Al Qurnah, and Abu Al Khasib along the Iranian border. This week, an operation kicked off in Dhi Qhar province, which borders Maysan to the southeast.
The Mahdi Army suffered a significant blow during fighting against Iraqi and Coalition forces this year, according to an Iraq intelligence report. The heavy casualties suffered by the Mahdi Army have forced Muqtada al Sadr to change his tactics and disband the Mahdi Army in favor of a small, secretive fighting force.
Raids against the Mahdi Army Special Groups, from July 2-15:
July 15: Iraqi forces arrested 21 Mahdi Army fighters in Dhi Qhar province.
July 13: US troops captured a high-ranking Special Groups officer who was facilitating the transfer of vehicles with improvised explosive devices from Hurriyah and Shula and distributing weapons in and around Kadamiyah. His cell was behind attacks against Coalition forces.
July 12-13: Iraqi forces captured a financier for the Special Groups in the Qadisiyah Province and four members of an extra-judicial killing, assassination, kidnapping, and extortion cell in the Baghdad area.
July 12: Iraqi Company Special Weapons and Tactics teams captured a smuggler who also led a cell that conducted IED, small arms, mortar and rocket attacks in Hillah, and a cell leader and smuggler behind IED and EFP attacks in Wasit province.
July 12: US troops captured a Special Groups officer in eastern Baghdad who was behind kidnapping, murder, extortion, "sectarian indirect fire attacks" (rocket and mortar attacks against Sunni neighborhoods) and IED attacks.
July 10: US troops detained a "key suspect" behind mortar and rocket attacks in New Baghdad.
July 9: Coalition forces captured two Special Groups operatives in the Al Shula district of Baghdad. One of the men was a "senior member" who "received weapons and intelligence training in Iran, and acts as an agent of Iran."
July 8: US troops captured a high-ranking Special Groups officer in Zafaraniyah who led a death squad.
July 7-8: Iraqi special operations teams captured an IED cell leader in Al Kut; three members of an EFP, murder, kidnapping, torture, weapons smuggling and indirect fire cell; and a guard with the Facilities Protection Service who used his position to conduct assassinations, kidnapping, extortion and intimidation.
July 6: Iraqi Company Special Weapons and Tactics teams captured four members of Special Groups cell in Al Kut and a weapons smuggler and Special Groups criminal financier in Hillah.
July 6: Coalition special operations forces captured a senior member of the Iranian-trained Special Groups leadership in the Baghdad area who has conducted rocket attacks on Coalition and Iraqi bases, facilitated weapons from Iran, and sent cell members to Iran for training.
July 6: Iraqi soldiers detained Abbas Abdul Aal, a senior Sadrist leader, during a raid in Sadr City.
July 5: Iraqi soldiers closed the Sadrist office in the Baghdad neighborhood of Shula.
July 3: Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured a "mid-level" Special Groups leader commands a 250-man unit in Baghdad.
July 4: Iraqi troops captured seven Special Groups fighters in Amarah, including two "Iranian surrogates".
July 2: Coalition special operations forces captured two Special Groups operatives in the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad, including a weapons facilitator and trainer wanted in connection with high-profile attacks on Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces.
Obama is Mookie’s last hope.
Hope they kept a record on which one was the 12th Mahdi caught...
Good job Allah is fighting alongside the Mahdi Army, or they’d be getting totally thrashed.
This is really annoying Iran. ;-)
You bet it is. It is crippling them politically.
What I don't understand is why so many, even on this board, do not understand the implications of the victory in Iraq over al Qaeda and Iran. Both bet the farm on Iraq and lost.
So many on this board rightly have argued that if we lost in Iraq the implications for the immediate and long term future of our foreign policy and safety would be tragically enormous. However, the flip side is certainly true. You cannot have it one way and not the other.
The result of our clear, decisive victory or Iran and al Qaeda in Iraq on the Arab street is that Allah is with neither al Qaeda nor Iran's leaders. Both bet it all on Iraq. Both lost big time. The unraveling of the results of these two facts is only beginning. al Qaeda's leaders understand it, Iran's leaders understand it, the Arab street reflects it, but I wonder if anyone else is even contemplating it.
Have they vaporized Mookie yet?
Or possibly Mookie is Obama’s and the Dims’ last hope for failure in Iraq?
Keeping the pressure on this group is a really good sign.
I hope not. It might have been much harder to defeat the Mahdi army with a competent leader. Sadr, alive and tucked safely away in Iran, serves as a constant demoralizing fact to his "army" (what's left of it) and a wonderful caricature for all the shia political parties to campaign against for the fall elections.
IMHO the media is the biggest threat. No matter how successful Iraq can potentially be, it will be portrayed as a failure. What an insult to our military men and women.
I’m hoping future history books will speak objectively on honestly about this period.
The MSM are lemmings. There are virtually no reporters who want to be "the man in the arena." They have no courage to say anything that does not fit the well-established storyline. But instead of being critical, McCain needs to do something dramatic that will shatter the storyline. He needs to campaign in August from Iraq. Every media outlet in the world has someone assigned to travel with him everywhere he goes and file at least one story a day. Wouldn't it be interesting to tow their butts down the streets of Fallujah and talk about how if we had followed Obama and the dems policy of get out at all costs before the surge we will have left these people to the tender mercies of al Qaeda. And what would gas prices be like now if al Qaeda controlled Iraq's oil? And while Obama to this day insists that the surge did not work in Iraq, he is convinced that a surge in Afghanistan will now work. McCain could mock Obama out of the race from Iraq. He cannot it do it nearly as well campaigning from Florida or Ohio.
Thanks for the ping, T4B! There is a wealth of positive news in this report. Although all of this information is of significant importance, I thought the AC-130 item was interesting - to me, this shows that the Iraqi army is developing a much higher level of tactical proficiency.
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