Yes, civilian casualties have hit a record high in July 2006 in Iraq. Almost 110 a day... not quite up there with Saddam's 125 per day average, but then he had time to get his killing machine in gear. And that 110/day is a 9% increase over the previous high in January... ummm... January? What, pray tell, was going on in February, March, April, May and June? Yes, you can find those and it is rhetorical, but also with a point. If there were month on month *increases* and not spikes in violence, that would be a major thing to use for analysis. Using a *spike* requires that we look at what was going on.... So lets hit some high-points from the MNF-Iraq website, you know a site that reports facts and *news*, not spin and commentary, and I will pick and choose for this, but do go on your lonesome to read more [I will be doing some bolding]:
01 JUL - Anti-Iraqi terrorists and kidnappers caught.
The suspects are alleged to be involved with the kidnapping and murders of multiple local nationals, including a local district advisory counsel member and small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade attack against Soldiers from 3rd Platoon, Troop A, 1st Sqdn., 61st Cav. June 10.02 JUL - Central Criminal Court in Iraq convicts 11 insurgents.
02 JUL - Iraqi Police and MNF kill 1 and capture 15 Anti-Iraqi Forces.
03 JUL - MNF kill 1 and detain7 al Qaeda suspects.
Upon assaulting the initial target building, one suspect fled an adjacent tent. He joined another suspected terrorist and attempted to hide in a nearby sheep herd. Coalition forces pursued them, engaging and killing one, detaining the other. Coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists in total from this tent.06 JUL - Iraqi Police and MNF detain 7 terrorists capture 3 Arms Caches
One of the detained terrorists led the Coalition Forces to two cache sites near their compound. Multiple grenades, several AK-47s, multiple sniper rifles, an RPK, additional small arms, and two vehicles used to facilitate terrorist operations were destroyed on location.
Security forces detained three additional suspects as they attempted to flee from the separate near-by target building. A fourth detainee was apprehended as he approached the target building with weapons in his hands.
The Coalition assault was targeting the same al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network responsible for killing over 65 innocent Iraqi Sunni and Shiite men, women, and children in a car bombing in Baghdad Saturday. These types of al-Qaeda attacks commonly target innocent Iraqis with the goal of destabilizing the Iraqi government as it continues its progress towards peace and prosperity.
Several women and children were present at the raid sites. None were harmed and all were returned to their homes once the troops ensured the area was secure.
Following a search of his house, one suspect was arrested by National policemen, who found two AK-47 rifles in his home. Three other suspects in the house were also detained. The policemen found a third AK-47, magazines and a sniper rifle on the roof of the house.06 JUL - Iraqi Police, Army and MNF take down VBIED factory, detain 2 suspects
Shortly thereafter, Soldiers from 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. Regt., found two 82mm mortar rounds, blasting caps, and suicide bomber propaganda at another site nearby. A second cache, containing four 82mm rounds with blasting caps, a 122mm artillery round, suicide bomber propaganda and a magazine for a Russian sniper rifle, were also found.
The third cache, found across the street from a local mosque, contained a rocket-propelled grenade, two grenade rockets, two unknown rockets, two AK-47 rifles with ammunition and various bomb-making materials. A video camera and tapes were also discovered. The tapes contained video of tortures and mortars being launched. In a pile of trash, Soldiers found four mortar rounds, a 122mm round, a base plate, four cell-phones, one rigged as a timing device and plastic explosives.
During the search of the market, the forces discovered a large cache that consisted of various bomb-making materials. Among the munitions and materials captured were 1,000 7.62mm sniper rounds, 300 7.62mm AK-47 rounds, 200 7.62mm shell casings, 3.5 pounds of explosive compound, a rocket propelled grenade, two 10-inch mortar rounds, two pipe bombs, a 75mm rocket and various other bomb-making materials and gear.06 JUL - MNF finds rocket launch tubes east of Baghdad. [rocket launch tubes? now who *else* was using those in July?]
07 JUL - Iraqi Security Forces capture regional insurgent commander in Babil Province. And additional report.
According to a Coalition Force adviser, the capture of this elusive individual is a major victory for Iraqi Security Forces serving to protect the future of Iraq .07 JUL - Iraqi Forces capture insurgent commander in Baghdad
The captured individual heads multiple insurgent cells in Baghdad whose main focus is to conduct attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces. These attacks include the use of Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, and vehicle-borne IEDs.07 JUL - Marijuana field found and destroyed.
He and his followers have kidnapped, tortured and murdered Iraqi citizens, and he is also is personally responsible for the killing two Iraqi soldiers in an attempt to improve his organization's status with higher leadership. Additionally, he is linked to a Âpunishment committeeÂ that carries out vigilante judgment on perceived enemies of his organization.
This individual is also involved in the transfer of weapons from Syria into Iraq to reportedly facilitate his efforts to splinter away from his current insurgent organization.
08 JUL - 1 terrorist killed, 2 wounded trying to place IED, weapons cache found.
09 JUL - 1-22 finds two ammo caches.
10 JUL - Suspected terrorist held by Coalition Forces, 4 detained, Baqubah.
10 JUL - CCCI convicts 11 insurgents.
10 JUL - Coalition Forces detain 3 suspected terrorists of making VBIEDs, Yusifiyah.
12 JUL - CF detain 4 suspected terrorists, Fallujah.
14 JUL - CF kill 1 terrorist, detain another, Abu Ghurayb.
The raid's targeted individual was linked to a foreign fighter facilitator who was killed along with two other terrorists June 12 during a Coalition raid northeast of Al Amiriyah. Credible intelligence also connected the targeted individual to a Saudi Arabian al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist killed in a Coalition raid near Iskandariyah June 28. This foreign fighter had extensive dealings in helping finance terrorist activities to include vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks.14 JUL - CF capture 1 terrorist.
The targeted individual is reported to be an Umar Brigade member and recruiter with control of several terrorist fighting cells. The Umar Brigade is an Al-Qaeda in Iraq created and sponsored, Iraqi insurgent group known to target Shia and specifically designed to incite sectarian violence.16 JUL - MNF capture 3 suspected terrorists, find weapons cache.
The Soldiers were conducting a search of a suspicious looking vehicle when they found a pistol.16 JUL - MNF company unearths weapons cache, detains terror suspects.
The Soldiers continued searching the vehicle and located a secret compartment containing four rocket-propelled grenade rounds, four RPG boosters, a PKC rifle, a fragmentation grenade, 400 rounds of PKC ammunition, an AK-47 rifle with two full magazines of ammunition, a 9mm pistol and 200 7.62mm armor-piercing rounds.
Just days after assuming control of the western Baghdad region, the company unearthed a cache based on a tip received from a detainee.17 JUL - Airmen and MNF thwart roadside IED placement of four 152mm rounds and det cord.
In the cache, Soldiers found 32 homemade grenades, ten rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 500 Dragonov rounds, two cans 7.62mm ammunition, seven cans of grenade fuses, five RPG mortars, 12 AK-47 magazines and 2,500 7.62mm bullets.
In addition, just days prior to discovering the cache, Co. B was responsible for thwarting a vehicle-borne improvised-explosive device that was in its initial stages of preparation.
"This act undoubtedly saved many innocent Iraqi people and the lives of Coalition Forces," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Atwater, battle noncommissioned officer for the battalion tactical operations center. "But the Soldiers didn't stop there, the 2nd platoon apprehended two additional terrorist suspects who are now at the Internment Facility at Abu Ghraib."
During the afternoon of July 5, 2nd Plt. detained two suspects exhibiting suspicious behavior near the Khan Dari Market. While manning a traffic control point in the Khan Dari area, Soldiers from the platoon stopped a vehicle with two individuals in it and began questioning them.
"Upon searching the vehicle, we discovered one AK-47 as well as a number of identification cards with different aliases and some money," said 1st Lt. Jamar White, fire support officer, Co. B, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt.
17 JUL - Iraqi forces thwart kidnapping attempt.
17 JUL - Iraqi forces capture insurgent cell leader.
Iraqi forces captured an insurgent cell leader, planner and 'organizer' in a southern Baghdad mosque compound during a security operation on July 13.17 JUL - Insurgent leader killed, 4 detained by Iraqi forces.
The Iraqi forces received small arms fire almost immediately upon arrival at the objective, a mosque compound in the Al Rasheed district of Baghdad. Soon after arriving, they captured an insurgent cell leader known for purchasing weapons and coordinating attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces.
A coalition force adviser said that all gunfire occurred outside of the mosque courtyard and was directed away from the mosque.
At no time during this operation did Iraqi or coalition forces enter the mosque itself.
Iraqi forces detained six other 'persons of interest' and seized the following weapons and military material: four RPK medium machine guns; three AK-47 assault rifles; approximately 150 rounds of AK-47 ammunition; several belts of ammunition for the RPK; one mortar weapon site; five body armor vests; and eight body armor plates.
According to the adviser, no visible damage was done to the mosque at the time Iraq and coalition force advisers departed the scene.
As Iraqi forces and their coalition force advisers approached an objective near Muhallabiyah, southeast of Tall Afar, shots were fired at them. Iraqi forces reacted immediately, assaulting the objective killing Abdal-Ghafor (aka Abdal Rahman, aka Abu Ameen), a senior insurgent leader in this area, and capturing four more suspected insurgents.17 JUL - CCCI convicts 10 insurgents.
Iraqi soldiers also seized the following weapons from the objective: one sniper rifle; five AK-47 assault rifles; one hand grenade; one rocket propelled grenade, or RPG round; one improvised explosive device, or IED consisting of three 155 millimeter artillery shells rigged together; approximately 600 rounds of AK-47 ammunition; various amounts of other caliber small arms ammunition; three blasting caps; and IED-making materials that included wires and batteries.
18 JUL - Iraqi forces capture insurgent in Mosul.
The Iraqi soldiers raided an objective in central Mosul and captured the cell member who is believed to be involved in emplacing improvised explosive devices, or IEDs in the area.18 JUL - Iraqi forces capture insurgents in two operations.
Seven other individuals also were captured during this operation.
BALAD - Iraqi security forces, assisted by coalition force advisers, conducted two operations in Baghdad July 17 and captured seven insurgents involved in 'extra judicial killing' cells.18 JUL - Iraqi forces capture 'Most Wanted' insurgent leader.
During the first operation near Abu Gharib, Iraqi forces captured two key insurgents who were believed to be involved in several kidnappings, mostly focusing on Iraqi citizens working for coalition forces. Their activities also involved weapons dealing and facilitating foreign fighters in Iraq. One other person of interest was also detained.
During the second operation near Al Gazaliah, Iraqi forces captured four insurgents also believed to be involved in kidnapping and Âdeath squadsÂ in the Baghdad area. In this operation, Iraqi forces also seized two AK-47 assault rifles and two nine millimeter pistols.
BALAD - Iraqi security forces, while conducting a routine presence patrol at a checkpoint near Diwaniyah July 16, captured a 'most wanted' insurgent leader at an Iraqi Police checkpoint without incident.18 JUL - MNF uncovers weapon cache.
Iraqi forces received an anonymous tip that the individual, a local sheikh, was on his way toward the checkpoint, and they were on hand to detain him as he waited to pass through.
The sheikh, who tops local police's 'most wanted' list is believed to be in charge of several assassination cells in the Diwaniyah area. He also is alleged to be involved in other insurgent operations and activities throughout Qadisiyah Province.
The Soldiers were conducting a search of an area that had previously yielded a weapons cache when they located a new cache of weapons, containing 24 bayonets, an RPK machine gun, a G-3 assault rifle, five hand grenades, two 30mm rounds, 300 7.62mm rounds, 200 rounds of assorted ammunition, four parachute flares, a mortar site, assorted military gear and 55,000 Iraqi Dinar.19 JUL - Telephone tip leads to capture of 4 terrorist cell members.
19 JUL - Iraqi and MNF forces kill 1 terrorist, detain 8, find weapons.
Ok, you are probably getting the consistant idea: intensive, consistant, continuous, low-level counter insurgency operations across the board. The insurgents, terrorists, killers and assorted thugs are finding that they are being targeted and not only by the MNF, but by the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police AND regular, everyday folks are 'dropping dimes' on them.
Now, how to characterize insurgent/terrorist operations:
1) The al Qaeda and Ba'athists are using cell based operations to run IED capability, supported directly from Saudi Arabian al Qaeda and possibly some money trickling in via Syria (as note the Tal Afar work). These typify the type of work done by both groups: high cost, few people, lots of deaths when they can be carried out.
2) Shia terrorists are of the al Sadr, 'hands on' and 'do your own dirty work' variety of using *lots* of weapons and not many bombs. They are being supported and reinforced by Iran as reported by Iraqi blogs (notably Iraq the Model), and as noted the rocket tubes found outside Baghdad and the 'unknown rockets' in that one raid. These folks are concentrating on direct death dealing and in setting up their own assassination and killing zones. Iran would not be supporting Sunni nor Kurd, and the most associated with them is al Sadr, coming, as he does, with the blessings of Iran handed to him before he left Iran.
3) The al Qaeda Sunni, Ba'athist Sunni and Shia Sadrists are grinding at the civilian population because they are in a 'use it or lose it' scenario. Baghdad is being sealed by section, quartered, cleaned and patrolled after cleaning. This is yielding lots of chaos amongst the rats there, and they are pulling out their stops Nation-wide to distract from their dilemma. But note that the folks in more peaceful areas are not putting up with this, even when it is local leaders doing the bossing around and hiring the killers. Also of note is the CCCI and regular prosecution of insurgents and terrorists. For the most part the nastiest are being taken out of circulation.
4) The entire insurgency is turning into a high-cost, low personnel affair. When you have lots of extra weapons, often 2:1 or 3:1 per individuals captured, and so much damn ammo, what you are seeing is pre-preparation in *hopes* of doing something to get lots more recruits. If any of these groups could get a major foothold in Iraq to do *that* the Nation *would* descend into chaos. And this is at a time when the new Iraqi Army has *proven* itself capable of independent operations and is capable of handling tricky situations on their own. That said that is only their battle-tested groups. Green troops probably are getting rotated through Baghdad and a couple of other hot spots and then rotated *out* to the provinces they control for more normal patrol duties. But with their skill, they are now catching the individuals that are acting like insurgents. After first-hand experience they are seeing things that untrained troops would overlook.
5) This short compendium is *also* police blotter reporting. Pure and absolute rip 'n read... save that the messy parts have been left out. You hear THOSE but never, ever, save for someone like Zarqawi hear this stuff. Just like your local police have the blood spattered on the 11 o'clock news, but no one tells how many drunks were taken in, domestic quarrels stopped, fights broken up, and so on. This is the Middle Eastern equivalent of *that*. Expect this to continue on until the financiers of these groups in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria are shut down. This is damn hard work and having NO ONE report it to the wider media is a disgrace to journalism and an attempt to manipulate the popular opinion by abdication of journalistic and editorial ethics.
This is *not* a Civil War.
What is being seen is War by Proxy from Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. They are hiring Iraqi Arabs, inciting sectarian violence and trying to kill as many Iraqis as they can to *start* an internal conflict. But so far, and for 3 long years, no traction.
At this point, Iran has to either be considering a coalescing of its exterior operations, as their First Foreign Legion is at least worthy of a stand up fight, but these cowards in Iraq need stiffening... or they will try to fund and sponsor a break-away via the Mahdi army of the southern provinces, oil wells and oil terminals of Iraq. This would be closely akin to Civil War, save that direct sponsorship and financing would become apparent and the Iraqis would be faced with *real* war against Iran. That is why the Iranians are holding their training these past few weeks: to show their strength. Unfortunately for them, that is the Basij, which are only capable of coerceing civlians and children out into the desert for fun and frivolities carrying automatic weapons. Otherwise the Basij act as the 'religious police' of Iran and a law unto themselves against civilians.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard was humiliated in Lebanon, getting many individuals killed and forced to spend time removing their bodies via Damascus. Putting them or the Special Guard out would show their incapability to effectively operate and train with the Basij. Notice that at no time is the Iranian Army used in any of this. The mullahs do *not* want a revolution on their hands... best to keep them as a 'defensive force'. One that can only defend their Nation from attack, after inciting the very same via the Foreign Legions.
Iran thinks it has a *grand* idea with Hezbollah, which is why they are doing the same with the Mahdi 'Army' in Iraq. But it is a heavily finance dependent operation, and as half-way trained individuals get killed, their replacements tend to be a slight cut lower than the first round. They are also getting few takers for their Caliphate dreams by 'persuasion'. Force works well when it can be enforced. Syria wanting to duplicate this is stuck playing the poor man's version of this, and that is 'terrorism on the cheap'. We have had *that* for decades.
Saudi Arabia, however, is looking towards the Sunni population, which as a recent strategypage article The Civil War Myth mentions:
In 2003, the apparatus of Sunni domination, was taken apart. Sunni Arabs no longer held nearly all the senior military, police and government jobs. The Sunni Arab secret police force(s) were disbanded, as was the army. For the first time in over three centuries, the Sunni Arabs of Baghdad were not in charge, and they did not like it. They have been resisting this change in status ever since. But in the last three years, things have only gotten worse for the Sunni Arabs. The new government (dominated by Kurds and Shia Arabs, who are 80 percent of the population) has created an army and police force. So not only are the Sunni Arabs outnumbered, but they are confronted with an army and police force controlled by their enemies.The Sunni can either make peace, run away or die. al Qaeda wishes them to die in their cause. The surrounding Nations don't want to take them in. Thus, they are left with the result: cave-in to politics. They really don't want to die. [UPDATE: additional review by Bill Roggio at CounterTerrorism Blog]
And it gets worse, because the Sunni Arab dictatorship got worse as time went on. The last 10-15 years of Saddam's rule were particularly horrible for the Kurds and Shia Arabs. There were massacres and constant terror from Saddam's secret police. So not only are the Sunni Arabs now outnumbered, and facing over a quarter million soldiers and police they do not control, they are also on the receiving end of revenge attacks by millions of enraged Kurds and Shia Arabs.
This is not the recipe for civil war, it's the prelude to massacre and mass expulsion. Of the Sunni Arabs. In Iraq, everyone is aware of this, but too many foreigners, including many who should know better, just don't get it.
They may be dumb, but they sure aren't stupid. The handwriting on the walls is clear and if they do *not* support a non-sectarian government, they will only get death.
Which is why 800 tribal leaders and the leaders of 38 insurgent groups have agreed to reconciliation with the Government in Iraq.
Look at the 'blotter' to see why.
And a quick update from Iraq the Model, by Omar on 20 AUG 2006, and do excuse the nearly full excerpt talking about the Majority Leader Speaker of Parliament possibly being replaced:
Frankly it's about time he submits his resignation or even be kicked out if necessary, I admit that he tricked us in the beginning with his sense of humor and show of humility but it didn't take a long time till he took off that mask and revealed his true ugly face.His attitudes and statements were embarrassing in more than a few occasions at a time when that' the last this we need.Ah, politics!
I can't guess who's going to replace him and if the replacement is going to be from the same bloc then choices will be limited but it's clear now that everyone has had enough of al-Meshhadani including his own bloc so there's a good chance they will be more careful with their nominations this time and choose someone who isn't a Hamas-type nutcase clown.