Winning Hearts And Minds In Al Anbar!


For those not familiar with Al Anbar province, it is a Sunni dominated province in the West of Iraq, and is the province where the well known cities of Fallujah and Ramadi are located. Those two cities have been the scene of heavy fighting in the past few years, as the foreign insurgents trafficked in from Syria, have infiltrated those cities, and Al Qaida in Iraq has used it as it’s base since the invasion of 2003. Of course, we were all treated with this agonizingly breathless leaked secret intelligence report, back in September.

It is expected, that in tonights speech from President Bush, there will be an announcement of additional U.S. military troops being sent to Iraq, with Al Anbar being one of the areas to receive additional troops. The U.S. Marines and the U.S.Army, have been fighting, and working hard, to improve conditions there, not only with infrastructure, but security as well, and the USMC in particular, has been training the Iraqi Army for more than a year, to take control of Al Anbar. Of the eighteen provinces in Iraq, only three are not under control of the IA, and still represent a challenge for the Iraqi government. Al Anbar (the largest province in Iraq), Al Basrah, and Baghdad (the largest population center).

What the President will say tonight, and what will be the plan of action for the near future, is unknown to all, but a small few, at this time. What I do know, is that in order to gain control over the foreign insurgents, Al Anbar must be dealt with militarily, politically, and rebuilding infrastructure to improve quality of life.

Michael Fumento completed his second embed in Ramadi, this past summer, and was encouraged by much that he saw.
Currently, Bill from INDCJournal is embedded in Fallujah, and has written a superb piece about life in Fallujah, and the challenges the MNF and the Iraqi government face there.
In Iraq Journal.

INDC: Why did you decide to [work to quell the insurgency]?

Yusef: “Because I found that this is going to be the best solution to serve my city and my country.”

He then said that he’d like to tell me two things, but warned me that one may anger Americans, and he hoped they didn’t get upset.

Yusef: “Through my [experience as an enemy], the way I look at Americans, I look at them and feel like they are occupiers, occupying my country when the invasion happened. But when other parties showed up – especially the radicals and the Iranian militias, both who are not Iraqis – now I prefer the Americans. I’ve met [various Americans working for Fallujah]. It is my feeling that [they are] working hard, and (before I knew) you (Americans) I had a different image. Now that I know the Americans, I have a different impression. Now I deal honestly with them and feel they are really working for the benefit of my side.”

“I think the Americans are more for Iraq than the Iraqis themselves.”

He then moved on to his second point.

Yusef: “I want to ask you for something: a one month vacation in the United States to get away from all of this. And if they give me refugee status, I’m marrying an American woman and not coming back.”

He laughed.

23 Responses

  1. Well, President Bush didn’t say anything that wasn’t expected, though I thought he was too kind to some that were undeserving of praise, like the ISG and it’s creators, but I’ve always said Mr. Bush is a much better man than me.
    One thing that did get my attention, was when he was speaking of Iran and Syria, and that he wanted to seek and destroy those locations that were equipping and training insurgents going to Iraq. I like that, and I’ll bet it got Ahmadamdingdong’s and Chinless Baby Assad’s attention. Blasting the d**-d** out of terrorist training centers in Iran and Syria, would go a long way towards limiting the number of our troops that are killed and wounded by those governments design.

  2. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one to hear President Bush address the Iranian and Syrian weapon and training issue.
    What about Iran & Syria?

  3. An enlightening piece by Dick Morris at Family Security Matters.
    The Coming Democratic Party Civil War

  4. I heard that about Iran and Syria, too, N2l, and speculated aloud if it meant that it sounded as if the fight would be brought across their borders if they didn’t cease and desist immediately. Sounded good to me.

  5. Michael Yon’s latest post from his current embed, and he visits Al Anbar.

    Ramadi is the capital of Al Anbar Province and is the location for several stops on this patrol. The enemy snipers here have become good and even excellent. Just during the time we were in the area, they killed four of our people. No matter the metric, whether per capita or in absolute numbers, Baghdad is surely dangerous, but Anbar is worse in every measure, and Ramadi is the worst place in Anbar, which explains why CSM Mellinger keeps driving out there, walking the line.

    Walking the line part II.
    For those that don’t know, CSM, as in CSM Mellinger, means Command Sergeant Major. He is the highest ranking non-commissioned officer in theater, and reports only to the Commander of CentComm.

  6. Captured 47 in Anbar? They haven’t asked me, but I can’t see putting my people in danger just to capture more of these assholes that will be portrayed by the leftist media as “innocent victims of imperialism”

  7. If you didn’t read the story, this was an operation owned entirely by the ISF, the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police planned and carried out this entire op with a small element of Marines in support.
    Whenever the ISF takes ownership of any aspect of the GWOT, it is cause for celebration, and for broadcasting to those defeatist that the Iraqi’s won’t stand up.

  8. Great post by Michael Yon.

  9. We were doing a lot more than riding around in armored trucks with the Marines. With them, we ate the strange chow that was available, slept in fly-filled hooches and battle-ruined rooms, and gingerly shared over-burdened Porta-johns.

    And every day we were in Iraq’s Anbar province, counting on them to keep us alive.

    Back in October, before David and I went to Iraq, I started a course to learn how to survive in such a hostile environment, and another reporter, working for an international news service, suggested that embedding with the Marines might impair my objectivity.

    That reporter might have been right. I tend to bond with people when they’re trying to make sure I get through an assignment alive.

    Thanks,guys, for keeping us alive.

  10. Operation Squeeze Play Makes Ramadi Safer.

    AR RAMADI, Iraq – During a month-long operation, Iraqi security forces along with Coalition forces seized 31 caches of weapons, explosives, and ammunition, while gaining the support of four more tribes in Ramadi.
    Operation Squeeze Play, which began Dec. 1, was carried out by Iraqi Army Soldiers, police, U.S. Soldiers, and Marines. The operation took place in central Ramadi and areas north and east of the city. The operation expanded the security capabilities of the Iraqi Army, police and Coalition Forces, particularly in the Hamdiyah and Sufia areas.
    “This operation cleared out known anti-Iraqi safe havens and led to the establishment of four Iraqi police sub-stations,” said 1st Armored Division, 1st Brigade spokesman Marine Maj. Riccoh Player. “We welcome the assistance of the Iraqi tribes who helped make this operation successful. This will make the city safer for its residents.”
    There are now 14 police stations in the city today, compared to three in July of last year, and eight additional stations are planned for construction.

    raqi Army, police and Coalition forces seized hundreds of weapons and explosives during the operation, including three mortar systems, 101 mortar rounds, 90 pounds of explosives, eight rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 47 AK-47s, five Dragonov sniper rifles, 26 grenades, 26 mines, 34 artillery rounds, 12 rockets and other items used to attack Ramadi’s security forces and civilians.
    During the operation 44 enemy combatants were killed and 172 suspected insurgents were detained.

  11. Hearts and minds folks…hearts and minds.
    Tribal leader warms to U.S. troops.

    Local men come out from their homes and businesses to enthusiastically greet the sheik with kisses and hugs, and to shake the hands of the soldiers.

    At one point, Lt. Col. John Tien stops and calls over a stone wall into the backyard of a house, waving a father and his young children to him. As the man lifts his kids one by one, Tien hands each a stuffed animal.

    “A month ago we couldn’t even come in this neighborhood,” Tien, commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment out of Friedberg, Germany, said after giving out the toys.

    “Then the local men said they were ready to take responsibility. Now we can walk this entire road.”

    Excellent press release.

  12. Two terrorists killed during Fallujah raid.
    They detained six others believed to be senior facilitators for foreign fighters.

  13. Another post from Bill at INDCJournal.
    An Interview with a Fallujan Police Officer

    INDC: You mentioned that you hate the insurgents, is that just more now because you’ve been shot or did you have a different opinion of them before?

    Mohammed: “They hit me and they also killed some of my family. Actually they killed my uncle who used to be an Iraqi Army soldier, and they killed him and burned his face. And then they actually started threatening us as well.”

    INDC: They burned his face?

    Mohammed: “Yes. It’s a substance called “tizar,” it’s like, acid. They put it in his face.”

    INDC: He was alive when they did this?

    Mohammed: “Yes, he was alive. They burned him and stabbed him so many times, and also they shot him with bullets. And we found a note on him saying, ‘The police and the army and the Americans are all the same.’

    Good and insightful read.

  14. Iraqi-led operation nets 36 detainees.

    “It was less than two years ago when there were about three thousand Marines stationed inside Fallujah,” said Coalition Forces spokesperson 1st Lt. Barry L. Edwards. “But now, with the Iraqi Army as capable as they are and the growing number of police taking responsibility for security in the city, there are only a hundred or so Marines here serving as advisors.”
    There were no reports of civilians or Coalition Forces injured or killed as a result of the operation.

  15. The news media just goes batshit when an American soldier is involved when a “civilian” is killed.

  16. Insurgent Killed in Attempt to Attack Iraqi Police in Ramadi.

    In the first two weeks of this month over one thousand recruits in Anbar joined the Iraqi Police.

    There are now 14 police stations in the city today, compared to three in July of last year, and eight additional stations are planned for construction.

  17. The news media just goes batshit when an American soldier is involved when a “civilian” is killed.
    There, cleaned that one up for ya’.

  18. Thanks. I feel all clean and refreshed now.

  19. Henh.
    Sounds like a commercial.

  20. […] had posted on this blog in January, on how things were going in Al Anbar, with numerous links to subsequent events in the comment […]

  21. […] surge began. Just a few reminders of posts from this blog since January, in ascending order: 10 Jan 07 Winning Hearts And Minds In Al Anbar. 13 Jan 07 Why 21,500 Additional Troops Is Actually Enough. 17 Mar 07 Iraq:Much Is Happening […]

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