Getting the Job Done in Iraq [Archive] - Glock Talk

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RussP
03-24-2005, 12:50
The citizens of Iraq seem to be getting involved on the right side...

U.S., Iraqi Forces Kill 85 Militants

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq Iraq's insurgency has suffered steep losses in recent days, including Wednesday's announcement of 85 guerrilla deaths in a joint U.S.-Iraq raid on a suspected training camp. Officials said citizens emboldened by recent elections are increasingly turning in tips against the militants.

In three days, U.S. and Iraqi troops have killed at least 128 militants nationwide, and the Wednesday announcement that 85 insurgents died in an attack by Iraqi commandos, backed by U.S. air and ground fire, marked one of the heaviest single-day tolls suffered by Iraqi militants in the two-year insurgency.

"This string of successes does have positive repercussions in that it may convince Iraqis not supporting the insurgents -- but not supporting the United States either -- to perceive that the tide is turning and not go with the insurgents," said Nora Bensahel, a Washington D.C.-based Iraq analyst for Rand Corp (search).

While Bensahel acknowledged it had been "a fairly successful few days," she added: "There's a long, long way to go."

The U.S. military gave the first report of Tuesday's noontime raid on the shores of Lake Tharthar (search) in central Iraq, saying that seven commandos and an unspecified number of militants were killed.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi government said in a statement that 85 rebels had died in the clash -- the heaviest hit militants have taken since the opening days of the November U.S.-led attack on the one-time insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, where more than 1,000 insurgents died.

The U.S. military declined Wednesday to confirm the Iraqi government's death toll of 85 militants, and it was impossible to independently check the number.

On Sunday, clashes with U.S. soldiers south of Baghdad left 26 insurgents dead, while a fight during an ambush on an Iraqi security envoy Monday killed 17 militants.

An officer in charge of the Iraqi commandos said Tuesday's raid turned up booby-trapped cars, suicide-bomber vests, weapons and training documents and that a number of Philippines, a fighter from Afghanistan, and Arabs from nearby countries he didn't name were among the insurgents.

Nearby residents had been providing intelligence on the camp for 18 days before the attack, Maj. Gen. Rashid Feleih told Iraqi state television.

"What's really remarkable is that the citizens this time really took the initiative to provide us with very good information," he said.

Iraqi officials also credited other successes to a torrent of intelligence that has begun flowing from citizens heartened by Jan. 30 elections, in addition to film footage aired on state television that showed captured insurgents confessing their role in attacks.

"After the elections and after showing the arrested terrorists on television, the people started calling the Interior Ministry and giving us a lot of information. This helped us," said Sabah Kadhim, a spokesman for the ministry.

"Before, the people had a neutral stance toward this issue. Now, they have turned against the terrorists."

Analysts, however, warned the spate of deadly clashes wasn't likely to end an insurgency believed to have thousands of supporters.

"We're in a phase where it could be a tipping point one way or the other in terms of whether the insurgency is on a downward slope, with the elections moving things to the Iraq government more," said Marcus Corbin, an counterinsurgency specialist for the Washington D.C.-based Center for Defense Information.

"But the real issue is the long-term political solution and what the power-sharing will be between the ethnic groups."

There is more to the article at
http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,151229,00.html