Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Four More Striking Days Till Ramadan

US Troops in Iraq are stepping up raids and air strikes in Sunni hot spots, including removing insurgents from mosques, in preparation for Ramadan which begins Friday or Saturday:

U.S. troops went on the offensive from the gates of Baghdad to the Syrian border Tuesday, pounding Sunni insurgent positions from the air and supporting Iraqi soldiers in raids on mosques suspected of harboring extremists.

American and Iraqi forces launched the operations ahead of Ramadan, expected to start at week's end, in an apparent attempt at preventing a repeat of the insurgent violence that took place at the start of last year's Muslim holy month.


Seventy miles west of Baghdad, Iraqi troops backed by U.S. soldiers and Marines raided seven mosques in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, arresting a locally prominent member of a clerical association and three other people. They also seized bomb-making materials and "insurgent propaganda" in the mosques, U.S. officials said.


"This cowboy behavior cannot be accepted," said cleric Abdullah Abu Omar. "The Americans seem to have lost their senses and have gone out of control."

However, the raids followed a surge in insurgent attacks in Ramadi, and the U.S. command accused the militants of violating the sanctity of the mosques by using them for military purposes. Marine spokesman Maj. Francis Piccoli said U.S. troops provided backup for the Iraqi soldiers but did not enter the mosques.
If we don't back off this time, there might be a chance that the insurgency will fall apart before the end of the year. Belmont Club's analysis of why we delayed attacking Fallujah in April is starting to look pretty plausible.

UPDATE: Wizbang has more comments:
Monday's widely read and quoted L.A. Times piece Major Assaults on Hold Until After U.S. Vote, is now part of the Kerry campaign Kerry team accuses Bush officials of holding off Iraq action until election.

The problem? Not quite accurate.

U.S. Steps Up Attacks on Iraq Insurgents

From the nature of the joint operations, it's highly likely that the raids and attacks on militant positions had been in the works for several weeks.
Beating the insurgents and confusing the Kerry campaign. Gotta love that multitasking!

Wizbang also notes that the loose alliance between Baathist insurgents and foreign terrorists is coming apart. Maybe we are a bunch of out of control cowboys, but it seems to be working.

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