Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Feature: Mortar attacks fade in Iraq

A heavily armored Caiman vehicle.
by Richard Tomkins
Yathrib, Iraq (UPI) Oct 28, 2008
U.S. troops in heavily armored Caiman vehicles regularly patrol the towns and villages around Joint Base Balad, a key military installation in Salahaddin province northwest of Baghdad. Al-Qaida guerrillas mostly have been pushed out of the area by coalition forces and national insurgent groups, which, although degraded themselves, continue sporadic, low-grade mortar attacks on the facility.

The mortar attacks on the base -- inaccurate line-of-site lobs -- are ineffective, U.S. forces say, and are conducted by three-man teams: one man to hold the mortar tube, one to drop the round into the tube and a third to film the event.

"The few attacks we do see now appear mainly financially motivated żż and many don't even hit the base," according to the battalion intelligence officer.

He said video footage of the attacks is played on the Internet to garner funding for the groups involved from overseas donors.

"We know for sure it's (funding) coming from other countries. It's coming from Sweden, Jordan, Germany and Arab countries."

The Sons of Iraq, working with U.S. forces in Salahaddin province, grew out of the so-called awakening of Sunni tribes north of Baghdad that at first fought U.S. troops but later rebelled against their al-Qaida allies.

Depending on locale, the guards who watch their own neighborhoods are paid about $300 a month, checkpoint leaders about $400 and organizers about $600. They have been acknowledged by the United States and by the Iraqi government as having played a vital role in dampening violence across the country.

U.S. intelligence sources say there are two other factors in the downturn in terrorist violence in the area and indeed throughout the province. One is a solid event; the other is surmise.

Last December nationalist insurgent groups such as Jaish Islami -- also called Jaish Islamiyah -- founded by former Iraqi military personnel and Baathist Party officials -- turned their guns on foreign-led al-Qaida terrorists in Salahaddin province and drove most of them out of the cities, towns and villages to fringe areas.

Also, nationalist group leaders may be looking at upcoming provincial and national elections as a more fruitful path to power and influence.

"It seems like the cells are setting themselves up for what could be going on after the coalition leaves Iraq," the intelligence officer said. "They follow the media, much like we do, and they know there are going to be a lot of changes over the next few years, especially politically."

"So most of the things we pick up is that they're setting themselves up for long-term goals due to the disruption we've had over them, the surge -- of U.S. forces last year -- and what has gone on afterward."

Nonetheless, al-Qaida cells can't be written off. U.S. officials say the terrorist group continues to try to infiltrate the province and re-establish a stronger presence.

During a courtesy call to a widow of a Sons of Iraq leader in the village of Montessem, about a 45-minute drive from the base, a patrol from the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division was told by the woman that relatives farther north had encountered 10 al-Qaida gunmen who were believed to have come across from Diyala province.

To root out infiltrators and al-Qaida cells hiding in the countryside or in deserts to the east, west and south of the Balad area, soldiers from Balad and combat posts farther in-country -- often with Iraqi army troops -- launch targeted air assaults based on intelligence, most of it coming from local nationals.

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Barzani says Iraq-US security pact dominates his talks with Rice
Washington (AFP) Oct 28, 2008
Massud Barzani, the president of Iraq's northern Kurdish government, said his talks on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice focused on a controversial draft Iraq-US military pact.

  • Analysis: Germany can help next president
  • China's Wen leaves for Russia, Kazakhstan
  • Outside View: China's silent dominance
  • French minister opposes Georgia, Ukraine entry to NATO

  • Iran sets up new naval base near the Gulf
  • Gates calls for modernization of US nuclear arsenal
  • Bush Eyes Diplomatic Relations With Iran
  • NKorea threatens to suspend complex over leaflets

  • Taiwan to produce 300 cruise missiles: report
  • LockMart's JASSM-ER Successful In Latest Flight Test
  • US Navy Launches Raytheon Tomahawk Block IV From Submarine
  • Army And LM Support Second Successful International PAC-3 Missile Test

  • Keeping The Tu-95 Operational In The 21st Century
  • Aging Tu-95 Nuclear Missile Platform Offers New Strategic Threat
  • Outside View: Asian missile power
  • Key Flight Software Delivered For Missile Warning Satellite

  • New EU CO2 caps anger airlines
  • Energy Department has high school contest
  • Researchers Scientists Perform High Altitude Experiments
  • Airbus expecting 'large' China order by early 2009: CEO

  • Aurora Wins USAF Contract On Vision-Based MAV Guidance
  • Successful Live-Fire Testing Of Shadow TUAS
  • DCNS Achieves Automatic UAV Landing On Frigate
  • AAI Receives Contract For Additional Shadow TUAS

  • Feature: Balad, Iraqi city in transition
  • Feature: Mortar attacks fade in Iraq
  • Barzani says Iraq-US security pact dominates his talks with Rice
  • Pentagon on guard for White House wartime transition

  • Thompson Files: Don't cut back on tanks
  • Lynx Radar Capabilities Demonstrated During Patrol Operations
  • New fighter jet hope for long-legged Dutch
  • LM F-35 Successfully Wraps Up Testing

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement