Saturday, June 18, 2005

Marines and Iraqis on Offensive

Beginning last month, US forces--mostly Marines--began a number of offensives along the infiltration routes ("rat lines") from Syria to Baghdad where jihadis and supplies trickle into Iraq. I was glad we were taking the fight to the enemy out in the boonies as Iraqis took over major responsibility in Baghdad and other cities in the heartland, but I was worried that no Iraqis were with us in these new operations.

In quick succession, we have Operation Spear of a thousand Marines and Iraqi troops hitting the entry point from Syria; and Operation Dagger of a thousand Marines and Iraqi troops hitting the interior where the enemy may prepare to attack us in the cities.

Since one Marine said this was about killing the enemy and not holding territory, I don't get the impression that we're at the point of leaving Iraqis behind to control the areas we hit. But this is better than just hitting the enemy with our troops alone. This in an Iraqi war to win and we must never forget that our job is to push Iraqis to be able to do the job on their own, with our help declining as Iraqis get more proficient in various aspects of fighting and logistics and all the other things we do to make our trigger pullers so deadly.

And further back on the ratline, we have a domestic success:

"[Muhammad Yunis] Ahmad is first among the U.S. Central Command's list of key insurgent leaders, and the multinational forces in Iraq are offering a reward of $1 million for his capture," the director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control Robert Werner said in a statement.

The United States ordered Ahmad's assets blocked under a presidential executive order that allows the government to freeze assets of individuals or groups it believes are members of the former Iraqi regime or are supporting terrorist organizations.

Now if we could just get at the Saudis who are supplying many of the jihadis who bring their own money.