From Bill Roggio’s excellent website “The Long war Journal”:
Operation Phantom Phoenix:
Despite the recent success in reducing the violence in Iraq, the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq and the Shia extremist terror groups is not over. Coalition and Iraqi forces have launched Operation Phantom Phoenix, a new operation targeting the terror groups throughout Iraq.
The scope of Phantom Phoenix is nationwide. The operation is “a series of joint Iraqi and Coalition division- and brigade-level operations to pursue and neutralize remaining al-Qaeda in Iraq and other extremist elements,” Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, the commander of Multinational Corps Iraq stated. “Phantom Phoenix will synchronize lethal and non-lethal effects to exploit recent security gains and disrupt terrorist support zones and enemy command and control.”
The specific geographical locations targeted during Phantom Phoenix were not identified. Iraqi and Coalition forces will “pursue al-Qaeda and other extremists wherever they attempt to take sanctuary,” Odierno said.
The region northeast of Miqdadiyah will be a primary focus of the operation. Al Qaeda in Iraq has established a “haven” in the region, and has used this base to funnel attacks against Awakening and Concerned Local Citizens groups attempting to establish in the Baqubah region.
……Al Qaeda’s attempt to establish a new base of operation in the Mosul region is believed to have been blunted. Yet a series of bombings against Christian churches in the region are believed to be an attempt to stir up sectarian violence in the area, a senior military intelligence officer told The Long War Journal. Al Qaeda has also attempted to increase sectarian violence in the flashpoint city of Kirkuk, where Arab and Kurdish groups are vying for political power in the oil-rich city.
The Samarra region may also be a focal point of Operation Phantom Phoenix. The Samarra-Tarmiyah region is believed to be a command and control node for al Qaeda in Iraq’s central leadership. Multiple senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders have been killed or captured in the region, including Abu Abdullah, a regional emir.
Operation Marne Thunderbolt and Arab Jabour
The most high-profile fighting occurred in the Arab Jabour region, which sits just southeast of Baghdad. US and Iraqi forces are conducting Operation Marne Thunderbolt, a subordinate operation to Phantom Phoenix. The US Air Force, in conjunction with 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the (US ARMY) 3rd Infantry Division launched a massive airstrike on al Qaeda positions in the region.
“Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers and four F-16 fighters employed approximately four dozen precision-guided, direct-attack munitions or J-DAMs on targets in the Arab Jabour area south of Baghdad,” said Colonel Terry Ferrell, the brigade commander. “More than 50 targets were identified by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team in order to destroy known improvised explosive device and cache locations.” Forty-seven of the targets were hit, while three strikes were deferred to minimalist civilian casualties.
While the US military did not have information on al Qaeda casualties, General Mustafa al Jabouri, the commander of the Arab Jabour Concerned Local Citizens force, said a senior al Qaeda leader was killed along with 20 other fighters. “Our information confirmed that Walid Khudair, also known as al Jahash, leader of al-Qaeda in the southern belts of Baghdad, was killed in the air strikes,” Jabouri told AFP. “Twenty other terrorists were also killed.”
Jabouri, who goes by the name General Mustafa, established the Arab Jabour Concerned Local Citizens over this past summer in opposition to al Qaeda’s terror campaign in the region. “They killed our sons, ruined our infrastructure, displaced families, used sectarian violence against the people,” Jabouri said in an interview with The Long War Journal in September 2007. “They killed our electricians, our engineers, the technicians that run our water pumps and [water filtration] plant.”
Operation Iron Harvest and Diyala
Further north, Iraqi and Coalition forces are pressing the attack in Miqdadiyah as part of Operation Iron Harvest. Miqdadiyah is a known al Qaeda haven.
US and Iraqi forces liberated six villages from al Qaeda control in the region near Miqdadiyah, Iraqi Army Major General Abdul Karim al Rubaie, the director of operations in central Diyala province told AFP.
“The villages have been under the control of al-Qaeda for a long time,” Rubaie. “We have taken them back and al-Qaeda has been chased out.”
Ten al Qaeda were reported killed and 20 captured during the operation.
The MSM has been closed-mouthed about these campaigns as well as the enormous overall success of American and Coaltion Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. As usual, bad news in the WOT is all that fits their agenda, so you won’t be hearing much from them about the war.
Bill is a former Soldier-turned-journalst who is embedded with troops in the theater of operations.
He has the most informative, precise, and accurate ‘unclassified’ order of battle data base I’ve ever seen. I was an Intel Analyst in counter-terrorism, and his site is definitely an asset.