Tabka:500 troops were airlifted behind enemy lines.

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GPS steerable parachutes

U.S.-backed local forces fighting Islamic State in Syria said on March 26 they had taken full control of a former Syrian army airport near the city of Tabqa along the Euphrates River. Tabqa is located 25 miles west of Raqqa, ISIS’ self-declared capital,

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by a U.S.-led international coalition, said in a statement they had seized the air base.

Earlier, SDF spokesperson Talal Silo said its fighters had seized “60 to 70 percent” of the airport but were still engaged in intense clashes with the ultra-hardline militants inside the air base and on its outskirts.
March 22, Washington (CNN)Fighters in Syria have begun a major ground offensive, backed up by US forces, to retake Tabka dam near Raqqa, Syria,
The attack also included an unprecedented air assault involving US helicopters landing behind enemy lines — flying about 500 local US allies and coalition military advisers across the Euphrates River and Lake Assad so they could attack the ISIS-controlled dam and neighboring town and airfield from the South.

“We have conducted an air movement, air assault, with the Syrian Arab Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces,” Col. Joseph Scrocca,
Scrocca would not say how many troops were involved, but a military source said about 500 troops were airlifted behind enemy lines. The attack was backed by US Marines firing M777 howitzers and close air support, including airstrikes carried out by Apache helicopters.

[January 18 Syria airdrops in December]

The Air Force conducted 16 airdrop missions in Syria last year, including six in December. Flights could depart from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus or the Incirlik air base in Turkey.
The U.S.-led coalition is directly providing supplies only to the Arab contingent within the Syrian Democratic Forces, partly to avoid antagonizing Turkey, a key ally.
Initially, Kurds made up the bulk of the coalition-backed forces fighting the Islamic State in northern Syria. But U.S. advisers have made an effort to recruit more Arabs. Today, about one third of the 45,000 troops in the Syrian Democratic Forces are Arabs.
The bundles are guided onto landing zones using GPS technology and steerable parachutes. “We’ll get it within 10 or 15 meters of the mark,” Everhart said. The supplies range from small arms ammunition to vehicles.The Air Force can drop supplies at night and vary where they are dropped to ensure militants are not able to seize U.S. equipment.

[January 7 Tabka Dam  one of last defense lines before Raqqa city ]

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January 06, 2017 5:34 PM The Pentagon said that SDF forces are only seven kilometers away from the dam, also known as the Baath Dam.

“Liberating the dam will allow us to control the town of Tabqa as well,” said Nasir Hajj Mansur, an SDF commander who is involved in the ongoing offensive. “It will also break the back of (IS) as it is one of the last defense lines before Raqqa city.”

The dam, which IS has controlled since 2014, is a hydropower facility that is one of the main sources of electricity in the country. It has also been vital for the irrigation of farms in the fertile region around Raqqa.

 

 

[December 24 2016 Syrian Arab Coalition,  supported by Coalition advisers and air strikes before Raqqah ]stephen-townsend

Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, left, XVIII Airborne Corps commanding general, during a visit to Fort Bragg, N.C., July 27, 2016. Now serving as commander of the Combined Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve, he spoke with The Fayetteville Observer from Baghdad on Tuesday and described some of the ongoing efforts. In Syria, he said Fort Bragg troops are supporting special operations forces and the Syrian partners with logistical, medical and artillery support. That includes teams from the 18th Field Artillery Brigade deployed into the country with High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

December 10 The Syrian Democratic Forces announced the start of the next phase of their operation to isolate ISIL’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah, Dec. 10. The SDF, made up in part by local Arabs and its Coalition trained and equipped Arab component, the Syrian Arab Coalition, and supported by Coalition advisers and air strikes began the operation to isolate Raqqah on Nov. 5. In their march toward Raqqah, the SDF has already liberated dozens of villages and more than 700 square miles of ISIL-held terrain. Local Arab fighters continue to join the SDF and fight to liberate their own land. During the initial phase of isolation efforts, our Syrian partners have proven their ability in battle, pushing ISIL back and destroying ISIL heavy weapons, vehicles, fortifications, IED facilities, VBIEDs, armored vehicles, technical vehicles, bridges, decoys, and caches. The Coalition supports the SDF through training, advise and assist operations, airstrikes and material support to the SAC. Since the start of the operation the Coalition conducted more than 300 strikes delivering more than 850 munitions in support of its partners on the ground to enable the isolation of Raqqah and defeat of ISIL in Syria.

December 20 Near Raqqa, three strikes destroyed an oil tanker truck and damaged an ISIL supply route.

December 21 Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Syria: — Near Raqqah, 11 strikes engaged four ISIL tactical units; destroyed three oil storage tanks, two oil wellheads, two oil tanker trucks, two fighting positions, two tactical vehicles, a financial storage facility, an artillery system and a vehicle bomb; and damaged a supply route.

December 22 Near Raqqah, two strikes destroyed an ISIL mortar system and suppressed a tactical unit.

December 23 Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Syria: — Near Raqqah, eight strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units; destroyed six oil storage tanks, two vehicle bombs and a technical vehicle; and damaged a supply route, a fighting position and a truck.

December 24 — U.S. and coalition military forces Strikes in Syria Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Syria: — Near Raqqah, 13 strikes engaged 10 ISIL tactical units, destroyed seven fighting positions, three vehicles, a car bomb and damaged a supply route

 

[September 8 Turks taking on SDF ]

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Turkey now wants to push the SDF out of Manbij, to the south of Jarabulus, back east across the Euphrates, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-IS Kurdish-Arab alliance dominated by Kurdish fighters.. To the west, Turkey appears set to try to seize control of Dabiq, a small town and scene of a 16th-century battle that figures prominently in ISIS’s eschatological vision. “ISIS sees Dabiq as a kind of mystical place,” said Can Acun, an international relations expert specializing in Syria at SETA, Turkey’s government-supported think tank. “They believe in the future there will be a big fight there. They will try to defend it against Turkey.” Experts say Turkey is also contemplating taking control of al-Bab, an agricultural hub northeast of the major city of Aleppo, from ISIS, a move that would give Ankara and its FSA allies control over a significant crossroads to Aleppo.
“Turkey’s aim is Manbij and al-Bab, but our goal goes beyond that,” said Ahmad Othman, commander of the Sultan Murad brigade, a major FSA unit allied with Turkey.

[May 30   HIMARS for Syria delayed by Turkey   ]

HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)

The deployment of US HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) missiles on Turkey’s southern frontier to battle Islamic State has been held up until August without offering an explanation. The deployment was originally expected in May to help counter cross-border bombardments that have killed 21 people since Jan. 18, as the two governments tussle over the makeup of the assault force

However, the battlefield successes of the Syrian Kurdish PYD group in the course of their country’s civil war has haunted Turkey, which fears their territorial gains will embolden the separatist aspirations of Turkey’s own Kurdish minority. “The aim of those who are using the PYD terrorist organization to surround Turkey’s southern borders is clearly to cut Turkey’s ties with the Middle East and North Africa,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said may 29 at a ceremony marking the 1453 conquest of Constantinople, today’s Istanbul

[May 28 Special ops in Syria take off girls patch ]

a US special forces soldier wearing the patch of the YPJ

U.S. Special Forces troops in Syria have been ordered to stop wearing the arm patches of YPG a Kurdish rebel group regarded as an offshoot of a terrorist organization by Turkey, , the YPG [ and Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) ] dominates in the umbrella group SDF, which also includes Arab and Christian fighters, and has notched victories against ISIS in northeastern Syria.
“Wearing those patches was unauthorized and inappropriate and corrective action has been taken. We have communicated as much” to NATO ally Turkey, said Army Col. Steve Warren. Although the U.S. has backed the YPG/YPJ force with airstrikes and supplies, and its fighters have proven to be among the most effective in Syria’s multi-sided civil war, Turkey has branded the group as the military wing of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK. Both Turkey and the U.S. have labeled the PKK as a terrorist organization.
The images appear to show a US special forces soldier wearing the patch of the YPJ (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Jin‎, YPJ, pronounced Yuh-Pah-Juh) – a Kurdish female militia group. A Pentagon spokesman said troops often blended in with partners for safety. The series of images, by an AFP photographer, show the US soldiers operating alongside members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-IS Kurdish-Arab alliance dominated by Kurdish fighters.

patch of the YPJ

An effort to rebrand the YPG as a coalition with Arab rebels called the Syrian Democratic Forces has brought only a small number of Arabs into the force so far.    A requirement that applicants sign a document pledging to fight only the Islamic State and not the government of President Bashar al-Assad deterred many from signing up at all.

 

[May 3 Mission Creep: “Special-operation forces exploitation operations. They pick up computers, cellphones. “ ]

The coalition couldn’t move faster than its partners on the ground—both Iraqi security forces as well as Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria.“Special-operation forces are especially adept at exploitation operations. They pick up computers, cellphones. ” said Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work in Brussels, April 29.

Attack, ground-attack and fighter aircraft conducted seven strikes in Syria:— Near Hawl, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position. — Near Shadaddi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL staging areas and two ISIL vehicles. — Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed an ISIL crane. — Near Mara, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions.

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el-Hawl area Kurdish fighter November 2015

 

 

[April 30 Green Berets on the front lines during the assault on Shaddadi ]

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…have appearance of Green Berets?

 

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FDS forces before Shaddadi

 

A group of Special Forces soldiers on the front lines during the assault on Shaddadi, French, American and British advisors with the SDF forces. The soldiers in question have the appearance of American Green Berets and are clearly in combat.
April 25: The additional 250 U.S. forces will work with Kurdish militiamen and others as they seek to isolate Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria. The plan to move toward Raqqa follows last year’s successful northern Syria offensive that was led primarily by Kurdish forces, aided by U.S. airstrikes, with some support from a group of Sunni opposition fighters the United States has been struggling to support. Raqqa, farther to the south, is a Sunni city that Kurdish forces are not eager to move toward and where they would not be welcome.

[March 21 U.S. and its partners have supported capable and motivated local forces in Syria ]

The U.S. and its partners have supported capable and motivated local forces in Syria to retake the eastern Syrian town of Shaddadi, Carter said. That is the last major northern artery between Raqqa and Mosul — between ISIL in Iraq and ISIL in Syria, he pointed out.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter testified at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the fiscal year 2017 defense budget request. US Department of Defense -March 21, 2016

[March 14 work being done both east and west of Shaddadi]

“We are increasing the number of folks that we are supporting on the ground — in this case the Syrian-Arab Coalition,” he said. “Right now we don’t have a timeline for the operation for when we will take Raqqa. It’s going to be conditions-based — based on the size of the force we have, based on enemy dispositions, and of course, there is some other work being done both east and west of Shaddadi to consolidate the operation so far.”
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.

The campaign in eastern Syria is directed by about 50 U.S. Special Operations Forces now on the ground there, joined by about 20 French and perhaps a dozen British commandos. They’re working with about 40,000 Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters dubbed the Syrian Democratic Forces; all but about 7,000 are from the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG. The methodical campaign in eastern Syria contrasts with the messy battlefield to the west, where Syrian regime troops backed by Russia confront rebels supported by the CIA, Turkey and Saudi Arabia — all facing jihadists from the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. U.S. officials describe this confusing layering of forces as “marbling,” and it’s the reason the current cease-fire is so fragile.

 

[February 24 Shaddadi front using U.S. Javelin ]

First documented use of a FGM-148 Javelin in the war against the Islamic State

Raytheon-Lockheed Martin FGM-148 Javelin replaced the Cold War-era M47 Dragon portable anti-tank missile launcher.

[February 5 FSA’s Northern Division kill  a Russian officer with  TOW ]

On February 3, the FSA’s Northern Division, one of the 39 anti-Assad militias backed by the CIA, uploaded a video showing one of its soldiers firing a TOW missile at half a dozen or so unidentified uniformed men gathered on a rooftop of a building. The video, uploaded at 5:57 GMT, named the targets as Russian officers but gave no details about the exact location of the attack apart from noting that it was somewhere near Syria’s coast—the region of the country where Russia has recently constructed forward operating bases and airfields. There was little doubt that whoever was on that roof didn’t survive the resulting blast.
About an hour later, Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency reported that a Russian officer who had been advising the Assad’s army had indeed been killed in Syria—not by U.S.-backed rebels but by ISIS, which allegedly hit a military garrison with mortars. No location for this attack was given.

[October 29 Division 13 and Suqour al-Ghab fire Raytheon missiles at Syrian Army ]

Insurgent groups have also posted more than two dozen videos in the past few days showing them firing American-made TOW antitank missiles, deepening the impression that a proxy war between the United States and Russia is joining the list of interlocking conflicts in Syria

Insurgent groups have also posted more than two dozen videos in the past few days showing them firing American-made TOW antitank missiles, deepening the impression that a proxy war between the United States and Russia is joining the list of interlocking conflicts in Syria

Optically tracked, Raytheon wire-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles

Optically tracked, Raytheon wire-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles

Russia has focused its earliest operations on the insurgent coalition known as the Army of Conquest, or Jaish al-Fatah, rather than on the Islamic State, according to the official from the pro-government alliance, because it is the Army of Conquest’s positions that most urgently threaten the crucial government-held coastal province of Latakia, while Islamic State forces are farther to the east and can later be isolated and hit. Latakia is Mr. Assad’s family’s ancestral home and the heartland of his fellow Alawites, who provide a critical bloc of support. The Army of Conquest is an Islamist coalition that includes the Nusra Front. Often fighting alongside it are more secular groups calling themselves the Free Syrian Army, including some that have received American aid.

[October 7 Mission Creep: 4 Russian warships launch 26 cruise missiles at 11 targets]

anti-ship missile Klub. PKR 3K14 Kaliber

anti-ship missile Klub. PKR 3K14 Kaliber

The Russian cruise missiles are known as “Kaliber” missiles and are similar to the American Tomahawk missile. This is thought to be the first time they were used operationally, U.S. officials said. Four Russian cruise missiles aimed at antiregime forces in Syria during an aerial assault Wednesday instead landed inadvertently in Iran, U.S. officials said.
[earlier]A Russian flotilla of four warships in the Caspian Sea had struck 11 targets in Syria. The use of 26 sea-based cruise missiles marked one of the first known uses in combat of Russian missiles with this range The Russian minister of defense, Sergei K. Shoigu, told President Vladimir V. Putin in a televised .No civilians were harmed in the strike, he said. It is not clear yet why these particular weapons were chosen in preference to air strikes – but the missiles would have had to fly a considerable distance over Iraq and then Iran to reach Syria.
August 17, 2015 ISTANBUL — Washington would withdraw its Patriot missile batteries from the country in October after bolstering Ankara’s air defenses against threats from Syria’s civil war.
The NATO mandate for the two-year mission will run out in October and will not be renewed, but the US is prepared to return Patriot assets and personnel to Turkey within one week if needed, a joint Turkish-US statement said.

SEPTEMBER 24 2015 About 4,000 soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team will deploy to Kuwait later this year, the Army announced September 24, with some expected to serve in Iraq.

The soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, are deploying to backfill soldiers from 3rd BCT, 4th Infantry Division, who have been in country since February. As the brigade prepares to deploy to Kuwait, right across the border to the U.S. military’s ongoing efforts against the Islamic State terror group the soldiers are ready for the job

Oct 5, 2015 Members of the 682nd Engineering Battalion based in Willmar will be leaving later this month for a nine-month deployment to Kuwait. The units will be deployed to Kuwait and will be joined by subordinate companies from other parts of the country to form a large engineering battalion, said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon of Motley. He is the battalion commander and will be on his fourth deployment.

While based in Kuwait, “we will support U.S. soldiers wherever they are deployed in the Middle East,” he said. The deployment includes companies for “horizontal” and “vertical” engineering, “so we can build roads and buildings,” he said. “The busier we are, the faster it will go.”

There were 15,000 troops stationed at Camp Arifjan, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Camp Buehring, in Kuwait in June 1012.

[October 5 Komoyedov says Russian paid volunteers for Syria]

Adana-Incirlik Air Force Base

Adana-Incirlik Air Force Base

Vladimir Komoyedov, the former commander of the Black Sea fleet, told the Interfax news agency that Russians who had previously fought alongside rebels in eastern Ukraine “can’t be stopped” from going to fight for the Assad regime.

“A unit of Russian volunteers, conflict veterans, will probably appear in the ranks of the Syrian army,” Komoyedov said. “What brings volunteers there besides the cause? Of course, it’s probably money.”

[June 5, 2015 Mississippi, Kentucky, and Minnesota National Guard now in Kuwait]

HASTINGS, Minn.- Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard’s Hastings-based B Company and C Company, 834th Aviation Support Battalion, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, will deploy for a seven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

“The deploying Soldiers of the 834th Aviation Support Battalion are eagerly anticipating their upcoming deployment to Kuwait. With a 40-personnel manning requirement, the deploying unit received more volunteers for this deployment than we had slots available,” said Capt. Caleb Seelhoff, company commander.

“The task force has the mission to augment the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade from the Mississippi National Guard, and the 351st Aviation Support Battalion from the Kentucky National Guard, who are already stationed in Kuwait. Our Minnesota troops will be providing communication systems support and helicopter maintenance support,” said Seelhoff.

MRAP and Humvee vehicles in Kuwait

more U.S.Kuwait

[June 5 ISIL convoy coming into Iraq from Syrian territory at the al-Qa’im border crossing]

[March 16 Training at Camp Taji: “We’ll be ready for the real fight.”]
Coalition warplanes have today launched massive air strikes against an ISIL convoy coming into Iraq from Syrian territory at the al-Qa’im border crossing. The convoy included more than 40 armored vehicles and some mobile military equipment.

Iraqi Army troops move along the frontline April 14, 2015 near Al-Karmah, in Anbar Province, Iraq

Iraqi Army troops move along the frontline April 14, 2015 near Al-Karmah, in Anbar Province, Iraq

[April 14 ]

May 28, 2010 Taji-Bucks est. 2007. In December 2004 and until October 2010, Camp Taji reportedly boasted the largest PX facilities in Iraq, with Subway, Burger King and Pizza Hut franchises. Of some 106 bases used by the United States in Iraq, Camp Taji is considered one of 14 “enduring” bases.

The 300 American soldiers here, with a smaller number of United States Marines at Al Asad air base in Anbar Province, are the only American soldiers deployed outside Baghdad.
Sgt. Ali Mesin Hamid, the Iraqi squad leader, was clearly appreciative. “We’ve never had training this good,” he said after his men went through the exercise, exulting at having hit all the targets. “We’ll be ready for the real fight.” With the Taji training site running at maximum capacity, as it is now, that means the program will reach at most about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers by the end of this year, probably far less. The Marines at Al Asad train smaller numbers of regular soldiers.
Colonel Schwemmer said he was stunned at the state in which he found the Iraqi soldiers when he arrived here. “It’s pretty incredible,” he said. “I was kind of surprised. What training did they have after we left?” Apparently, not much. The current, woeful state of the Iraqi military raises the question not so much of whether the Americans left too soon, but whether a new round of deployments for training will have any more effect than the last.

Camp Taji [East of Nahiyat al Karmah]

Camp Taji [East of Nahiyat al Karmah]

<a id=”brigade”>Kuwait</a>

 

 

 

 

 

[March 12 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrived at Camp Buehring, Kuwait]

 Southwest Asia – “Pacesetters” of 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, download an M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer, March 9, 2015. Army Soldiers partnered with Air Force Airmen to safely transport the M109A6 Paladin.

Southwest Asia – “Pacesetters” of 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, download an M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer, March 9, 2015. Army Soldiers partnered with Air Force Airmen to safely transport the M109A6 Paladin.

March 4, 2015. The transfer of authority ceremony, held on Camp Buehring, Kuwait, officially signified the passing of mission from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team “Devil” brigade, 1st Infantry Division, to 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Iron” brigade, 4th Infantry Division beginning the next chapter in the U.S. and regional partnership mission in the region.March 6, 2015 CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — The “Iron Knights” of 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrived at Camp Buehring, Kuwait over the last several weeks.
more 3rd Brigade

[March 10 Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Kadhem Mohamed Fares Abu Kaf claims IS leader killed]

“The ISIL military commander in al-Baghdadi, Sheikh Awwad al-Satouri, and four bodyguards have been killed in a joint military operation carried out by the Iraqi forces in western Anbar,” said Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Kadhem Mohamed Fares Abu Kaf.
March 6 “precise and effective airstrikes on enemy positions in and around Al Baghdadi” help clear towns]

Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters from the Anbar region successfully cleared Al Baghdadi of ISIL

Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters from the Anbar region successfully cleared Al Baghdadi of ISIL

Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said in a news release that it had delivered “precise and effective airstrikes on enemy positions in and around Al Baghdadi, in support of the Iraqi government’s fight against ISIL.” According to CJTF-OIR, Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters from the Anbar region successfully cleared Al Baghdadi of ISIL, retaking both the town’s police station and three Euphrates River bridges, which had been held by the terror group since September. Additionally, CJTF-OIR said Iraqi security forces, with coalition support, succeeded in pushing ISIL from seven villages northwest of Al Baghdadi on the road to Hadithah.

[February 25 Families displaced from Al Baghdadi District, Anbar province]
Combined Joint Task Force [CJTF] – Operation Inherent Resolve News Release February 24, 2015 Iraq
* Near Al Asad, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL IED location. The following strikes took place between 8a.m., Feb. 22, and 8 a.m., Feb. 23, local time. These airstrikes were inadvertently omitted from yesterday’s release. * Near Al Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

[February 23 al-Baghdadi in Anbar province: Iraqi security forces begin a military operation]

Iraqi special operations forces (ISOF) in al-Baghdadi, western Anbar uploaded 2:08 ET February 23 2015

Iraqi special operations forces (ISOF) in al-Baghdadi, western Anbar uploaded 2:08 ET February 23 2015

“I believe a major victory will be achieved in the next few hours if our forces maintain a steady advance,”

Iraq’s Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi said Iraqi security forces began a military operation on Sunday ,February 22,to drive Islamic State fighters out of the western town of al-Baghdadi in Anbar province. “I believe a major victory will be achieved in the next few hours if our forces maintain a steady advance,” he said. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi noted that international support to Iraq had increased in recent days, his office said, without giving details. He also pointed to progress “mobilizing and recruiting people in Nineveh, Anbar and Salahuddin to liberate them from terrorist gangs” referring to the main areas of Islamic State control.

[February 22 Ayn al-Asad base, about 1,000 U.S. troops arrived February 21, reported]

Guests, service members and journalists came to see one of the last convoys of service members cross the border from Iraq into Kuwait on Dec. 18 [2011] . The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was the last unit out of Iraq. The soldiers were welcomed into Kuwait by soldiers from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command and 3rd Army.

Guests, service members and journalists came to see one of the last convoys of service members cross the border from Iraq into Kuwait on Dec. 18 [2011] . The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was the last unit out of Iraq. The soldiers were welcomed into Kuwait by soldiers from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command and 3rd Army.

[

[February 22] There are reports that a broad military operation will be launched within the next few hours, accompanied by about 1,000 U.S. troops who arrived at the base yesterday evening.

[February 20] Supplies and weaponry have been arriving February 19 and will be deployed soon to take part in the military effort at al Baghdadi.
{February 15] an armored brigade has reached the Ayn al-Asad base to take part in the military operations in and around Baghdadi. Which, Whose

primary hub

[February 15 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division back to Kuwait, the primary hub for troops moving in and out of Iraq]

3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, will serve as U.S. Central Command’s Reserve force in the Middle East. The Army has kept a brigade in Kuwait since the end of the Iraq war in 2011. Those soldiers, including two units from Fort Carson, have worked to train local troops from throughout the Middle East. In its most recent deployment to Kuwait, Fort Carson’s 2nd Brigade Combat team conducted training missions with allies including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, which have joined the coalition against Islamic State fighters. For years, Kuwait has been the primary hub for troops moving in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of the troops there were merely transiting through on their way to war or back home. December 29th, 2014: U.S. has stockpiled over 3000 military vehicles, mostly mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), in a depot in Kuwait.

MRAP and Humvee vehicles in Kuwait

[February 12 Not a combat mission: resolution to Congress asking to authorize the use of force against ISIL]


Commander in Chief Barack Obama sent a draft resolution to Congress asking to authorize the use of force against ISIL.

[November 26 In Hit, Anbar: Senan Meteeb, the so-called ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province, reportedly killed]

Senan Meteeb, the so-called ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province

Senan Meteeb, the so-called ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province

An air strike in west Iraq reportedly killed on Wednesday a senior figure in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

Senan Meteeb, the so-called ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province, was reportedly killed by a coalition air raid in the Anbar city of Hit. Twenty-four other ISIS fighters were also reportedly killed.
November 25: Baghdadi and the Ayn Al-Asad Base are now the only places where preparations are being made for the campaign to liberate the rest of Anbar.

[November 24 U.S. armed Sunni Tribesmen to attack HIt – FOB Eden- Hagel resigns]

Reports from within Hit indicate that large numbers of ISIL gunmen have been fleeing the town following the announcement of the impending operation to liberate the town.
“Tactically, the guerrilla army would avoid any confrontation with large units of enemy troops, but seek and eliminate small groups of soldiers to minimize losses and exhaust the opposing force. ”
In the areas around Hit today, Iraqi aircraft dropped large quantities of leaflets, calling on the civilian population to leave the town immediately in preparation for a major military operation in the town. Eyewitnesses are reporting that hundreds of families have been leaving since this morning, making their way to Baghdadi, Haditha, and also toward the capital, Baghdad, and other parts of Iraq.
Also today, security forces have airlifted military equiment to the Ayn Al-Asad military base in Baghdadi, describing the equipment as being sufficient for implementing a military operation to liberate Hit from ISIL forces. The areas around the Fedayee Hit have also been brought under security forces control.

The Vietnam and Algerian wars have demonstrated that the overwhelming conventional military superiority of major powers is no guarantee against their defeat in wars against small nations. For external powers such wars are necessarily “limited,” which constrains escalation above certain levels. With no direct survival interest at stake, fighting the war does not take automatic priority over the pursuit of other social, political, and economic objectives. Prosecuting the war consumes resources—economic, human, and political—which are thus not available for the pursuit of these other objectives. In the absence of a quick victory this creates the potential for those political divisions which historically have shifted the balance of forces in the metropolis in favor of withdrawal. For the insurgents, the fact of invasion and occupation generates cohesion, minimizes constraints on mobilization, and maximizes the willingness to incur costs. Precisely the opposite effects tend to characterize the war effort of the external power. A conceptual framework for the analysis of the evolution and outcome of such conflicts is presented and its applications and limitations discussed.
Andrew Mack – World Politics / Volume 27 / Issue 02 / January 1975, pp 175 – 200
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure from President Barack Obama’s Cabinet,. He has battled behind the scenes with Rice , about the National Security Council’s micromanagement of national security and the growing centralization of decision-making by the White House, even sending her a memo sharply critical of the administration’s strategy for Syria.
Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey have sought to preserve maneuvering room for U.S. commanders to send troops to Iraq to help Iraqis in their battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
http://www.c-span.org/video/?193594-1/book-discussion-soldiers-promise

[November 24 Turkey bombs P.K.K. from former U.S. bases, U.S. airstrikes support P.K.K. in Kobani]

Pirinçlik Air Base, U.S. closed 1997, Diyarbakır, r

Pirinçlik Air Base, U.S. closed 1997, Diyarbakır, r

Kürecik Air Base, U.S. closed 2010, in Malatya, Malatya, which the U.S. now wants to use for support,r

Kürecik Air Base, U.S. closed 2010, in Malatya, Malatya, which the U.S. now wants to use for support

“Today there were American air strikes throughout the day, which is a first. And sometimes we saw one plane carrying out two strikes, dropping two bombs at a time, the strikes are still continuing. In the afternoon, Islamic State intensified its shelling of the town The fact that they’re not conducting face-to-face, close distance fight but instead shelling the town from afar is evidence that they have been pushed back a bit.”

Turkish warplanes struck positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the P.K.K., in southeastern Turkey late October 13.
“Turkish F-16 and F-4 warplanes which took off from (bases in the southeastern provinces of) Diyarbakir and Malatya.
The dynamic of twisted allegiances has been on display in the fight for Kobani. While Turkey took military action against the P.K.K., the United States ramped up its bombing runs over Kobani in support of the P.K.K.’s Syrian splinter group, the Democratic Union Party, or P.Y.D. — even though the United States and its European allies have listed the P.K.K. as a terrorist group.

[October 14 Militants occupy Hit military camp, with all its equipment and very large quantities of munitions, Forward Operations Base Eden 2003]

ISIL gunmen today took control of the Hit military camp, with all its equipment and very large quantities of munitions. The seizure followed fierce clashes and bombardment exchanges that continued for about 8 hours between last night and this morning.
Also today, gunmen have seized Al-Doulab village in the Baghdadi township. Along with the military camp, these are considered ‘sensitive’ strategic centers lying between the eastern and western regions of Anbar Province.

Forward Operations Base Eden, Hit, former presidential palace site
On 05 May 2003 Company B/54 (-) moved to FOB Eden, 94th Military Police Brigade-Reserve unit out of Saco , Maine assigned to F.O.B. Eden have been some of the chief players in getting the local police force up and running. They have worked with 3d squadron to enforce the Coalition mandated curfew and worked with groups like PSYOP and Civil Affairs to ensure the local police get the support of the community. They have also provided escorts for U.S. and Coalition convoys in their area.

[October 13 Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib has been infiltrated, airport threatened ]

Abu Ghraib, only 40 kilometers (24 miles) from Baghdad

Abu Ghraib, eight miles from the city’s airport

Islamic State fighter wielding what appeared to be MANPADS - Man Portable Air Defense System- it has the characteristics of an SA-18 and other Soviet MANPADS.

Islamic State fighter wielding what appeared to be MANPADS – Man Portable Air Defense System- it has the characteristics of an SA-18 and other Soviet MANPADS.

 Baghdad Central Correctional Facility or BCCF at Abu Ghraib 2007

Baghdad Central Correctional Facility or BCCF at Abu Ghraib 2007

When ISIS fighters were within 20 to 25 kilometers of the strategically important Baghdad airport, Apache helicopters were called in to assist Iraqi forces. The strikes, were launched Ocxtober 4-6 amid heavy fighting in the western approaches to Baghdad, around both Fallujah and Hit. AH-64 Apache attack helicopters were deployed to Baghdad International Airport in June to provide protection for U.S. military and diplomatic facilities.
An outer suburb of Baghdad located only eight miles from the city’s airport has now been breached. The suburb of Abu Ghraib has been infiltrated by ISIS militants who are currently engaging in hit-and-run style attacks on local Iraqi security forces. According to the Institute for the Study of War, ISIS controlled most of the territory from Qaim on the Syrian border to the city of Abu Ghraib, only 40 kilometers (24 miles) from Baghdad, as of October 7.

[October 12 Dutch and U.S. planes strike near Tal Afar and Hit in Anbar ]

The U.S. military is conducting air strikes in Iraq against the Islamic State, two-thirds of them, the majority, are from bases. The U.S. military will not disclose where the warplanes being deployed over Iraq are based, citing political sensitivities. The Pentagon has relied on several large air bases it has built up in the region

The U.S. military is conducting air strikes in Iraq against the Islamic State, two-thirds of them, the majority, are from bases. The U.S. military will not disclose where the warplanes being deployed over Iraq are based, citing political sensitivities. The Pentagon has relied on several large air bases it has built up in the region

Ali Al Salem Air Base (ICAO: OKAS) is a military airbase situated in Kuwait, approximately 23 miles from the Iraqi border

Ali Al Salem Air Base (ICAO: OKAS) is a military airbase situated in Kuwait, approximately 23 miles from the Iraqi border

U.S. and Dutch militaries also carried out three airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq near Tal Afar and Hit on October 10-11. The air strike north of Tal Afar struck a small Islamic State unit and destroyed an armed vehicle, while two small units of the group were targeted in two strikes northwest of Hit.

The actions of the fighter aircraft are coordinated from the Joint Forces Air Component Command in Kuwait. Dutch officers are among the staff working at this joint command post. The Netherlands is contributing:
• 6 F-16s (plus 2 reserve aircraft);
250 military personnel (flight personnel and personnel for maintenance, weapon and communication systems, mission planning and logistics)

[October 11 Sunni Militants advancing from Hit towards Ramadi, shades of 2006]

Euphrates River in Ramadi, Iraq, taken April 23, 2008 from a U.S. Marine Corps UH-1N Huey Helicopter flown by Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Euphrates River in Ramadi, Iraq, taken April 23, 2008 from a U.S. Marine Corps UH-1N Huey Helicopter flown by Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

ISIL gunmen have launched an assault on Hit, in an attempt to seize control of the southern and southwestern sectors which they have not been able to seize since their first attack on the town. Clashes and bombardment targeted a number of the town’s districts. 3 civilians have been killed and 7 wounded.

Most of the areas lying between Hit and Ramadi are not controlled by either the security forces or the gunmen, and there have been clashes there, with both sides trying to establish control.

 2006 Feb 6, In Iraq 3 US Marines were killed by a bomb blast in Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad. Toby Keith while visiting Hit, Iraq. June 04, 2007


2006 Feb 6, In Iraq 3 US Marines were killed by a bomb blast in Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad. Toby Keith while visiting Hit, Iraq. June 04, 2007

US troops take cover from small arms fire while investigating a car bomb explosion in Tameem, Ramadi, August 10, 2006

US troops take cover from small arms fire while investigating a car bomb explosion in Tameem, Ramadi, August 10, 2006

[October 7 U.S. Apache helicopters attacking Sunni Militants west of Baghdad, as in 2007

 AH-64D Apache flying over Baghdad, Iraq in 2007


AH-64D Apache flying over Baghdad, Iraq in 2007

WASHINGTON—Four “strikes northeast of Falluja struck two mortar teams, a large ISIL unit and two small ISIL units,” because Iraqi forces were close to ISIS forces, the Apaches were used because they fly low and can strike with precision. Apache AH-64 helicopters come equipped with a wider array of sensors and targeting devices than other aircraft used in the military. [October 6] The triangle formed by Fallujah, Garma, and Samarra is now (as of noon today) in ISIL hands following the withdrawal of the army units from that area.
In Ramadi, there is astonishment over the decision to withdraw of army units from the residential districts of Anbar’s cities and towns; the Anbar Council has once again called for the replacement of the Anbar Operations commander, Gen. Rashid Flayyih; it has also warned that the coming few hours will be disastrous unless positive steps are taken to spare the governorate a further expansion by ISIL forces. Only three areas –
Baghdadi which is the location of the Ayn al-Asad military base, Sufiya, and Habbaniya – are still controlled by security forces. Al Asad Airbase (ICAO: ORAA) was the second largest US military airbase in Iraq and is located in the largely Sunni western Province of Iraq Al Anbar.

President George W. Bush, center, stands over a map as he is briefed at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, Sept. 3, 2007

President George W. Bush, center, stands over a map as he is briefed at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, Sept. 3, 2007

[October 6 RAF planes bomb Ramadi…heard this song before?]

Ramadi, Anbar, what a victory, twice... three times?

Ramadi, Anbar, what a victory, twice… three times?

Paveway smart bomb adaptation

Paveway smart bomb adaptation, cost £13698 plus bomb

Two RAF Tornado jets used Paveway guided bombs to attack militants who were firing on Iraqi troops from a building near Ramadi, west of Baghdad.General Lord Richards says “It isn’t actually a counter-terrorist operation, this is a conventional enemy.”

After Cyprus won independence in 1960, it opposed the 250 square kilometres of land Britain retained as “sovereign” territory for two miliary bases being used in offensive action against neighbouring Arab states. But Cyprus sees ISIL’s staggering brutality as a threat.
President Nicos Anastasiades, a conservative elected last year, has swiftly reoriented Cyprus’s foreign policy, bringing it closer to the West after five years of rule by a communist-led government that leaned more towards Russia. Some Gulf Arab states, where recession-hit Cyprus is trying to drum up investment, are part of the coalition against ISIL and involved in the US-led bombing of the terrorist organisation in Iraq and Syria.

Brimstone missile (UK)

Brimstone missile (UK)

RAF planes bomb Islamic State targets in Iraq for the first time. In the course of an armed reconnaissance mission , based in Cyprus, from RAF Akrotiri, two Tornados were tasked to assist Kurdish troops in north-west Iraq who were under attack from Isil (Isis) terrorists”,The Tornado patrol subsequently identified an Isis armed pick-up truck in the same area and conducted an attack on the vehicle using a Brimstone missile. [cost: £175,000 inc development, weight, 48.5 kg. A Toyota Tacoma weighs about 1247 kg.]

[September 29 And so it goes: somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.]

U.S. Iraq casualties since 2003

House Speaker John Boehner:
“At some point somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”
“American?” Stephanopoulos asked…somebody’s boots have to be there.”
“If no one else will step up, would you recommend putting American boots on the ground?”
“We have no choice,”

[August 12 Save the Yazidis: American forces in direct confrontation with Sunni fighters]

The U.S. is weighing a military mission in Iraq that risks putting American forces in direct confrontation with Sunni fighters for the Islamic State.

The US has sent another 130 US military personnel to Iraq on what the Pentagon described as a temporary mission to lay the groundwork for a rescue of thousands of displaced Yazidis trapped on Sinjar Mountain.

Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary announced the deployment saying that “this is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation”.

Another defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the extra troops were Marines and special operations forces whose mission was to assess the situation in the Sinjar area and to develop additional humanitarian assistance options beyond current US efforts there.

The 130 troops, who are in addition to 250 US military advisers already in Baghdad and Erbil, arrived on Tuesday in the city of Erbil, well east of Sinjar.

Even in Europe the process of creating national identities accepted by the masses was long and difficult and in some ways and places is not complete. Indeed one could ask if that process is is complete in the US.

W. Patrick Lang

[August 11 Biden called Iraqi President Fouad Massoum and Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Ibadi to express U.S. support]

Fouad Massoum, Iraq’s new president, on August 11 nominated Haider al-Ibadi, the deputy parliament speaker to form the new government, in a televised address.

Al-Ibadi, was nominated for the post by the Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition of Shia parties that al-Maliki’s State of Law is part of, but has turned against. The White House says Biden called Iraqi President Fouad Massoum and Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Ibadi August 11 to express U.S. support

[August 10Pro-Maliki Shi’ite militias station a tank at the entrance to Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings.]
Special forces loyal to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad on August 10 after he delivered a tough speech indicating he would not cave in to pressure to drop a bid for a third term, police sources said. After al-Maliki’s speech, Brett McGurk, a deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, expressed support for Massoum. Note he tweeted after Maliki and before Massoum

Pro-Maliki Shi’ite militias stepped up patrols in the capital, police said. An eyewitness said a tank was stationed at the entrance to Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings.

In a speech on state television, Maliki accused Iraq’s Kurdish President Fouad Masoum of violating the constitution by missing a deadline for him to ask the biggest political bloc to nominate a prime minister and form a governmen

[August 8 Recep Erdogan wins Turkey’s first presidential election]

Recep Erdogan is predicted to win Turkey’s first presidential election.
To claim victory and become president after the first round on Sunday, Erdogan must secure an absolute majority of the popular vote. If he fails, he will have to go to a runoff against the candidate with the second highest percentage – widely expected to be Ihsanoglu – on 24 August.

Analysts point out that a failure to claim first round victory would be a catastrophe for Erdogan and the AKP.

“Going into a second round would be a major defeat for the AKP and would represent a detrimental blow to the legitimacy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as president,” said Gencer Özcan, professor for international relations at Bilgi University in Istanbul. “It would put in question his project to change the constitution and transform Turkey’s government into a presidential system.”

[August 7 Save Qaraqosh? Administration is considering US air strikes and air drops in Iraq]

The Obama administration is considering US air strikes and humanitarian air drops to help besieged religious minorities chased up a mountain by militants in Iraq.
The move comes as Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian city, was all but abandoned as the jihadist group Islamic State (Isis) advanced through minority communities in the country’s north-west and towards the Kurdish stronghold of Irbil.
Over the past several weeks, hundreds of American “advisers” – mostly elite military forces – have established joint operations centres in Baghdad and in the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil. Those operations centres host US forces capable of spotting for potential air strikes.
One option for US air missions is to launch from Incirlik air base, which the Americans share with the Turks and Britain’s RAF, just outside the city of Adana on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coastline.
In the absence of central government authority, Shia militias are taking dominant roles, amplifying sectarian enmity between Islam’s two most dominant sects.
Without any protection, Yazidis, Christians and Turkmen are being uprooted from communities they have lived in for millennia and the geo-social fabric of Iraq is being rapidly shredded.
The past 11 years of war and insurrection since the US invasion have led to most of Iraq’s Christians fleeing. Numbers have plummeted starkly from an estimated one million before 2003 to around 150,000 now. A large number of those who remain are now displaced.
The capital of the Kurdish north is already home to a new Chaldean Christian community, which fled Baghdad in the wake of an Isis-led massacre inside a cathedral in October 2010. Many fleeing Christians have headed for the Ainkawa neighbourhood, which is home to Baghdad’s Christian exiles. Incirlik in Syria civil war

[November 14 2011 [Predators from Iraq moving to Turkey]

Adana-Incirlik Air Force Base

Adana-Incirlik Air Force Base

Four Predator drones are flying out of Incirlik Air Base, a joint U.S.-Turkish military installation as part of a joint Turkish-American counterterrorism operation in northern Iraq, with U.S. troops scheduled to leave Iraq by year’s end.
U.S. forces have been flying the drones from Iraqi bases since 2007.

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About huecri

Publishing on the Web is a fairly iterative process. ...NYT ...Not too long ago, reporters were the guardians of scarce facts delivered at an appointed time to a passive audience. Today we are the managers of an overabundance of information and content, discovered, verified and delivered in partnership with active communities. summer 2012 issue of Nieman Reports from Harvard, --- THE FIX by Chris Cillizza, WAPO blogger, quoting Matt Drudge: “We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices,” he said in the speech. “Every citizen can be a reporter.” Later, he added: “The Net gives as much voice to a 13 year old computer geek like me as to a CEO or Speaker of the House. "
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