Heavy Fighting Near Najaf

#1
Heavy fighting is ongoing near Najaf. Over 250 bad guys have been killed in the fighting that continues into the night. A chopper supporting US/Iraqi troops is down in the area.
 
#6
Apparantly this little band of merry men - now 250 down on the start figure - are ...

Unnamed Iraqi sources said that the insurgents were from a previously unknown militant group calling themselves the Army of Heaven, or Soldiers of Heaven.

Asaad Abu Gilel, the governor of Najaf province, said that the gunmen had been intent on attacking Shia clerics and pilgrims marking the holy festival of Ashura.

"They are well-equipped and they even have anti-aircraft missiles. They are backed by some locals," he said.
Now, I'm sure we've been told on more than one occasion by our spam visitors that Najaf was a luvverly and peaceful place. Seems the good news bubble has burst completely. Has the US got an spare troops to "surge" into other Iraqi cities in addition to Baghdad?
 
#7
merkator said:
Apparantly this little band of merry men - now 250 down on the start figure - are ...

Unnamed Iraqi sources said that the insurgents were from a previously unknown militant group calling themselves the Army of Heaven, or Soldiers of Heaven.

Asaad Abu Gilel, the governor of Najaf province, said that the gunmen had been intent on attacking Shia clerics and pilgrims marking the holy festival of Ashura.

"They are well-equipped and they even have anti-aircraft missiles. They are backed by some locals," he said.
Now, I'm sure we've been told on more than one occasion by our spam visitors that Najaf was a luvverly and peaceful place. Seems the good news bubble has burst completely. Has the US got an spare troops to "surge" into other Iraqi cities in addition to Baghdad?
Where did You get Your quote from Merks - it seems to be at odds with T6s assertion that the gunmen were Shia
 
#8
BBC

Reuters says:
Shi'ite political sources said the gunmen appeared to be both Sunni Arabs and Shi'ites loyal to a cleric called Ahmed Hassani.
and

The governor of Najaf province said Iraqi troops fought a day-long battle with up to 200 Sunni gunmen, including foreign fighters, holed up in orchards on the northern outskirts of the city, seat of Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite clerics.

Governor Asaad Abu Gilel told Reuters the authorities had uncovered a plot to kill some of the clerics on Monday, to coincide with the climax of Ashura
But you'd hardly expect him to blame his own people would you???
 
#9
I'm wondering whether this "cleric called Ahmed Hassani" (as Reuters reports) and cleric Mahmud al-Hassani (also called al-Sharkhi) are one and the same. This latter chap, although a shia, enjoys getting his band of merry men to shoot at and blow up fellow shias in Karbala. Been making a nuisance of himself for the past few months.

Now then Gen. Tomahawk6 US Army retd., what's your analysis on today's events: shia and sunni joining forces to battle US military and Iraqi army forces?

I'll just bring up one of your earlier predictions:
At some point the only coalition troops in Iraq may be advisors, which is a goal that we should all hope to see.
Can't fault your wording. But how long are we to wait for "At some point" to arrive. Remember, you made this telling comment over 2 years ago! Bet you weren't anticipating having to increase troops by 20,000+ then, were you?
 
#10
What do you propose merkator. Surely there is a duty to at least try and stabalize the place, or should it be a case of cut and run? The mess has been made, its got to be cleaned up somehow
 
#11
The plan is to train the Iraqis (police and army) so that they can sort themselves out.When they can I am sure we will leave. Thats why we are spending thousands of man hours and millions of pounds on them. However what some of the people on arrse (the ones that have never ventured anywhere near Iraq) seem to think that is not the case.
 
#12
And to add to my last, this Mahmoud al-Hassani has been up to all sorts of naughtiness since 2003, see this BBC report.

And according to this website, he's ANTI-IRANIAN!!!!!!

Baghdad, Aug. 11 – An armed militia launched a massive raid on the offices of a prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric vehemently opposed to Iranian regime in the southern city of Basra days after a bomb went off in his office in the holy city of Karbala, Iraqi television reported.

The militia, armed with a variety of weapons and some 30 vehicles, mounted an attacked on the offices of Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud al-Hassani that had its own armed guards at 11 pm on Wednesday and fighting continued until the early hours of Thursday, the television channel ash-Sharqieh reported on Thursday.

Several fighters were killed or injured in the course of the clashes and at least two of the attackers vehicles were left charred at the scene of the fighting.

Last Friday, a bomb went off in Ayatollah al-Hassani’s office in the holy city of Karbala.

No one was injured in that attack.

Ayatollah al-Hassani is an outspoken critic of Iranian meddling in Iraq and has called for Iran’s embassy in Baghdad to be closed.

In June, his supporters held a protest outside the Iranian consulate in Karbala and torched Iran's consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

They were protesting against a program aired on Iran’s state-run satellite channel al-Kowthar against the Shiite cleric.

Iran has at least seven Arabic-language television stations and more than two dozens journals spreading its propaganda in Iraq.
All seems like a major turf-war going on. And apparently, we still can't call it a civil war.

Now then, Gen. Tomahawk6 US Army retd., what's your analysis on this one: anti-iranian shia cleric joining forces with sunnis to take a pop at US/Iraqi Army?
 
#13
SLRboy said:
Sven said:
SLRboy said:
Once again Daz a witty riposte,
I asked for that didn't I? :thumleft:
So quote it vertabrim SLRboy. Stand by what You wrote
I know precisely what I said sven - but this thread is not about me get it?
And I would stand by every word I said if I'm called upon in a more suitable place.
Tell me sven, seeing how things have panned out - would you have supported this war if you had your time again?
Yes, bacause I believe that the Iraqi people have the right to what I have, the government that my fellow countrymen chose, the right not to be put in mass graves and the right not ot have my environment taken away from me by the dictator running the country. That the post war era was badly planned for is beyond doubt and there are those who undoubtedly should have their incompetence shouted to the world and not be given a position of authority again.

I hope that the insurgency fails and the Iraqi people get the country they deserve.
 
#14
Well I went through Najaf on my way back from Dogwood end of 04. We got a load of rocks lobbed at us.It is a hotbed of insurgant training with lots of them departing from Najaf to start havoc around the rest of Iraq.I think killing them at source whilst they are all in the one area is a good plan.Thus allowing Iraq to rebuild un-hindered which will allow coalition forces to leave the place.What do you think SLR boy?
 
#15
paveway_3 said:
Well I went through Najaf on my way back from Dogwood end of 04. We got a load of rocks lobbed at us.It is a hotbed of insurgant training with lots of them departing from Najaf to start havoc around the rest of Iraq.I think killing them at source whilst they are all in the one area is a good plan.Thus allowing Iraq to rebuild un-hindered which will allow coalition forces to leave the place...
I was there--Najaf/Karbala/Al Hilla till the end of 2003. Until the Marines handed it over to the Spaniards it was a very stable and relatively peaceful town. The locals were excited about their city elections, at their insistence we ousted a corrupt police chief and the future seemed, if not bright, nowhere near the mess it became.

Then we handed it over to the Spaniards--the Spanish Legion--who, instead of engaging the locals and keeping Sadr's boys out chose to remain in garrison at the local 'college' grounds just south of town and left the city on its own. Once Sadr's boys came in armed it was downhill all the way.

All that work we did, what a f-ing tragedy.
 
#16
Ok.

This thread edited , and the detrius is now in the Arrse Hole. If you want a fight, continue it there.

My apologies to those who had a relevant point to make, but had their reply sh*tcanned because they'd quoted from a previous spat.

SLRBoy , we've had a discussion on this before. If you want to continue using this means, then start behaving in it.

For those of you that think it's big and clever to use lots of swearwords and go wildly off topic , you'll be looking at an O2 tag if you persist.

I don't expect in Current Affairs, to have to wade through 9 pages of 'Derek and Clive do Al-Najaf".

PTP
 
#18
SLR Boy,

You say that the Iraq War is the first war in which the occupying regular army have no knowledge of which group it is who is attacking them.

Surely this applies to all guerrilla insurgencies, past and present?

To pick four examples from history at random: the American Colonists in the War of Independence, the Boer settlers in the South African Wars, the French Resistance during WW2, and the NLF (called the "Viet Cong" by the US) in the Vietnam War were all guerrilla armies whose great strength was that they looked to all intents and purposes like the local population (since they were mass-based armies OF that local population). The Iraqi Insurgency is just another example of this age-old situation. In fact, if you want to go back even further in history, i think there was a battle (Teutoberger Wald, i think it was called) in either 9BC or 9AD (i think), when an entire Roman Legion was decimated in an ambush by German Tribesmen.

The horrible thing about guerrilla warfare is that since the occupying regular army cannot distinguish between the harmless civilians and the harmful ones, they then (taking the entirely rational action of wanting to save their own lives) start to "preventatively" kill civilians, on the (not unjustified) basis that if these "civilians" are not insurgents themselves, then they almost certainly sympathise with the insurgency. This of course provokes outrage amongst the civilian population as genuinely innocent people are killed, which in turn fuels support for the insurgency, which fuels the paranoia of the occupying forces, and so it goes on.

No Empire lasts forever and the one common denominator of all guerilla struggles is that they always end - ultimately - in victory for the insurgents - but only after many many good men and women of both the occupying army and the local population have lost their lives. Check each of the above historical examples if you don't believe me.

It shouldn't really need saying again, but the only people who benefit from wars are the rich. And, funnily enough, they are precisely the people who are never expected to do any fighting in them.

Does anybody really suppose that the British and US Governments would want anything to do with Iraq if that country's chief export product were, say, lettuce rather than oil? The fact that these Governments consider the young men and women of their armed forces entirely expendable in the quest to get their hands on this oil on behalf of the big business interests who control them would be a national disgrace, if it wasn't for the fact that these same big business interests also own the mass media.

The Iraqi people cannot be blamed for resisting the US Imperial occupation (would we not do the same, if an Iraqi Empire were attempting to gain control of our natural resources on behalf of Iraqi big business interests?). But, equally, the young men and women of the Western occupying armies cannot themselves be blamed for any action they take in defence of their own very vulnerable lives. The ones to blame are the Western big businessmen and their hired hands in the US and British Governments.
 
#19
Interesting headline and take on the story:

Telegraph Online said:
US and Iraqi forces kill 250 apocalyptic cult gunmen

United States and Iraqi forces killed 250 gunmen from an apocalyptic Muslim cult in a battle involving US tanks and aircraft out near the Shia holy city of Najaf yesterday, Iraqi political, army and police sources claimed.

Cont/...
I read elsewhere that the Iraqi military/police had stationed over 10,000 bods into the Najaf environs expecting trouble over the festival. Got what they expected. Hardly turned out to be much of a deterrent though, did it?

Doesn't appear the leader of this band of merry men, Ahmed Hassani al-Yemeni, is the cleric I mentionned earlier in the thread. Pheewwww! I think!
 
#20
Thanks for your reply Danby,
the point I was making though is not the one of distinguishing civilian from insurgent amongst the host population which of course is an old one.

The point I was making and was wondering is if a situation had ever existed before where an occupying armed force was faced with a variety of different insurgent groups all looking very similar but not only fighting the occupiers but themselves as well!
And all those groups being at different and no doubt flutuating levels of power.

As we all now one of the areas of counter insurgency that has some established other play it by ear rules is sometimes through secret channels reaching temporary accords with the opposition.
There is one in Afghanistan at the moment.

Both the British and the Taliban have agreed to leave a particular town alone.
Else where they still fight.

If there are a variety of insurgent groups all with differnent objectives all also having a tendancy to mutate and you also sprinkle in a variety of ruthless crimminal gangs,
Just where the hell do you go from there?

Seems to me (and I mean this jokingly) you drop a very large bomb on the place and sort it out once and for all or you work towards getting a truce between as many insurgent groups and the occupiers as you can.

That way at least every force credible in theatre gets a chance to see what their's and the other fellows positions are and one then I suppose tries to go from there.

At the moment things are beginning to look like a scene from Resevoir Dogs with everybody pointing their weapons at everyone else.
In other words a Hobesian world is coming about where everybody is against everybody else.
Also understanding counterinsurgency means understanding their networks. If there is more than one do they have networks between each other or are they completly antagonistic to some and collaborate with others?
We are talking a cats craddle here.

This of course is a most extremely unfortunate occurance and I don't think it takes a great deal of imagination to see that our friend G. Bush's idea of surging on to victory shows a complete lack of understanding of things on the ground and whose plans are more likely to excacerbate an already parlous situation.

But I'm sure the British command can see this with better knowledge than me.
 

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