More evidence that Chimpy W. McBushitler's strategery is working. (See Previous Military, and Strategic / Political results from previous week.) No doubt that successes such as this over the coming months will only be used as reasons for us to defeat ourselves in the War On Terror.
Iraqis: at Least 200 Insurgents Killed
Jan 29 12:23 PM US/Eastern
By SINAN SALAHEDDIN
Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi officials said Monday that U.S.-backed Iraqi troops had targeted a religious cult called "Soldiers of Heaven" in a weekend battle that left 200 fighters dead, including the group's leader, near the Shiite holy city of Najaf. A military commander said hundreds of gunmen planned to disguise themselves as pilgrims and kill clerics on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar.
The Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said the raid on Sunday in date-palm orchards on the city's outskirts was aimed against a group called the Jund al-Samaa, or Soldiers of Heaven, which appeared to have had links to Saddam Hussein loyalists and foreign fighters. Officials said the cult was hoping the violence it planned would force the return of the "hidden imam," a 9th-century Shiite saint who Shiites believe will come again to bring peace and justice to the world.
Both Mohammed al-Askari, the defense ministry spokesman, and an Iraqi military commander in charge of the Najaf area said 200 terrorists were killed and 60 wounded, lowering previous estimates. Maj. Gen. Othman al-Ghanemi, the commander of the 8th Division that is in charge of Najaf, said 150 had been captured, while al-Askari put that figure at 120.
President Bush said the fight was as indication that Iraqis were beginning to take control.
"My first reaction on this report from the battlefield is that the Iraqis are beginning to show me something," Bush told NPR.
The fighting began Sunday and ended Monday. U.S. officials said an American military helicopter crashed during the battle, killing two soldiers on board, but gave no further details. Al-Ghanemi said the aircraft was shot down. It was the second U.S. military helicopter to crash in eight days.
Authorities said Iraqi soldiers supported by U.S. aircraft fought all day Sunday with a large group of insurgents in the Zaraq area, about 12 miles northeast of the Shiite holy city of Najaf.
U.S. and British jets bombed and strafed the militants, the U.S. Air Force said Monday. U.S. F-16s and A-10 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on insurgent positions, the Air Force said.
Provincial Gov. Assad Sultan Abu Kilel said the insurgents had planned to attack Shiite pilgrims and senior clerics in Najaf during ceremonies marking Ashoura, the holiest day in the Shiite calendar commemorating the 7th-century death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The celebration culminates Tuesday in huge public processions in Najaf, Karbala and other Shiite cities.
Or, as Mort Kondracke posited on Saturday night, it's not unlikely that despite successes that might occur over the next few months in Iraq, the media and the Dems are unlikely to recognize it as such. Kondracke recalled that the military successes in the waning days of South Vietnam (and how they were ignored by the US) were what eventually led him to disavow liberalism.
As the following months progress, those of us with the will to win in the WOT must not let those with the will to lose the WOT overcome us.
ARC: St Wendeler