DoD News: Operational Update on Fallujah, Iraq
This press conference:with Marine Colonel Regner, the G-3 or Operations Officer, for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, contains several interesting tidbits. Among them: -precision-targeting by airstrikes in Iraq has at times been ultimately decided by Allawi himself -A Civil-military operations center (CMOC) has been set up in Fallujah adjacent to the provisional mayor's office, as a precursor to reconstruction efforts. And, this update on actions in Ramadi: "Colonel, this is Eric Schmidt with The New York Times. I wonder if you could give us a feel on what's going on in Ramadi today. To what extent is the fighting there intensifying? And maybe just the same general question; how much of that city is secured by American forces and how much of it is contested right now?" REGNER: "Okay, Eric. In regards to Ramadi, the provincial center of the Al Anbar Province, there has been challenges in Ramadi. Do we control Ramadi? Yes, we do. We have a couple of battalions there. We don't always have the fortunate manpower strength to put two battalions in Ramadi, but in the last 48 hours, because we've had two battalions there operating throughout, the numbers of caches that we have found and the number of terrorists that have either been killed or captured has reached a higher level than it has been in the past." "Do we control Ramadi? Yes, we control it, but again, it is not at this time a cleared city, because as everyone probably realizes, some of these terrorists decided not to go against the might of the Iraqi army, as well as the American forces, and they have escaped that -- our city of Fallujah and moved on to -- in fact moved into Ramadi or some of the other cities that are in the area." "It has been -- for about a week now, it's been tougher in Ramadi, but I think we've measured up to that with the strength that we've put in that. And we've put a different battalion than normally operates in there, and so the enemy -- you know, the enemy, some of these guys are former military, and they study you just like we study them. And when a new force comes in, it throws them off guard. And we've been very successful in Ramadi." ---- It would appear from these statements that an offensive in Ramadi has either been concurrent with the Fallujah battle, already started in the wake of the Fallujah battle, or ongoing since before Fallujah, and perhaps a Fallujah-scale assault is not necessary there. Combine these facts with the reports that sheiks and clerics in Ramadi have urged the citizens to give up the terrorists, and it paints a picture of progress in securing and clearing Ramadi.