Winning: Iraq Combat Analysis for October


November 13, 2007: Ramadan continued into the month of October. During the final and most holy days of Ramadan, terrorist activity spiked, mostly due to Al Qaeda attacks. Total reported open source activity decreased from the previous months, which agrees with the statements on overall decreased activity. Most activity occurred in Baghdad, and the northern provinces. Notable al Qaeda activity occurred in the Tarmiyah and Samarra areas north of Baghdad. This indicates that the group has moved into those areas and out of Baghdad.

A new organization called the Political Council for the Iraqi Resistance was created during the month. The organization is comprised of Islamic nationalist groups, which have been reconciled with the government. The group is unlikely to engage in terrorist activity under the current conditions, but may act as a political organization.

In October, the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) attacked Turkish forces while using Iraqi Kurdistan as a base of operations. This has created tension between the Turkish, Iraqi, and United States governments with possible operations by the Turkish military into Iraq.

During October, al Qaeda was again the most targeted group. Most al Qaeda -related activity occurred in the Doura and Fadhl Districts of Baghdad, Arab Jabbour, Hawr Rajab, Tarmiyah area, Mosul, Samarra, and Bayji.

Key leadership losses for al Qaeda during October included: Military emir of Mahmoudiyah, Saddam Hussein's cousin and financier, Abu Duha- Mosul security emir, South Baghdad and Fadhl area emirs, New Baghdad emir, East Anbar emir, Foreign fighter facilitation emir in Bayji, Abu Obeida- North Tigris area emir, al Qaeda -linked Jaysh Mohammed emir. An "emir" is a term for a senior military commander.

On October 22, Osama bin Laden released a statement concerning al Qaeda 's past activities. In the statement, he chastised the group for attacking the local population. The statement was made in a public format as a means of public humiliation and as an apology to the moderate Muslims in the region. The statement acknowledges the number of losses al Qaeda has had over the years. With the statement, bin Laden is attempting to salvage the al Qaeda "brand" as well. Sudan is also mentioned as an alternate target for the transnational jihad movement. Since November 2006, approximately 10,100 members of the group have been killed or captured to include at least three top tier leaders.

On October 11, a new Islamic nationalist organization was formed comprising a number of nationalist and Islamic nationalist groups. The group is comprised of the Reformation and Jihad Front, Hamas of Iraq, and the Islamic Iraqi Resistance Front. These groups have shown recent steps for reconciliation and have fought al Qaeda in a number of incidents. The group announced an anti-occupation platform with concerns about the Shiite dominated government and a desire to amend the constitution. This platform is consistent with the concerns of most Sunni Iraqis. Likely the group would not be prone to attacking foreign troops, but will likely follow their namesake and engage in political activities instead.

Activity associated with Shiite groups involved mostly rogue cells from Jaysh al Mahdi (JAM). These cells are not following the cease-fires created by Muqtada al Sadr. Activity associated with these groups was located in the Sadr City, New Baghdad, and Shaab Districts of Baghdad and further north in Khalis.

On October 6, Muqtada al Sadr created an agreement with the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) to engage in combined political activity. This builds on the previous cease-fires and was likely the result of al-Sadr's falling popularity. The coalition would also provide an alternative to the Dawa Party. Some of the targeted groups belonged to the Special Groups networks operating out of Iran with assistance from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The decrease in activity associated with the group is likely due to pressure on the group and leadership changes within the IRGC.

The PKK attacked Turkish military personnel and positions during the month. The Turkish Parliament then authorized the military to engage PKK locations within Iraq. This activity has created tension between all parties involved. The purpose for the PKK attacks was likely to provoke Turkey into invading Iraqi Kurdistan and then promoting a transnational Kurdish movement to create an independent and united Kurdistan. The PKK strategy will fail due to the political power of the major tribes controlling Iraqi Kurdistan. The economic exchange between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey would possibly prevent a Turkish incursion. The major Kurdish tribes will likely use the opportunity to consolidate more control of the region. --Jonathan Henry ([email protected])




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