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Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Spec-Ops On The Prowl: Target--Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

In the military, there are soldiers, and then there are the elite. The elite--the best of the best--are chosen to members of the Spec-Ops community. Among these warriros are US Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force, Marine Force Recon, and Army Rangers. But the honor of hunting down the most wanted man in Iraq has fallen to the likes of Army Delta, and SEAL Team Six (also known by their operational code of DEVGRU). Michelle Malkin was tipped off to this operation by AJ Strata. The news originates from The Marine Corps Times.

Just nine days before al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi released his latest video, a special operations raid killed five of his men, captured five others and apparently came within a couple of city blocks of nabbing Zarqawi himself.

Then, the day Zarqawi’s video debuted, special ops forces killed 12 more of his troops in a second raid in the same town.

The raids in Yusufiyah, 20 miles southwest of Baghdad in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, were the latest battles in a small, vicious war being waged largely in the shadows of the wider counterinsurgency effort.

It is a war fought by a secretive organization called Task Force 145, made up of some of the most elite U.S. troops, including Delta Force and SEAL Team 6. They have one goal: hunting down Zarqawi, Iraq’s most wanted man, and destroying his al-Qaida in Iraq organization.

Zarqawi’s escape in Yusufiyah was not the first time special ops troops have nearly had him. In early 2005, they came so close they could see the Jordanian’s panicked face as he fled.

first of the two Yusufiyah raids began at 2:15 a.m. April 16 when SEAL Team 6 operators and Army Rangers approached a terrorist safe house, a U.S. special operations source said.

A U.S. Central Command news release said “coalition forces” — the usual shorthand for Task Force 145 elements — were “searching for a wanted al-Qaida associate.”

When the U.S. troops arrived, the enemy opened fire with small arms. In the fight that followed, the special ops troops killed five terrorists, three of whom wore suicide belts, according to Central Command. “Two of the suicide bombers were killed before either could detonate his vest, and the third detonated his body bomb, killing only himself and injuring no one else,” the news release said.

A woman in the house also was killed. Three other women and a child were wounded and were medically evacuated to the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.

U.S. forces detained five other occupants, one of whom was wounded. One of the five was later confirmed as “the wanted al-Qaida terrorist for whom the troops were searching,” according to Central Command.

“The terrorist, whose name is currently being withheld, was involved in the planning and execution of improvised explosive device attacks and allegedly was associated with al-Qaida foreign fighter operations,” the command said. The other four suspects are being “assessed for knowledge of and involvement in terrorist activity,” the news release said.

Yusufiyah is Zarqawi country. Indeed, intelligence later suggested the terrorist kingpin “was probably 1,000 meters away” at the time of the raid, a special operations source said.

In addition to the suicide vests, U.S. forces recovered four AK-series assault rifles, a pistol and several grenades. In an indication of the intensity of the close-quarters, indoor battle, “one grenade was found with the pin pulled, but not yet expended, in the hand of a dead terrorist,” according to Central Command.

Among items recovered from the safe house, the special operations source said, was a video showing Zarqawi at various times in “black pajamas with New Balance running shoes on.”

The source said the video seized in Yusufiyah was the same one released April 25.

One section of the video shows Zarqawi firing an M249 squad automatic weapon outside, and another depicts him sitting inside next to an M4 assault rifle.

In the video, Zarqawi mocks President Bush, and makes clear his fierce opposition to attempts to establish democracy in Iraq.

Produced by al-Qaida in Iraq’s “Media Committee,” the video reflects “Zarqawi’s number one thing … the information campaign,” said the special ops source.

But on the same day that video was released, “coalition forces” killed 12 other fighters at another Yusufiyah safe house “associated with foreign terrorists,” according to Central Command.

The special operations source confirmed that this was another TF 145 raid. The news release said “multiple intelligence sources” led troops to the safe house. As they approached, a man ran out brandishing what Central Command described as “a shoulder-fired rocket,” which he was attempting to launch when the operators shot and killed him.

More fighters appeared and exchanged fire with the special ops troops, who were supported by helicopter machine-gun fire. The U.S. fire killed another four terrorists outside the safe house.

When those inside continued to fire, the special operators called in an airstrike that destroyed the building. A search of the rubble revealed the bodies of seven men and a woman. Each man wore webbing holding two loaded magazines and two grenades.

“The troops also discovered suicide notes on one of the terrorists [and] body bombs,” Central Command said.
U.S. forces believed two “wanted terrorists” were operating from the safe house. At press time, Central Command was still trying to identify those killed.

The job of hunting Zarqawi and rolling up his al-Qaida in Iraq network falls to Task Force 145, which is made up of the most elite U.S. and British special operations forces, and whose headquarters is in Balad.

The U.S. forces are drawn from units under Joint Special Operations Command at Pope Air Force Base, N.C. These include the military’s two “direct action” special mission units — the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, known as Delta Force, and the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, sometimes known by its cover name, Naval Special Warfare Development Group; the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and 75th Ranger Regiment; and the Air Force’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron.

After Saddam Hussein’s fall, the first order of business for the JSOC forces was capturing or killing the 55 individuals on the “deck of cards” that depicted the regime’s senior officials. Delta’s C Squadron was at the heart of the task force that captured Saddam in December 2003.

The emergence of Zarqawi and his al-Qaida in Iraq group as a major threat to Iraq’s stability then gave JSOC a new priority. As the war in Iraq has ground on, and with Zarqawi still on the loose, the JSOC force in Iraq has grown steadily and undergone several name changes. TF 121 and TF 626 were two previous incarnations.

TF 145 is divided into four subordinate task forces in Iraq:

• Task Force West, organized around a SEAL Team 6 squadron with Rangers in support.
• Task Force Central, organized around a Delta squadron with Rangers in support.
• Task Force North, organized around a Ranger battalion combined with a small Delta element.
• Task Force Black, organized around a British Special Air Service “saber squadron,” with British paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group in support.

Although Army Lt. Gen. Stan McChrystal, JSOC commander, spends much of his time in Iraq, his job there is to coordinate with Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of Central Command, and other senior leaders. The man in charge of TF 145 is the Delta Force commander, a colonel Military Times agreed not to name.

Each TF 145 element operates largely autonomously.

The O-5 commander of each task force can authorize a raid without seeking TF 145 approval.

This freedom, combined with the amount of intelligence generated on missions, creates a furious operational tempo for the TF 145 elements, which average well over a mission per day.

From 6 at night to 10 the next morning, “We’re going balls to the wall, doing hits all over the place,” the special operations source said.

I'll let readers head to the site of the report to read the rest. But needless to say, while the Left proclaims that we've "forgotten" about bin Laden and his cronies, the boots on the ground haven't. They're still looking. They're still hunting. And with TWO close calls with Zarqawi already, it's only a matter of time before he is nabbed by our troops. His luck will run out (seemingly as quickly as his men are; shame about that, don't you think?)

The fox is being tailed by the hounds, and all of his buddies that fight in his stead are getting smoked quicker than Zarqawi knows what to do about it. His video may show him to be "bold" or "brash," as some media outlets reported, but based on the reports from this strike force, he's running scared; never quite knowing if where he rests may be a hotbed very soon, or if someone in the town will tip off coalition forces to his presence.

Now, who is the terrorists here? Zarqawi is supposed to be the meanest, nastiest thing to crawl out of the desert since bin Laden. But he's acting more like Saddam Hussein, running and hiding from town to town before being run to ground in Tikrit. Where will we find the terrorists who is afraid of US forces? Who knows, but one thing is certain: When we do find him, it won't be pleasent, and we're not coddling him. He's coming back to America one of two ways.

--Either alive, in shackles, or

--Dead in an itty, bitty, ditty bag.

Personally, I prefer dead. Dead men tell no tales. Dead men haunt no dreams. And dead men never pose another threat. Yeah, death is pretty final, and I'd love to see us usher him on his way to his eternal reward. I'm not bloodthirsty. I just want our enemy defeated, and death is the easiest way to ensure that defeat.

Publius II


Blogger Leo Pusateri said...

My son is over there..

And nothing would give me greater pleasure than for him to have Zarqawi in his rifle sites...

9:40 PM  

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