Coalition Forces (CF) operations continued with increased "surge"
operations because of recent reinforcements. These operations pressured
Anti-Iraqi Forces (AIF) throughout the country, especially the Baghdad area. CF
operations focused on areas surrounding Baghdad and Western Iraq. Activity
decreased in some areas of Baghdad. Activity in southern Iraq was sporadic and
affiliated to Jaish al Mahdi (JAM) and associated Shiite organizations. In the
northern half of Iraq, most activity was connected to Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
Incidents recorded were mostly attributed to either AQI or JAM. Activity
attributed to other groups could not be independently confirmed. This may be an
indication of reconciliation. AIF activity comprised 31 percent of all recorded
Operation Phantom Thunder has continued since June
16. The operation consists of four separate operations: Fardh al Qanoon in
Baghdad, Marne Torch and Marne Avalanche, southeast and south of Baghdad,
Arrowhead Ripper in Baqoubah and local areas, and Mawtani in Western Anbar. The
Fardh al Qanoon operation continued to improve security throughout Baghdad,
especially the southern districts and the northwest areas of the city. Activity
decreased in the northern part of the city, but increased other eastern areas
of the city, especially New Baghdad.
Overall, total AIF activity decreased throughout the city.
Operation Arrowhead Ripper continued to eliminate
an AQI stronghold in and around Baqoubah
. Activity in the area indicated that AQI moved from the city into nearby
areas. An additional 12 AQI fighters were killed and 156 captured since the
operation began in June. In the operations south of Baghdad, operations
included clearing the area of AIF and installing or recruiting of Iraqi
Security Forces (ISF). The operations targeted both AQI and JAM groups in the
Western Anbar operations focused on eliminated AQI
cells near the Syrian Border. The operations occurred mostly in the Euphrates
River Valley, in the area of Al Qaim and Karabila. The most significant event
for AQI in July was the capture of Khaled al-Mashhadani on July 4 in Mosul.
Al-Mashhadani was the Minister of Information for the "Islamic State of Iraq".
After his capture, he revealed that Omar Abu Abdullah al-Baghdadi, leader of
the Islamic State of Iraq, was a fictional character created by al-Mashhadani
and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of AQI, to put an Iraqi face on AQI operations.
Al-Mashhadani also worked as a connection between AQI and Al Qaeda Senior
Leadership. Without an Iraqi face on the jihad, AQI will lose local support and
be seen as a foreign element.
AQI lost regional and operational level leaders to
include local emirs and foreign fighter directors. The loss of these leaders
reduces the organizational structure and capabilities. Elimination of experienced
AQI members will play a larger role in the loss of AQI capabilities. Over 5,900
individuals have been killed or captured including top tier leaders since
November 2006, when AQI announced they supposedly had 10,000 fighters and
20,000 support personnel.
More activity in Baghdad was associated with JAM.
Mostly, these consist of murders, explosive attacks, and mortar or rocket
attacks. Due to the fragmented organization of the JAM organization, it is
difficult to distinguish the actions of particular groups. Iranian support will likely continue for JAM
as part of their strategy in the region. In July, additional evidence was found
for Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) support for parts of the
group. The discovery of Iranian-made weapons and technology show clear evidence
for this connection.
Reconciliation efforts have improved over the past
months. In the previous months, reconciliation occurred with CF operations
against AIF, especially with the 1920 Revolutionary Brigades. As Iraqi Security
Forces begin to expand and develop capabilities, reconciliation efforts will
improve but will depend on the reduction of AIF morale and motivation.
--Jonathan Henry (email@example.com)