Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Intense attack on Diwaniyah XV/07

So the latest from Diwaniyah , its been comparatively quiet for a while but that (yet again) just changed in a hurry -

July 2 Blackanthem reports that
Insurgents targeted Camp Echo and the surrounding area with as many as 75 mortars and rockets in the early hours of July 2. Coalition Forces responded to the threat with an F-16 air strike on identified points of origin of the attack.
75? That is astounding. That is no longer hit and run. It doesn't happen in a minute or two unless there is a whole battery firing. In either case there is enough time and/or target to respond.
At around 2.00 a.m. Camp Echo and near-by residents of Diwaniyah City suffered a barrage of indiscriminate mortar fire and rocket attacks from insurgents operating in the Al Jumuri district. About 25 mortars and rockets struck within the perimeter of Camp Echo, injuring 3 Coalition Soldiers. The remaining 50 rounds impacted outside of the base in the surrounding neighborhood.
That implies that Echo is surrounded by civilian homes, which is not entirely true. The lack of collateral damage if missing Echo is one of the factors which allows the insurgents to fire at will.
Coalition Forces identified a number of launch points for this attack and directed two F16 aircraft to respond. The aircraft targeted and bombed the insurgent launch sites.

The bulk of the attacks were conducted from Salim Street, where insurgents persistently use urban areas from which to attack, in order to use civilians as human shields. Coalition Forces are reviewing the incident to ensure that appropriate and proportionate force was used in responding to the intense attack.
"Reviewing the incident"? They just had to finally respond to 75 shots inbound, but oh man, what did they actually bomb? The Latvians have left and there is no infantry to send or what?

Air strikes into urban terrain tend to be comparatively ineffectual and with massive collateral damage, making them rather counterproductive. Indescriminate US air strikes are considered one of the prime factors driving support for insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. William Lind puts it best in his recent note The Perfect (Sine) Wave:
To put it bluntly, there is no surer or faster way to lose in 4GW than by calling in airstrikes. It is a disaster on every level. Physically, it inevitably kills far more civilians than enemies, enraging the population against us and driving them into the arms of our opponents. Mentally, it tells the insurgents we are cowards who only dare fight them from 20,000 feet in the air. Morally, it turns us into Goliath, a monster every real man has to fight.
Reuters reports local hospital sources that 10 civilians including children and 30 wounded (Iraqslogger makes that 13 and 30). Needless to say, that ain't going to make no friends. In the weakly linked cause-and-effect state that is the arab mind the 75 mortar bombs may well be considered as retribution for the bombing.

Unsurprisingly, Iraqslogger reports that the locals are hopping mad, that tensions are high and could break out at any moment. Figure to see more and bigger payback coming up for Echo.

Diwaniyah coverage drawdown.

Since the Latvian Infantry company has withdrawn from that unhappy den of mortar targets, Camp Echo at Diwaniyah, mine own small news roundup from Diwaniyah is more or less drawing to a close.

Apologies to the regular readers, for I see that a small group of folks presumably with relatives in Diwaniyah and/or Echo, have made this blog a daily stop. The Fort Myer's News Press even quoted The Rearguard in a story,
Here’s one of the entries she reads on a blog she checks every day. “June 13-14: During the night Camp Echo in Diwaniyah is hit four times by rockets and/or mortars, and Camp Delta in Al Kut twice. The Mahdi army is busy these days. Four times in one night, that’s a new low in hostility. We are real close to the “Hourly attack on Diwaniyah” here.”
Irritatingly, the jackals failed to attribute or link.

However I will keep an eye on Diwaniyah for the moment, since it appears to have gone hot again.

Latvian infantry withdraws from Iraq

On June 19th Latvia has finally withdrawn the infantry from Iraq as promised by the MoD, for which there is much rejoicing.
  • 4 years
  • 1150 soldiers
  • 3 killed
  • $40 million
For my opinion the last two are terribly expensive. The whole of the Iraq is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.

actually posted an article. So much for even handed coverage of the coalition of the willing, this the first and only one so much as mentioning Latvian participation in the coalition entitled "Latvian Troops Head Home : Baltic State Ends MNF Deployment".

However, Latvia has not withdrawn from OIF entirely, just the infantry (TVNet).