Friday, April 28, 2006

We almost got Zarqawi, again.

9 days before Zarqawi released his first videotape in months, the US Special Operations unit TF-145 nearly nabbed him. This article at the Armed Forces Journal is a must read. You learn that we have been close to capturing him several times. Once, thanks to intelligence provided by an Arab American member of the task force, we nearly got him in an ambush. He was only saved by being a few minutes late to the kill zone and again by a hardware glitch on a UAV.

What I find most heartening is this information:

But a key difference between this campaign and previous ones has been that Delta, which runs TF 145, has the authority to launch missions immediately based on raw intelligence. In the past, he said, Delta had never been able to do that; instead, it would have had to bring intelligence material back to the rear and have it analyzed before striking again.
Now, the source said, "People have bought off on Delta's methodology". TF 145 describes this fusion of operations and intelligence as "the unblinking eye,"said a Special Forces lieutenant colonel.
TF 145's success has been Zarqawi's loss, a special ops source said. His senior lieutenants used to be foreigners, but not anymore; TF 145 and its predecessors killed or captured them alldoesn'tHe doesn't have a foreigner working for him anymore " most of them are Iraqis. We've either captured or killed all of his foreign influence."
The foreign terrorists still coming into Iraq from Syria, he said, "are suicide bombers only, "Muslims on Spring Break." They come in through Syria, get a week of training, "Here, this is an RPG, come down and strap a bomb on them."

So we are now able to go after a target and if anything develops during the course of that operation pointing to a follow-on target, we can move immediately. That must be causing some serious heartburn for Zarqawi and his band of merry men.

But the article also points out some problems. We know about al Qaeda people in other countries that we can not reach for political reasons. We can not operate in Pakistan for political reasons. Since we can not run operations directly against Osama, we run them against the people we can reach and right now, that is Zarqawi. I wish the members of TF-145 godspeed and good hunting.


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