Iraq situation report
A senior military officer posted in Baghdad said in an interview that some progress is being made in talks between a special subcommittee of U.S., Iraqi and Iranian officials aimed at stopping Tehran’s backing for insurgents and terrorists.
“The key point is that we are talking and that we are working all venues from diplomatic and military within Iraq to counter the external influences of foreign fighters coming into Iraq,” the officer said.
This third round of talks was held Aug. 6 in Baghdad.
On the surge efforts, the officer said, U.S. and allied forces have “pretty much cleared Baqouba” of insurgents. The city, located about 30 miles northeast of Baghdad just outside the notorious Sunni Triangle, was once among the most dangerous terrorist and insurgent operating zones.
“Food and other essential services are flowing in via Iraqi convoys,” the officer said. “We are working with the city council and provincial authorities to get other things moving as far as water, power and all the other reconstruction efforts now that the city has been cleared out.”
Marines in northeast Anbar province are continuing to go after al Qaeda terrorists near Lake Thar, the officer said. “We are going to try and drive a stake in the heart of al Qaeda in Iraq there as they have been using that area as a staging area to launch attacks against Baghdad,” the officers said.
Military operations against insurgents in Arab Jabour, at the southern belt of Baghdad, also are going well. “The Sunni sheiks are now supporting our efforts and recruiting for the [Iraqi Security Forces] and local neighborhood watch is going on,” the officer said.
Also, the Iraqi government is stepping up efforts to take on the problem of the Shi’ite militias and have not blocked U.S. forces from going after them.
Bill Gertz covers the Pentagon. He can be reached at 202/636-3274 or at email@example.com.