General Touts Success of Joint U.S.-ICDC Operations
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2004 Thanks to joint operations, the insurgency in Iraq is less organized and more fearful than it was month ago, the commander of the 1st Armored Division said in a Baghdad news conference today.
Brig. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said that U.S. soldiers operating jointly with Iraqi security forces against insurgents have become much more precise and effective in bringing in "exactly the right people on our terms." .
Dempsey credited the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps with helping to defeat the insurgency and helping to shut down several terrorist cells.
The division has trained some 4,000 new soldiers for the ICDC, Dempsey said. Those Iraqi soldiers, about 60 percent of whom formerly served in the military, have been operating alongside soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, and eventually will assume responsibility for operations inside Baghdad, the general added.
Since Jan. 12, Dempsey said, the division has been conducting several joint operations with the Iraqi corps to "interdict, disrupt or defeat" cellular structures of former regime elements in Baghdad.
He said one such operation, dubbed "Iron Resolve," has resulted in the capture of several "street-level" shooters, as well as financiers and organizers of anti-coalition efforts. He also noted that the operation has led to a large amount of human intelligence from Iraqis on the location of several weapons caches.
Dempsey said the rocket-propelled grenades, small arms, and bomb-making materials found in the caches were "significant items to take off the streets for the safety of all."
Since the Dec. 13 capture of Saddam Hussein, Dempsey said, the division has discovered about 14 insurgent cells operating in Baghdad, eight of which have been disrupted. He compared a disrupted cell to a living organism, however, and warned that the cells can regenerate. "What we're trying to determine is to what extent they have," he added. Documents captured with Saddam allowed the division to "get a view of the insurgent cells that we didn't have before," the general said.
Dempsey confirmed reports that Iraqi police captured two men today attempting to place a roadside bomb near an oil refinery in Dora City. Dempsey said the initial indication is that one of the men is an Iranian citizen, the other an Afghan citizen.
The general said he doesn't know if foreign influences are a part of the insurgency in Iraq, but pointed out the division has identified 19 foreigners among the suspects it has detained detained.
"I would not have characterized that number as a significant part of the fight," he said. "We very clearly still are fighting as the principal enemy the former regime and its structures."
He added, however, that foreign fighters captured by the division are processed differently from former regime loyalists. "We want to know why they are here," he said.