18 November 2003
Increased Military Offensive Weeding Out Iraqi Regime Loyalists
Defense Department Report, November 18: Iraq Operational
Coalition forces have increased offensive operations in order
to defeat anti-coalition elements in Iraq and further the restoration
of essential services, economic activity and democratic governance
for the citizens of Iraq, says Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt,
deputy director for operations at the Coalition Provisional Authority
"The military situation is stable, but indicators of potential
unrest during Ramadan caused the coalition to remain offensively
oriented and active in pursuit of enemy targets," Kimmitt said
during a televised briefing November 17 from Baghdad. He also said
that in the last 24 hours the coalition "conducted 1,729 patrols,
25 raids, and ... captured 99 anti-coalition suspects."
Asked how the military views the current fighting in Iraq, Kimmitt
replied "well, we certainly don't see this as a guerrilla insurgency," adding "we
see it as criminal activity within the country, people laying pipe
bombs, people laying booby traps, people using car bombs to go
after coalition forces, because what they want to do is not fight
us in a military sense, but ... to fight us and attack the will
of the coalition" in an attempt to drive the coalition out of Iraq.
Asked what, if any, factors would cause him to view the situation
as a guerilla insurgency, Kimmitt said "one of the indications
for us would be ... some sort of competing ideology that was fighting
against us." As of now, he said, we are being attacked by those
who have something to lose from a free and democratic Iraq, such
as former Ba'athists ... but we are at a loss to understand what
competing ideology there is out there that would somehow suggest
there's a rising insurgency."
He said the 4th Infantry Division had successfully used Army Tactical
Missile Systems (ATACMS), artillery, mortars, attack helicopters,
fighting vehicles and tanks in the northeastern zone to destroy
15 safe houses and three suspected former regime loyalist training
camps. ATACMS missiles are being used where possible, Kimmitt said, "to
leverage their precision capability, which minimizes the possibility
of injury to civilians and collateral damage."
Other ongoing operations continue to result in more captures and
confiscation of explosives, bomb-making materials and artillery
rounds, Kimmitt said.
"Every one of these people that we have in detention are no longer
building bombs, driving car bombs, putting bombs by the side of
the road that kill, maim and injure innocent Iraqis and ... military
forces here," he said. And just as important, he added, "the people
of Iraq see those people being taken off the street ... so that
we can do what we're really here to do, which is restore the economy,
provide essential services, [and] provide governance for the people
Dan Senor, Senior Advisor to the CPA, who also participated in
the briefing, said "we hear three things over and over: One, the
Iraqis are overwhelmingly grateful for the liberation. Two, they
don't want us to leave -- they want the country stabilized, and
they want an independent, democratic, sovereign Iraq before we
depart. And third, they want the security situation to improve.
Kimmitt also said that non-military stability operations are continuing,
such as efforts by the 82nd Airborne Civil Affairs teams that have
initiated projects for the renovation of four schools that will
provide a learning environment for over 1,200 students.