10 years ago
We have covered rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, both at the micro- and macroscopic levels, i.e., from room clearing operations to the use of munitions delivered from air. In this coverage we have challenged not only the written rules, but the in-situ application and communication of them. Rather than using MSM reports, we have done original investigative reporting, conveying the stories of at least two NCOs who were recently in Iraq. We have received thousands of visits to these articles from military network domains, including CENTCOM, the Pentagon, NCTC, Army, Marines and others. There was a promise by the administration to revise the ‘overly-restrictive’ rules of engagement upon announcement of “the surge.” Yet there continues to be obvious indecision and confusion regarding both the application and communication of ROE, the most recent instances of which involved kinetic operations in a Mosque and university in Baghdad.
As a contextual background to the most recent issues, in Rules of Engagement and Indecision we discussed the ~200 Taliban, in formation for a funeral, and who escaped without being engaged by a predator drone because of bureaucracy and indecision on rules of engagement.
Every airstrike, whether from a manned aircraft or a Predator, must be at least approved by commanders at the regional Combined Air Operations Center, or CAOC. If an intended target is particularly sensitive, the decision could go all the way up to a general officer serving as top combat commander … The current rules of engagement, likely developed by senior Pentagon officials, do not rule out an attack on religious gathering but do generally prohibit an attack on a religious site such as a cemetery or mosque, military analyst and retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs told MSNBC TV.
Ramadi combat action has seen U.S. forces finally engage insurgent fire coming from Mosques, after “Militants inside the Al Qadir Al Kilami mosque fired small arms, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades at U.S. forces.” In this instance, there was hesitation, and it took direct attacks against U.S. forces from the Mosque to provoke engagement by the U.S.
In the recent security operations, Maliki has allegedly directed robust action against the tactics of using Mosques as defense by the insurgents. “We are full of hope. We have no other choice but to use force and any place where we receive fire will not be safe even if it is a school, a mosque, a political party office or home,” he said. “There will be no safe place in Iraq for terrorists.”
The U.S. has indeed recently raided Mosques in kinetic operations.
Two suspects were detained when members of the 10th Mountain Division “Commandos” conducted a search of the Khashab mosque in western Baghdad on Jan. 12 aimed at capturing insurgents believed responsible for assassinating the governor of Baghdad. Insurgent propaganda was found in the mosque.
The search was planned based on intelligence gathered from numerous citizens in the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, officials said. Residents witnessed insurgents leaving from the mosque then fleeing to the mosque after the assassination.
There is even more recent action inside Mosques, followed on by a confused statement from the Multi-National Force:
Coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists during a raid in Baghdad Sunday morning.
The targeted suspected terrorist, who was detained on the scene, is reported to be involved in the procurement and distribution of weapons, including explosives to conduct improvised explosive devices attacks against Iraqi citizens and Coalition Forces.
While conducting the raid, Coalition Forces entered a mosque where the targeted suspect was hiding. Coalition Forces detained the targeted suspect along with two other suspected terrorists.
During the operation, one local Iraqi woman received wounds to her thigh and head. Coalition medical personnel treated her onsite and she was transported to a local hospital for further care.
“Coalition forces soldiers respect the sanctity and holiness of all places of worship and exercise the utmost restraint when planning for and considering the conduct of operations in and around mosques,