10 years ago
The Intelligence Bulletin is an aggregation and commentary series, and this is the third entry in that series.
Intelligence Bulletin #3 covers the following subjects:  More forces deploy to Diyala province,  Disappearance of Jilal Sharafi yields intelligence bonanza,  More on international war against the CIA,  U.S. tracking whereabouts of al Sadr (and why his ‘strategic disappearance’ is necessary for the success of the security plan),  Balancing act by Saudi Arabia,  Martyrdom operations by Ansar al Sunna, and  Gates rolls back defense intelligence.
More Forces Deploy to Diyala Province
In The Surge and Coming Operations in Iraq we discussed the redeployment of insurgents from Baghdad to surrounding areas just prior to the implementation of the security plan, most particularly to the Diyala Province. True to form, the insurgents are beginning to cause problems wherever they are, and more U.S. forces are being deployed to Diyala.
More than 700 U.S. troops rolled into Diyala on Tuesday in armored vehicles to help quell escalating violence in the Iraqi province that has become a haven for insurgents targeted by the Baghdad security crackdown.
The Army battalion was transferred from Taji to Baqubah, capital of the religiously mixed province that extends from Baghdad to the Iranian border, the military said. It joined about 3,500 U.S. troops already stationed there.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, the U.S. commander for northern Iraq, had requested the reinforcements to confront a rise in sectarian and insurgent attacks in outlying regions since U.S. and Iraqi troops began a crackdown in Baghdad last month.
U.S. commanders believe insurgent fighters have moved into the province from Baghdad and Al Anbar, the western Iraqi province that is the center of the Sunni Arab insurgency.
“We see the Sunni insurgency trying to desperately gain control of Diyala, because it helps in their effort to control Baghdad and to prevent the government of Iraq from succeeding,” Mixon told Pentagon reporters via video link from Iraq last week.
U.S. officials did not specify how long the new battalion would be based in Diyala. But Mixon said he was “cautiously optimistic that in the next 30 to 60 days that we’re going to see some significant differences in the security situation in Diyala.”
Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said Monday that U.S. commanders had anticipated that the Baghdad crackdown could drive some insurgent and militia leaders into areas such as Diyala. He said troops would spread out into communities on Baghdad’s fringes, where insurgents are believed to be operating car-bomb factories (italics mine).
The talk of anticipating the influx of insurgents to Diyala seems forced. If this had been properly anticipated as claimed, troops deployments should have been done to Diyala prior to implementation of the security plan. Failure to do so doesn’t point to the need to avoid a heavy footprint in Iraq, since the tribal leaders in Diyala had requested that they be included within the security plan. This appears to be a numbers problem. Larger force size would have given U.S. command the ability to avoid the chase.
Disappearance of Jalal Sharafi Yields Intelligence Bonanza
The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security has revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that it had no updates regarding its investigation into Jalal Sharafi’s disappearance early last month. Kidnapped in front of the Iranian state-owned Bank Melli in Baghdad, it is alleged that Sharafi was abducted by US-supported Iraqi Defense Ministry elements. Likewise, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the al Quds Brigade’s investigations have failed to yield any leads pertaining to their members who have disappeared in Iraq over the past few weeks.
According to statements made by an official from the Iranian armed forces, the possibility of the detention of eight members from the IRGC and five elements from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence by US forces was “likely