Granny in Iraq: Armed and Dangerous

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 4 months ago

As I discussed in Iraq: al Qaeda’s QuagmireReorganizations and Defections Within the Insurgency in Iraq and Al Qaeda’s Miscalculation, al Qaeda and affiliated fighters and foreign terrorist elements are taking a pounding by U.S. forces in Iraq.  These kinetic operations continued today from Ramadi to Tikrit to Tarmiyah.

Coalition forces killed three terrorists Saturday while conducting an operation to deny sanctuary to al-Qaeda in Iraq and foreign terrorists Southwest of Samarra.  During the course of operations, Coalition forces observed an individual, who emerged from the target area, get into a nearby boat and meet up with another boat carrying several individuals.  Coalition forces further observed the group beginning to transfer equipment and weapons.  Perceiving hostile intent, supporting aircraft engaged, killing three terrorists.  The ground force discovered a cache of weapons on site.

South of Samarra Sunday, Coalition forces captured an associate of an al-Qaeda in Iraq network believed to be responsible for trafficking funds to senior terrorist leaders.  Reports indicate the individual has made numerous recent attempts to communicate with the terrorist leaders.  In addition to the targeted individual, five suspected terrorists were detained during the operation. 

Coalition forces also conducted an operation in Ramadi targeting associates of an al-Qaeda in Iraq network reportedly involved in foreign terrorist facilitation. Three suspects were detained on site without incident. 

In other operations, Coalition forces captured a wanted individual and seven other suspected terrorists south of Tarmiyah.  The targeted individual is reportedly a close associate of the leader of a terrorist network operating in the region.  Intelligence reports led the ground force to the target area where the individual identified himself. 

Farther north in Tikrit, Coalition forces detained three suspects while targeting an associate of a senior leader of an al-Qaeda network operating outside of Iraq who is attempting to reside in Mosul.

But in order for the advances to be permanent, something else must take the place of U.S. kinetic operations.  Solution?  Concerned citizens.  One reason for al Qaeda’s misadventure in Iraq is armed and concerned citizens.  Many Somalians and Syrians have been in Haditha (close to the border) and elsewhere in Iraq, but Between Baghdad and Arab Jabour:

“The al Qaeda that’s here is not guys … from Syria or Somalia. They are local people who grew up here,? Adgie said. “They were bad, bad teenagers who stole cars, and (with) the lure of fast money from al Qaeda … they joined al Qaeda, and they carry out al Qaeda’s bidding.?

These home-grown terrorists employed “ultra-violence? against their fellow villagers to “strike fear in their hearts,? the colonel explained. Coalition forces from the final phase of the U.S. troop surge streamed into the region earlier this summer.

“In early August, we started seeing the first of the concerned local citizens come forward,? Adgie said. “And they started providing us with just a lot of information on who the bad guys were.?

The “concerned citizen? movement was greatly bolstered last month, the colonel explained, when a retired brigadier general from Saddam Hussein’s former army encouraged more local people to assist the coalition effort.

“(He) decided, ‘Enough is enough. I’ll be the leader,’? Adgie said. “He stepped up, stepped out into the light of day and helped us recruit this concerned citizen organization.?

That organization has grown from 87 to 538 people in just seven weeks, the colonel explained, and its members provide crucial information.

“Al Qaeda operates under a veil of secrecy. No one knows who al Qaeda is,? Adgie said. “Well that’s no longer possible when the guy you went to high school with is a concerned citizen, and he can look you in the eye and say: ‘You’re al Qaeda.’?

This approach is developing spuriously in some areas, while planned in others, involving leadership across Baghdad.

Iraqi governmental officials met with more than 300 sheikhs from the Mada’in Qada in Baghdad to discuss the way ahead for reconciliation in their area, Oct. 4.  (A qada is roughly equivalent to a county in the U.S.).

Leaders from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division and Multi-National Division Center attended as observers.

“When this many sheiks attend a meeting such as this, it is an indicator that the people are tired of the violence and have a desire to return to normalcy,? said Maj. Dave Fivecoat from Delaware, Ohio, 3rd BCT operations officer.

The sheikhs agreed security in the qada had improved since the arrival of the 3rd BCT in March 2007, and pledged to continue cooperation with U.S. and Iraqi security forces (ISF) to fight terrorism. To that end, they discussed a plan that would lead to the eventual acceptance of concerned local citizens into the Iraqi security forces.

The sheikhs also proposed a plan to increase coordination between tribal leaders and the government.

U.S. commanders hold out the concerned citizens programs as Iraq’s best hope for reconciliation and stabilization from the ground up, but stress that the concerned citizens must, in a timely manner, be folded into the official Iraqi security forces.

According to Maj. Jeremy Moore, 3rd BCT Iraqi security force liaison, the meeting was a positive step toward that transition.

“We are optimistic that their inclusion will ultimately enable the ISF to accurately represent and effectively secure the local populace,? Moore said.

Lest we think that only men can participate in this deal, the women of Iraq are making their presence known.

In a well-lit meeting room in a government building in the Iraqi capital, 20 Iraqi women were sitting in a circle, intently watching the demonstration in the center of the room. They were dressed modestly but with some flair: bright pink and blue headscarves mixed in among the black chadors, chunky, designer purses resting on the floor beneath their seats.

The friendly, casual atmosphere in the room looked similar to a suburban book-club meeting, or maybe a Mary-Kay cosmetics party. Except that these women were not learning how to apply foundation, they were learning how to lock and load an AK-47.

“Who can show me how to do it?? asked the instructor, an Iraqi Army sergeant, holding up the weapon.

One of the women jumped up and took the automatic rifle, expertly disassembled it and put it back together. When she cocked it by loudly slamming the charging handle back, the rest of the women applauded.


Granny is armed and dangerous.  The local bad boys won’t be so eager to do the bidding of the savage foreigners if they know that neighborhood mothers and grandmothers are drawing a bead on them.

  • wjamyers

    Your usage of spurious makes no sense and I can’t figure out exactly what you meant to say.

    From the subscription required:

    Main Entry: spu·ri·ous Pronunciation Guide
    Pronunciation: spyrs, -pyür- sometimes ÷ -pr.- or -p.r-
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Latin & Late Latin; Late Latin spurius false, from Latin, of illegitimate birth, from spurius, n., bastard (often used as a praenomen)
    1 : of illegitimate birth : BASTARD
    2 a : outwardly similar or corresponding to something without having its genuine qualities : FALSE, COUNTERFEIT b : simulative in symptoms or development without being pathologically or morphologically genuine
    3 a : of falsified or erroneously attributed origin or authorship : FORGED, INAUTHENTIC b : of a deceitful or fictitious nature or quality : FRAUDULENT c : faulty in reasoning or conclusion : ILLOGICAL, SPECIOUS
    4 : marked by spuriousness or falseness
    5 : of an excrescent or superfluous character : undesirably intrusive : EXTRANEOUS
    6 : irrelevantly inapplicable : lacking correspondence to reality : vaguely ambiguous : PSEUDO

    synonym see COUNTERFEIT

    Please elucidate because I’m certain you didn’t mean counterfeit.

  • Herschel Smith

    Pertaining to lineage. More of a botanical useage … like in appearance but different in function or birth.

  • jagcap

    Hmmm… from the rest of the sentence, I figured you meant “spontaneously” and the spellchecker did you wrong…

  • Herschel Smith

    I did mean of a different origin (maybe an obtuse usage), but your suggestion sounds nice. If it makes everyone happy, re-read the post and imagine the word “spontaneous” in the sentence. With English teachers all around me waiting to pounce, I must not write these things so late at night …

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  • Herschel Smith

    Further thoughts. I don’t think that spontaneous rightly describes what has been festering for four years. Neither does the word spurious describe how important this is. I didn’t do a good job with this.

    America is the greatest nation on earth partly because of the independent thinking of individuals and family units, this independent thinking holding great institutions such as the state, church and corporations accountable. This is one reason I believe that everyone should be a gun owner.

    After reading Ralph Peters’ new book, I had acquiesced to the idea of the importance of tribes in understanding this culture (and all of the Middle East). But after thinking more about it, I am finding myself more in agreement with Nibras Kazimi, who claims that this is not a good thing. Statism tends to reduce the family unit in importance and remove it from its rightful role of fundamental building block of society. It appears to me that tribe can have the same effect.

    While I don’t think that there is anything necessarily wrong with “orchestrating” the neighborhood watches and groups of concerned citizens, I think it is better to see people finally deciding that enough is enough all on their own. Not because a tribal shiekh says so, but because they believe so. They have taken up arms to retake control of their neighborhoods from the criminals who stole them, and this is a good sign for Iraq. This type of awakening has a different genesis than one that is born out of meetings of tribal elders.

    Anyway, that’s the fundamental point.

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You are currently reading "Granny in Iraq: Armed and Dangerous", entry #652 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) al Qaeda,Concerned Citizens,Iraq and was published October 16th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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