It is good to see that someone else thinks something important is happening in the towns along the Syrian border. At some point the media needs to break out of its pessimism and send an embed reporter to the area. The public information officers at Centcom also need to add some context to their releases. How about linking previous stories on the "red on red" action in the area that is now developing into active cooperation with the US.
In the western Iraqi town of Qaim, clashes continue between the pro-government Bumahl tribe and the pro-al Qaeda Karabila tribe. Newsday, in an article titled "Heavy Fighting Erupts in Western Iraq", reports that "20 members of the Bumahl tribe and 15 from Karabila were killed in the clashes," with dozens wounded. Reuters reports 47 were killed in multiple U.S. air strikes directed at terrorist safe houses."Intelligence leads Coalition forces to believe that Abu Islam and several of his associates were killed in the air strike," a U.S. military spokeswoman said in Baghdad. A hospital official in Qaim, near the Syrian border, told Reuters at least 47 people died in the U.S.-led strikes. Mohammed al-Aani said 35 people died in one house and another 12 in a strike on a second house.
The U.S. military said in a statement it had carried out three separate strikes, initially dropping four bombs on a house in Husayba, near Qaim.
The operation is interesting for reasons other than the obvious positive implications of infighting between Sunni tribes and the rejection of al Qaeda in Qaim. The U.S. appears to have actionable and accurate intelligence in the Qaim region. This is the second successful high-casualty air strike in the area this week following clashes between the Bumahl and Karabila tribes.
Note how the safe house was under observation, the fleeing terrorists were tracked and subsequently attack. This particular battle was conducted over a short span of the Euphrates River, with the enemy being chased from town to town, with no respite.
There is a real battle occurring in Western Iraq between the pro government and pro al Qaeda tribes, which is generally being ignored by the media. Local support for the Iraqi government, and a willingness to openly fight al Qaeda and cooperate directly with the U.S. military in the wildest and most lawless regions of Anbar speaks volumes of the success being made to win hearts and minds among the Sunni population.
Update: Be sure and check out the link in the Student Dad comment. Apparently several leadership targets have been taken out in Hit.