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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Iraqi, Coalition Forces Continue Securing Northern Iraq

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2008 – More normalcy returns to northern Iraq every day, even as Iraqi and coalition forces continue to hunt down extremist groups, a senior military official said May 16.

Many areas in the region -- which stretches from Baghdad to Iraq’s border with Syria and Turkey -- continue to show signs of a return to normal life for the people who live there, Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, who commands Multinational Division North and the Army’s 1st Armored Division, told online journalists and “bloggers” in a conference call.

In Iraq’s Diyala province, for example, very little enemy activity has been going on for more than 45 days, the general said. “I think that is a direct result of our continued pursuit operations in some of the outer boundaries in the main areas of that province,” the general explained.

Al-Qaida in Iraq is the main enemy in Diyala province, Hertling said, while in Kirkuk and Salahuddin provinces, Iraqi and coalition forces are pursuing a variety of enemies -- not only al-Qaida in Iraq, but also Ansar al-Sunnah and other extremist groups.

Hertling noted the region’s diverse population in explaining the challenges his soldiers face in their area of operations.

“In northern Iraq, we have 136 different tribes that we have counted. We have seven different religions, … and three different sects of Shiia, Kurds and Sunnis, plus we have Turkomans and the mix of Turkoman Shiia, Turkoman Sunni and Turkoman Kurd,” he said. “It is a very diverse cultural mix up here in the north, very different [from] Anbar, which is the Sunni heartland, with one tribal base down there.”

The Iraqi government has shifted its efforts in Minaya province, the general said. “We’ve continued to prepare with our Iraqi security partner counterparts, … specifically [in] the city of Mosul, and since the 10th of May there’s been an operation led by the Iraqis, supported by our forces, called Operation Lion’s Roar,” he said.

Hertling added that he and his Iraqi partner, Lt. Gen. Riyadh Jalal Tawfiq, commander of Ninewah Operations Command, began preparing for this operation in February.

“They rounded up about 800 targeted individuals. There have been a lot of [weapons] cache finds; the significant activities in Mosul have been significantly reduced,” Hertling said. He described some of those captured in Mosul as “Tier 1” al-Qaida in Iraq leaders.

Hertling said he’s encouraged by the successes in Mosul and the degree to which the credit belongs to Iraq’s own troops. “The Iraqi security forces are doing independent operations, and we’re supporting them,” he said, noting that their knowledge of the area and its people are a key element in their success. Having seen the earliest days of today’s Iraqi military, Hertling said, he’s impressed by how far they’ve come.

“The capability of the Iraqi army, especially since the last time I was here, since 2003-2004 when they were first standing up, has been significantly improved,” he said. “They are gradually improving their capability and their effectiveness.”

And as Iraqi and American forces continue to track enemy fighters in the northern region, they are finding out that many people carrying out attacks in the region do so for financial gain in struggling economy, not because they hold extremist views.

“About 50 percent of the people conducting attacks are not conducting attacks because they believe in the ideology; they’re conducting the attacks because they’re being paid by these groups, and the unemployment is so off the charts over here that this is the only way some of these guys can feed their children,” Hertling explained. “One of the points we continue to make with the prime minister is that we have to continue to get jobs for people.”

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works for the Defense Media Activity.)

Related Sites:
Multinational Corps Iraq
Defense Department Bloggers Roundtable

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SHARED SALUTE - U.S. Air Force Maj. Anthony Davis, a member of the Air National Guard, exchanges salutes with Chinese Army Senior Capt. Guan Youfei, deputy director of the Chinese Ministry of Defense's Foreign Affairs Office, at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, May 18, 2008. Also pictured are Chinese Army Maj. Wu Qian, staff officer, Chinese Ministry of Defense's American and Oceanic Affairs Bureau, and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Charles W. Hooper, U.S. defense attache. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chris Vadnais

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In Today's News - Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly
even when scared half to death."

-- General Omar Bradley

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraqi Troops Push Into Sadr City - PHOTO ESSAY
Bush Apologizes to Iraq for Koran Shooting Incident
IPs Graduate From First Academy in Diyala
Speaker of the House Visits Servicemembers at Sather

Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghan govt says to decide how long NATO troops stay
Afghans Skeptical That Security's Getting Better

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Qatar sets Lebanon opposition Wednesday deadline
Attorneys: Save evidence against alleged combatant

Supporting Our Heroes...Or Not
Worker charged with vandalizing military helicopter in Pa.
Vikings Cheerleaders Boost Spirits on Air Base

Other Military News
Fewer children go to war, but problem lingers
Senate loads up war funding bill with other things (as per usual)
Upcoming U.S. Iraq, Afghanistan Rotations Announced

Worldwide Wackos
Mission of US-funded broadcasts in Cuba debated

Politics / Government
Sen. Edward Kennedy has malignant brain tumor
Campaign Flip-Flopper? - Top Clinton aide considers job with Obama camp
McCain Marks Cuban Day With Attack on Obama
Oregon, Kentucky May Deliver Obama Delegate Lead
Report: Texas Judge Cancels Hearing Over Presidential Primary Citing High Gas Prices As a Reason
Scandal-hit lawmaker won't seek re-election
Obama to take big step in Democratic race
House passes bill to sue OPEC over oil prices
"Fight brewing" over affordable housing fund: Frank
Video: Primary day in Kentucky and Oregon
Senate banking panel passes housing rescue plan
NY Gov. Paterson in hospital with migraine
Taiwan leader: democracy key to relations with China

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
Gas Station Employee Fired for Fighting Off Robber
Man Jailed for Binding Girlfriend With Dog Chain
Manson Ranch Dug Up in Hunt for New Victims - VIDEO
Video: Fine dining in jail
Violence erupts in Mexico's drugs heartland
More schools to face law's consequences
Texas sect parents complain of vague custody plans
R. Kelly prosecutor: Jurors will see graphic video

Adventures in Political Correctness
Court: Paper Money Discriminates

U.N. News
U.N. Boss Presses for $$ Probes
UN keeps pressure on Myanmar to allow in more aid

Media in the Media / Bloggers in the News / Watching the Web
White House Angry at NBC Over Interview Edit (As they should be!)
Photojournalist Speared by Javelin at Track Meet - VIDEO
Microsoft proposes to buy Yahoo search: source - Video
Third Point backs Icahn in Yahoo fight: source
Blog: Nokiahoo or Yahookia? Nah…
Napster rolls out all-MP3 download store

Science / Medicine and Health / Technology
Six-Year-Old to Have Half Her Brain Removed Next Month
Study Debunks Oral Sex Myth About Teens
Town Sees Cluster of Brain Tumor Cases
Giant kangaroo gives clues on climate
FDA seeks new hepatitis blood donation rules
USDA head downplays calls to cut biofuel mandate
UK parliament backs human-animal embryo research
Virgin Mobile USA sees telecom consolidation
Nintendo launches new fitness video game in U.S. - Video
Nokia eyes wider usage of Linux in cellphones
Napster rolls out MP3 store in challenge to iTunes
Microsoft braces for major customer shift
Video: Gamemaker thinks outside box
Manicurists worried about health hazards of job
You've got ads
DiBcom sees phones tapping TV
EU says end patent ambush
Video: Extinct Tiger DNA resurrected
TV boxes let Netflix users bypass mail delivery
NASA Nanotechnology-Based Biosensor Helps Detect Biohazards

Mother Nature
Australia Begins Controversial Killing of 400 Kangaroos to Protect Lizards
Wind Flips Speedboat During Drag Race, Throwing Driver
Crashed Boater 'Runs' on Water: Story and Photos
Survivor Found After 8 Days in China Earthquake Rubble
China Quake Death Toll Tops 40,000 - VIDEO - PHOTOS
China says over 70,000 dead or missing from quake
Grieving parents start to voice anger
Survivors struggle with trauma
Factbox: Earthquake aftershocks
Reuters Full Coverage: China earthquake
Myanmar mourns dead as U.N. reports aid progress - Video
Big investors seek stricter climate laws
Giant kangaroo gives climate clues
Biofuels pose threat to wildlife
Experts battle invasive species
Video: Fighting extinction
Protesters fail to disrupt Australia kangaroo cull
Some carbon nanotubes could pose health risk: study
SAS flies slower to save costs and emissions
California eyes another tough wildfire season
Spring rains ease — but don't end — drought in the Southeast

News from My Neck of the Woods
New York now home to $175 hamburger
"Imminent" recession may cost NYC 59,400 jobs: study

Ohio Parents Livid After Chaperone Duct-Tapes Students' Hotel Room Doors Shut
College Student Dies After Falling Off Bed
Homeless Woman Buried Alive in California; Relatives Say It Was Ultimate Fear
Report: Man's Hand Hacked Off in Party Brawl
All Right, Class: Here's How You Play It Safe — BOOM!
Another gherkin for me, please
Sorry, you are out of ammo ... - Video
Like a bull in a china shop, but worse
Sumo dish smasher warned after tantrum
Sex and elephants woo voters ahead of Romania polls
Video: Interactive toilet makes a splash
Divers find combined gold toothpick, earwax spoon (Um...ew)

Other News of Note
Explosion Rocks Hotel Construction Site in San Diego
Indiana Man Operates Oil Well in Backyard, Producing Three Barrels of Crude a Day (Oh, that won't last - I give it a week before they find some reason to shut him down)
FOXBusiness: Oil Tops $129 for 1st Time, Heads for $130
Japan whisky shakes Scots' pride
68 pct. of young drivers killed at night unbuckled

Fox News
Report: Another Woman Caused Shania Twain Split
FOXSexpert: Should You Nip/Tuck Your Private Parts?
Gwyneth Paltrow Bares a Breast in Film
Pop Tarts: Hogan Hysteria: Brooke Suffering Breakdown; Hulk and Linda's ‘Fake' Reunion?

Airline satisfaction lowest since 2001
U.S. drivers facing sticker shock
Is pricey oil a good thing?
Full Coverage: Oil in spotlight
Critics laud dark films
New film throws Paltrow "a lifeline"
Blog: The world of movie junkets
Full Coverage: Cannes Film Festival
Spanish cuisine "pretentious"?
Malbec: Back in black in France
NFL owners opt to end labor deal with players early
Tours take buyers to foreclosed Long Island homes
Wall St drops on oil surge, price data
Well oiled
Small Business: Little firm, big brand
Producer prices tame but gain in core vexes - Video
Oil companies plan on higher crude prices
Home Depot profit falls as housing woes weigh
Credit crisis to extend into 2009: Whitney
Barclays eyes investment bank bid: report
Corp. Express shares fall as Staples goes hostile
Eastwood directs Jolie in 1920s lost child drama
New film throws Paltrow "a lifeline"
Sports stars, rockers hog limelight at film fests
Eastwood joins dark films among Cannes favorites
Indy has Spidey in its sights at box office - Video
Video: Jackie Chan showcases at Cannes
Chef Scot Woods takes comfort food to culinary heights
NFL owners opt to end labor deal with players early
Spurs clinch series with rare road win over Hornets
Red Sox pitcher Lester tosses no-hitter
Sabbatini returning to form for Colonial defense
Detroit defeats Dallas to reach Stanley Cup finals

Associated Press
Wholesale inflation slows in April after March increase
Spurs beat Hornets 91-82, advance to West finals
Can a woman win `Dancing With the Stars' crown?

News Blaze
National Police, Iraqi Army conduct clearing mission of Muhalla 711
7 Soldiers With 2bct, 4id Were Able to Take a Break
Soldiers' Angels and Patriot Guard
Iraq News
Operations in Iraq
FOB Warhorse Memorial Photos

Iraqi soldiers, police find weapons
Democracy taking hold in Arab Jabour
President meets Iraqi leaders in Egypt

Command unveils new command and control vision - podcast
Joint fires team helps Army improves force protection training
SOCJFCOM completes in-residence JSOTF training course - podcast
USJFCOM helps define new conditions for individual augmentee training

Multi-National Force - Iraq
ISF, MND-B Soldiers seize weapons caches
Senior Al-Qaeda leader in Samarra killed, 20 other suspects detained
Insurgents kill 11 Iraqi Army recruits
Suicide bomber kills child, wounds two
MND-B Soldiers locate cache in Bayaa community
Mortar attack kills 3, wounds 9


Gates Makes Case for Defense Budget Request
Nations Discuss Maritime Security, Terrorism at Copenhagen Conference


More Relief Flights Arrive in Burma


Web to Allow Troops to See Graduations
Pentagon Improves Transitions for Troops


Soldier Fights Battles From the Skies


U.S. Micro-grant Helps Feed Mill Owner Rebuild
Forces Kill 11 Militants, Capture 24, Destroy Weapons
Normal Life Returns as Forces Pursue Enemies


NATO Battles Poppy Cultivation, Troop Shortages
Troops Capture 18, Destroy Drugs, Weapons
Program Trains Afghan Police, Reforms Culture


Indy Motor Speedway Salutes Recruits
Chrysler Offers Training

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Ansbach Aschaffenburg Berlin Berlin-Tempelhof Berlin/Schonefeld Bremerhaven
Darmstadt Frankfurt Frankfurt/Main Freiburg/Breisgau Garmisch
Garmisch-Partenkirchen Geilenkirchen Gelnhausen Giessen Kitzingen
Hanau Am Main Heidelberg Mainz Mannheim Nurnberg Stuttgart Trier
Wiesbaden Wurzburg


Agana Agana Heights Agat Andersen AFB Asan Barrigada

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut
An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Kadena Air Base Okinawa Tokyo Yokohama

Today in History:
1303 - The Treaty of Paris restores Gascony to the British, following the 100 Years War.
1310 - Shoes are first made for both right & left feet.
1704 - Elias Neau forms a school for slaves in New York.
1775 - Mecklenburg County, North Carolina declares its independence from Britain.
1845 - The first legislative assembly convenes in Hawaii.
1861 - Kentucky proclaims its neutrality in the Civil War.
1864 - Battle at Ware Bottom Church VA, results in 1,400 killed or injured.
1868 - The Republican National Convention meets in Chicago, and nominates Grant for President.
1874 - Levi Strauss markets blue jeans with copper rivets - cost is $13.50 / dozen.
1875 - International Bureau of Weights & Measures established by treaty
1892 - German, Italy, and Austria-Hungary form the Triple Alliance.
1902 - The U.S. military occupation of Cuba (since January, 1899) ends.
1916 - Codell, KS is hit by a tornado; it is also hit on the same date in 1917 & 1918)
1917 - The Turkish Government authorizes Jews to return to Tel Aviv & Jaffa.
1918 - Launch of the first electrically propelled warship, the New Mexico.
1926 - Congress passes the Air Commerce Act, requiring licensing of pilots & planes.
1927 - Charles Lindbergh takes off from New York to cross the Atlantic; the Treaty of Jedda grants Saudi Arabia independence from Great Britain.
1932 - Amelia Earhart leaves Newfoundland; the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
1939 - Pan Am begins regular transatlantic airmail and passenger service across the North Atlantic.
1940 - Igor Sikorsky unveils his invention, the helicopter.
1941 - Germany invades Crete.
1942 - The U.S. Navy first permits black recruits to serve.
1944 - The U.S. Communist Party dissolves.
1948 - The Israeli Air Force is first used, and achieves its first war victory against Syria.
1954 - Chiang Kai-shek becomes president of Nationalist China.
1959 - Japanese-Americans regain their citizenship.
1961 - A white mob attacks "Freedom Riders" in Montgomery, AL.
1969 - In Vietnam, U.S. troops capture Hill 937 - Hamburger Hill.
1970 - 100,000 march in New York in support of U.S. policies in Vietnam.
1971 - The Pentagon reports that blacks constitute 11% of the U.S. soldiers in southeast Asia.
1978 - 3 PFLP members kill a police officer near El Al airlines in Orly Airport, Paris.
1980 - 710 families in the Love Canal area, near Niagara Falls, are evacuated.
1985 - The FBI arrests John A. Walker, Jr., later convicted of spying for the U.S.S.R.
1985 - Israel exchanges 1150 Lebanese/Palestinian prisoners for 3 Israeli soldiers; the U.S. begins broadcasts to Cuba on Radio Marti.
1989 - China declares martial law in Beijing.
1990 - The Hubble Space Telescope sends its first photographs from space.
1991 - The Soviet parliament approves a law allowing citizens to travel abroad.
1992 - India launches its first satellite independently.
1993 - 1993KA, a ten-meter meteor, comes within 150,000 km of Earth.

1759 - William Thornton, architect, U.S. Capitol building
1768 - Dolley Dandridge Payne Madison, U.S. First Lady
1828 - Union Brigadier General James William Reilly
1881 - Wladyslaw Sikorski, Polish Premier, WWII general
1895 - Reginald J. "R" Mitchell, English aviation manufacturer (Spitfire)
1908 - Jimmy (James Maitland) Stewart, actor (Mr Smith Goes to Washington, It's a Wonderful Life)
1913 - William Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co
1921 - John Harrison, British Vice Admiral/surgeon; John Marchi (Representative-R-NY)
1923 - Hugh Beach, British General
1925 - D. French Slaughter, Jr. (Representative-VA)
1934 - Alexei A. Leonov, cosmonaut (Voskhod 2, Apollo-Soyuz)
1944 - David M. Walker, Captain USN/astronaut (STS 51-A 30, 53, 69)
1945 - Harold E. Ford (Representative-TN); Nikolai Nikolayevich Fefelov, Russian colonel/cosmonaut; Wally Herger (Representative-CA)
1948 - John R. McKernan, Jr. (Representative / Governor-ME); Samuel Gejdenson (Representative-CT)
1949 - Nick Joe Rahall II (Representative-WV)
1951 - Michael D. Crapo (Representative-ID); Thomas D. Akers, Major USAF/astronaut (STS 41, 49, 61, 79)
1954 - Galina Vasilyevna Amelkina, doctor/cosmonaut

- Henry VI, King of England / France
1506 - Christopher Columbus, explorer, dies in poverty in Spain
1622 - Osman II, Sultan of Turkey
1648 - Wladyslaw IV, King of Poland
1834 - Marquis de Lafayette, French general
1996 - Lewis B. Combs, Naval commander/civil engineer

Reported Missing in Action:
Frits, Orville B., US Army (CA); Remains recovered May, 1967

Grammar, William Michael, USMC (OK); Remains recovered May, 1967

Keefe, Douglas O’Neil, USMC (SC)

Maddox, Notley Gwynn, USAF (IL)

Milligan, Joseph E., USAF (NJ); Released by DRV February, 1973 – alive in 1998

Smith, Homer L., USN (WV); Remains returned March, 1974

Vanloan, Jack L.,USAF (OR); Released by DRV March, 1973 – alive and well in 1998

Lehrman, Ronald J., US Army (OK); Released by Sihanouk June, 1968

Robertson, John H., USArmy SF (AL)

Tester, Jerry A., US Army (NC); Released June, 1968

Williams, James W., USAF (TN); Released by DRV March, 1973 – alive and well in 1998

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