Operation Knight's Charge (Saulat al-Fursan)
By 2008, the problem of militia control in Basra was clear. In the wake of the premature British withdrawal from the city center and transition to an overwatch capacity in late 2007, Basra became a haven for militia and criminal activity. Rival militia factions and criminal gangs were vying for control of the city’s lucrative infrastructure and resources, namely shipping and oil. Iranian-backed militias known as Special Groups, mafia-style gangs, and other militias — many of which were operating under the Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) banner — dominated the city. Iraqi and British forces were unable to maintain security and became frequent targets of attacks. In an effort to stem the attacks, British troops made an agreement with JAM that stated no British soldier could operate in Basra without the permission of the British Defense Secretary.1 While the pact was intended to encourage the militia to enter the political process, it effectively allowed JAM and other groups to operate in Basra unchecked. And while U.S. troops recognized the deterioration of security in Basra, the main effort of their operations in early 2008 was targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents in northern Iraq, particularly the city of Mosul.
Preparing the Operation
As concern over Basra increased, Coalition and Iraqi forces began developing plans to clear Basra. On March 21, 2008, Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) commander, General David Petraeus, met with Maliki’s National Security Advisor, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, to discuss the details of this security plan.2 The offensive was to resemble the Baghdad Security Plan that was launched the year before. This included a gradual build-up of forces in the southern city; the construction of combat outposts throughout the city to expand the Iraqi Security Force presence; and a steady squeeze on militias before large-scale clearing operations. The operation was intended to be launched several months later, during the summer.3 At the end of the meeting, Rubaie asked Gen. Petraeus to meet with Maliki, who had a different timeframe for the Basra offensive.
The next morning, Maliki told Gen. Petraeus that he had his own plan for an Iraqi-led
operation that was to launch within days.4 Indeed, Maliki informed Gen. Petraeus that he had already instructed the equivalent of two brigades of Iraqi forces to deploy to Basra within thirty-six hours.5 The Prime Minister also planned to head to the southern city to oversee the operation personally. Although Gen. Petraeus advised against any hasty action that would be inadequately planned and prepared, he agreed to support the effort.6 Two days later, on March 24, Prime Minister Maliki arrived in Basra, along
with the first of the additional Iraqi forces and a Coalition liaison team.7
A Shaky Start
Early on the morning of Tuesday March 25, 2008, Iraqi Security Forces launched a security offensive termed Saulat al-Fursan, or Operation Knight’s Charge, to restore stability and law to the province by purging criminal elements in the area.
Shortly after the Iraqi Security Forces entered the neighborhood of Al-Tamiyah, a stronghold of Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi militia in western Basra, violent clashes erupted.8
Throughout the day, as Iraqi forces expanded in to other Sadrist strongholds, including the neighborhoods of al-Jumhuriyah, al-Hayyaniyah, Khamsa Meel, and al-Jubaylah, they met with fierce resistance and continued to clash with militiamen.9 Over the next few days, fighting between the government security forces and local militias persisted and spread to the neighborhoods of al-Ma’qil, al-Husayn, and al-Kharma. The newlyformed and inexperienced 14th Iraqi Army Division struggled to contain the violence during the first few days of fighting. The units faced much stronger resistance than they expected because of the large amount of Iranian weapons provided to the militias.10 While Maliki issued and later extended an ultimatum for the militias to lay
down their heavy weapons, the persistent violence indicated the gunmen had no intention of doing so.11
In Baghdad, when the earliest reports of the fighting in Basra reached MNF-I, U.S. commanders rushed to provide the necessary combat and logistical support for the operations. On March 25, Rear Admiral Edward G. Winters, a Navy SEAL, flew to Basra to head the Coalition liaison team already in place.12 Two days later, on March 27, he was joined by Lt. General Lloyd Austin, the commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I), who was responsible for the day-to-day command of Coalition forces.13 Lt. Gen. Austin’s senior deputy, Marine commander, Maj. General George Flynn, was sent to the Basra Operations Command, along with a team of U.S. planners. Coalition commanders provided air assets and intelligence support. Moreover, a company from the 82nd Airborne Division, which was stationed at Tallil Air Base in neighboring Dhi Qar province, was sent to Basra so as to augment the military adviser effort.14 Iraqi reinforcements were also rushed to Basra to stabilize the city. In a briefing on March 26, only 24 hours into the operation, MNF-I spokesman Maj. General Kevin Bergner revealed that roughly 2,000 Iraqi troops had been moved to Basra to support the operations there.15 This included Emergency Response Units (ERUs),Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF), Iraqi helicopters, and conventional forces. Iraqi border enforcement teams (and embedded Coalition Border Enforcement Transition Teams) were also deployed along the Iran-Iraq border to interdict weapons flow.
The fierce fighting continued throughout the last week of March. It was evident that Iraqi
forces had failed to adequately assess the enemy situation and plan accordingly. During that time, roughly 1,000 Iraqi Security Force members deserted or refused to fight; in some cases this resulted from the strains of poor planning and coordination and in others it was due to heavy militia infiltration.16 Most of the Iraqi Army soldiers who deserted were from the newest brigade of the 14th Iraqi Army Division, which had completed its training only five weeks before.17 Most of the Iraqi Police who deserted did so under the orders of Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi. By the end of the first week, the offensive reached a stalemate. The Iraqi Security Forces were unable to take control of the Jaysh al-Mahdi’s heavily-fortified neighborhood strongholds. The intense clashes continued with neither side gaining momentum. Still, there were some successes during the first week of operations in Basra. Two Iraqi Army battalions, along with a company of Iraqi Marines, successfully secured the ports, reclaiming them from the militias.18
Engagement of tribal leaders and local security volunteer recruitment efforts yielded 2,500 recruits during the first week of the offensive, in an important step to replicate efforts that has contributed to security improvements elsewhere in the country.19 Additionally, in an important logistical accomplishment, Iraqi forces began flying in their own supplies and troops on their two C-130 transport planes.20
In a bid to curtail the fighting, Muqtada al-Sadr called for a ceasefire and ordered his militia off the streets on Sunday, March 30. This ceasefire agreement followed several days of negotiations between Sadr, Hadi al-Amiri, the head of the Badr Organization, and Ali al-Adeeb, a member of the Maliki’s own Dawa party.21 In an interesting political move, Amiri and Adeeb flew to Iran, where Sadr has been living for over a year, without the knowledge of Prime Minister Maliki. Perhaps what is most significant was that the agreement was brokered in Iran by the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), Qassem Suleimani.22 Suleimani heads IRGC-QF activities in Iraq and is responsible for providing lethal aid, training, and weapons to Iraqi militias known as Special Groups. There is a great deal of overlap in membership of JAM and Special Groups. According to reports, the Iraqi lawmakers sought not only to ask Sadr to call of his militias, but also to ask the Iranian commander to stop funding and arming Shi’a militias in Iraq.23 The fact that the agreement was brokered in Iran by the head of the IRGC-QF indicated not only the important role Iran had in the conflict, but also the extent of its influence over Iraqi politics.
Sadr’s decision to call his militia off the streets likely stemmed from several considerations. First, it was likely a move to weaken the Prime Minister Maliki, the Iraqi government, and the Iraqi Security Forces, by creating the perception that they were unable to quell the violence through their own efforts. Maliki had gone to Basra to reassert government control over the city and enhance his own standing as a powerful leader. The first week of operations in Basra undermined these aims, however, as Sadr appeared to more proficient fighting force and more sway over the city. Yet, Sadr also presumably wanted to ensure his militia did not suffer inordinate losses, especially in its senior leadership, given that Iraqi and Coalition reinforcements were entering the fight. As was likely the case for Sadr’s ceasefire inAugust 2007, in the wake of the Karbala violence, Sadr wanted to keep his militia intact to fight another day.
The agreement seemed to calm the violence, and by late afternoon on March 30, the fighting was reported to have died down.24 While Sadr issued demands for the government to “grant a general amnesty for his followers and release all imprisoned members of the Sadrist movement who have not been convicted of crimes,” it was unclear whether Maliki would abide by the demands. As was soon clear by the shift in
operations once additional forces arrived, Maliki intended to continue the offensive in Basra.
One of the Iraqi reinforcement units was the 1st Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Force (1st
IA QRF), which arrived in Basra on April , 2008 following a three-day journey from Anbar
province.25 The 1st IA QRF, formerly known as the 1st Iraqi Army Division until its name
was changed in February 2008, is the most experienced Iraqi Army unit. In what was a major logistical achievement, “within three days of receiving the order to deploy, the 1st IA (QRF) moved a full division headquarters along with the brigade-sized Quick Reaction Force 1 and its three battalions with hundreds of vehicles from their bases around Habbaniyah, Ramadi, and Hawas to Shaibah Airfield on the outskirts of Basra.”26 U.S. Marine Military Transition Teams (MiTTs), embedded with the units, also accompanied the QRF 1 to Basra.
Following the arrival of these seasoned Iraqi reinforcements and the enactment of the ceasefire, the Iraqi Security Forces shifted into more deliberate shaping operations, similar to the original plan to clear Basra put forward by the Coalition and Iraqi forces. This phase of shaping was intended to move Iraqi units into permanent positions throughout Basra, from which they could conduct full-scale clearing and counterinsurgency operations. Coalition Forces provided air support and other intelligence and logistics assets throughout this phase.
This phase continued throughout the first half of April, during which time Iraqi units expanded their presence in the city—moving into central neighborhoods, setting up checkpoints, and cordoning-off militia strongholds so criminal elements could not flee the area. As ISF units move into Mahdi Army strongholds, like al-Hayyaniyah, Coalition Forces provide air support and engage criminals.27 Lt. Gen. Mohan led an ISF convoy in a show of force through al-Hayyaniyah on April 2.28 Remarkably, the convoy encountered almost no resistance as it rode through the main Sadrist haven in Basra, suggesting that the ceasefire was taking hold. Also during this time, Hillah Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams, Iraqi National Police ERU, and ISOF units conducted targeted raids on criminals in al-Halaf and Mufitiyah areas of northern and central Basra.29 Upon arrival, the QRF 1 moved to Qibla, a neighborhood on the southwestern edge of Basra. There it began cordoning and preparing positions in the neighborhood.
As they prepared for the next phase of clearing, Iraqi forces also conducted humanitarian operations in some areas of Basra. In an effort to tackle Basra’s economic woes, Maliki announced plans on April 3 for the creation of 25,000 jobs and plans to spend $100 million to improve Basra city services. The next day, the 3rd Brigade of the QRF1 began distributing food and water to residents of al-Hayyaniyah.30
The Real Clearing of Basra
On April 12, the Iraqi Security Forces launched the next phase of operations in Basra, which marked the start of larger-scale clearing operations in the city. This phase was remarkably successful, given the heavy militia resistance in the earliest stage of Operation Knight’s Charge. Iraqi Security Forces, led largely by units from the 1st Iraqi Army QRF, conducted deliberate clearing operations throughout the city, progressing from neighborhoods in southwest Basra, through al-Hayyaniyah, to the Basra’s northern neighborhoods.
During these operations, the QRF1 paired with elements of the 14th Iraqi Army Division. On April12, these units engaged in house-to-house clearing of the Qibla neighborhood, where they had been conducting preparatory operations over the last few weeks.31 Iraqi soldiers moved systematically through the area, searching for wanted criminals, illegal weapons, improvised explosive devices, and other prohibited materials.32 Several days into the clearing operations, the QRF 1 commander, Maj. General Tariq, met with local sheiks to discuss measures to spur economic development in Qibla.33 The security and reconstruction efforts of the QRF 1 were largely successful in reasserting government control over the area. House-to-house operations were also conducted in the Jaysh al-Mahdi stronghold of al-Husayn, also in the southwestern part of Basra.34
The next phase of the operation began on April 19, with operations to reclaim the largest Sadrist stronghold of Basra, al-Hayyaniyah. This marked the start of the offensive’s most intensive clearing phase, which also included the conduct of clearing operations in the al-Husayn, al-Khalij al-Arabi and al-Sadiqa neighborhoods of Basra.35 As Iraqi forces moved into the al-Hayyaniyah neighborhood, they faced some resistance from Mahdi
Army forces. On several occasions, JAM militias attacked IA checkpoints and patrols; during the ensuing firefight, Coalition air assets were called in to conduct airstrikes against the militants.36 Elsewhere in the city, militias continued to target the government
security forces. Within the first two weeks of April, one senior intelligence officer was assassinated; 37 another intelligence officer and a senior Iraqi Army commander were also severely wounded in a separate IED attack.38
Also during this phase, members of the Iraqi Security Forces that stood down in the early days of the fighting were dismissed from their positions. Roughly 500 police and 400 soldiers from Basra were fired for their failure to fight.39 As was later revealed,
many of these men were Sadr loyalists, who had been ordered by the cleric to lay down their weapons.40 Despite Sadr’s request for their reinstatement, they were not permitted to rejoin the ISF.41 There were also reports at this time that Generals Mohan and
Jallil were relieved from their positions in Basra and given new assignments in Baghdad.42 While a government spokesman said they were being recalled to Baghdad as a “reward for their successful mission against the criminals in Basra,” it is more likely the case they were removed as a result of the poor start to the operation.43 Maj. Gen. Mohammad Jawad, the commander of the 14th Iraqi Army Division, replaced
General Mohan as head of the Basra Operations Command; Maj. Gen. Adel Dahham was selected to head the Iraqi Police.44 Interestingly, Generals Mohan and Jallil were also relieved in late March when Maliki arrived in Basra and reinstated almost
From mid-April to mid-May, the QRF 1, along with its U.S. Marine MiTT advisors and elements of the 14th Iraqi Army Division, systematically moved through northwestern Basra. During this third phase of clearing, operations were conducted in al-Jumhuriyah, al-Huteen (in the Khamsa Meel neighborhood), al-Ma’qil, Khamsa Meel, al-Muthalth, Jamiat, Al-Markazi, and al-Abilah neighborhoods of northwest Basra.46 Despite the heavy fighting during the earliest operations of Knight’s Charge, clearing operations in the second half of April generally met with little resistance.47 The offensive also turned up a great deal of Iranian munitions.48 On April 28, Lt. General Mohan announced that in the three previous weeks, 324 wanted and suspected criminals were arrested, and “320 roadside bombs of different types and sizes, in addition to 1783 different guns, and huge quantities of ammunitions were all seized.”49
Perhaps emboldened by their successes and incensed by the extent of Iranian support for the militia groups in Basra, the Iraqi Security Forces began to accelerate their targeting of Sadrists in Basra in late April. Acting upon Maliki’s orders to reclaim all government property, Iraqi troops, backed by British forces, surrounded the main Sadrist office in Basra, which occupied a former Iraqi Olympic committee building.50 The government forces prevented them from holding Friday prayers and forced them to abandon the building the following day.51 Days later they destroyed the Sadrist prayer
ground attached to the property.52 On April 24, they launched a campaign to remove all partisan photos or slogans from public places—a direct affront to the Sadrist Trend.53 The same day, a prominent Sadrist and his brother were detained in central Basra by
the Iraqi Security Forces.54 One day later, on April25, a Sadrist security delegation was denied entry into Basra.55 In early May, Iraqi forces also targeted other Shi’a groups with suspected malign links. On May 3, they raided the Iraqi National Gathering party headquarters in Basra. Likewise, the next day they destroyed the prayer ground of the ISCI-linked Thar Allah party after the discovery of a large weapons cache in the building.56
By mid-May, clearing operations in Basra were largely complete. Earlier in the month, the QRF 1 moved into the al-Latif neighborhood on the northern bank of the Qarnar Ali river, and conducted house-to-house searches for wanted criminals and illegal weapons.57 “The clearing of al-Latif resulted in several cache discoveries, including dozens of automatic weapons, mortars and improvised explosive devices. The QRF 1 also detained several criminals, and raided and demolished the residence of a known IED maker and militia leader.”58
As militia elements fled north from Basra, towards their remaining strongholds in the northern Basra province and southern Maysan province, Iraqi Security Forcespursued these elements. On May 13, a new and fourth phase of the offensive began in these areas north of Basra, particularly in the city of al-Qurnah.59 Al-Qurnah is located roughly thirty-five miles north of the city, where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers join. It has long been a Sadrist stronghold and Special Groups hub for weapons distribution.60 Not surprisingly, operations in this area have been conducted by the QRF 1 along with a brigade of the 14th IAD.61 It is likely that upon completion of security operations in northern Basra province, the QRF 1 will continue to pursue militia extremists into Maysan province, the last major Sadrist stronghold in southern Iraq.62
Most of the 14th Iraqi Army Division units have remained in Basra, along with other elite Iraqi units and the Iraqi police, to hold the previously cleared areas. Additionally, the forces in the city have continued to target remaining criminal elements, with near-daily raids.63 Other Iraqi units have moved into southern areas of the province that lie along Iranian weapons trafficking routes. On May 25, Iraqi Army units entered the southwestern city of al-Zubayr to conduct security and humanitarian operations.64
Al-Zubayr was an important node on the JAM/Special Groups trafficking networks from Iran. Weapons, fighters, and financial facilitators would move through al-Zubayr on their way to or from Nasiriyah. Indeed, days before Iraqi Security Forces began to clear the town, ISOF captured a criminal financier, suspected of facilitating weapons smuggling across the Iran-Iraq border.65 On May 31, Iraqi forces also moved into the town of Abu al-Khasib, which lies along Highway 6, several miles from the Iranian border. Given this proximity, Abu al-Khasib is another important Special Groups smuggling hub. Hence, Iraqi soldiers and police, and their Coalition advisers, have begun their sweep of the area, with the aim of interdicting Iranian supply routes.66
As the security operations progressed, Iraqi Security Forces and the Government of Iraq
also stepped up their efforts to deliver food, water, services, and medical aid to residents.67 During the month of May, more than 79,000 Halal meals, 400,000 liters of water, and 5.5 tons of medical supplies were distributed in the neediest areas of Basra.68 Iraqi forces also led operations to provide medical support to the residents of the Tanumah, Qibla, and al-Hayyaniyah neighborhoods.69 In an effort to expand employment opportunities and speed reconstruction, roughly 3,000 local citizens were hired in mid-May to undertake clean-up efforts.70 In order to maintain the security gains, the Maliki government needed to increase the size of the Iraqi Security Forces in Basra. On April 1, 2008, after a shaky first week of fighting, the Iraqi Prime Minister announced plans to recruit an additional 10,000 new soldiers and police to secure the city.71 That same day, nearly 1,000 turned out for an Iraqi Army recruiting drive in Basra.72 As the clearing operations progressed throughout April and May, more residents became interested in joining the security forces. In late May, another Iraqi Army recruiting drive was held in the Hayyaniyah neighborhood; more than 3,000 turned out to apply for the 1,000 available spots.73
What is perhaps most significant, however, is that the need to expand the Iraqi government’s security presence in Basra has offered a window of opportunity for tribal movements in Basra. Maliki began to reach out to Shiite tribes shortly after is arrival in the city. He held a series of meetings with leaders from the powerful Bani Tamim tribe, as well as the Halaf and Subihawi tribes, to discuss the incorporation of their members into the ISF.74 Because the vetting process for joining the Iraqi Security Forces is lengthy, Maliki also moved to establish local security volunteer groups to employ the tribesmen until they are incorporated into the government’s forces. In the Tanumah neighborhood, located across from the city center on the eastern bank of the Shatt al-Arab, a government-sanctioned volunteer security force was created to patrol the area after the Iraqi Army left to clear another neighborhood. 760 volunteers, mainly from the Kanaan tribe, now patrol the neighborhood and the area along the Iranian border. Given the success of the Sons of Iraqi security volunteer movements in central and northern Iraq, the creation of similar groups in the south is an important security step.
The security gains during the Basra offensive have breathed new life into the city. With the militias at bay, many residents are venturing out for the first time in since the operations began. Shops and restaurants have reopened, many of them playing formerly-banned Arabic music. Basra’s Corniche, the city’s famous riverfront promenade, is crowded with residents, even late into the evening.76 Alcohol is again for sale in some shops, albeit discreetly.77 At Basra University, male and female students interact freely, and strict Islamic styles of dress are being replaced with more secular and even Western styles.78 Jaysh al-Mahdi checkpoints have been replaced by Iraqi Army and Police checkpoints.Basra’s residents are beginning to enjoy their newfound freedoms, uncertain of how long they will last.
1. “Secret deal kept British troops out of Basra- report,” Reuters, August 5, 2008.
2. Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt, and Stephen Farrell, “U.S. Cites Planning Gaps in Iraqi Assault on Basra,”The New York Times, April 3, 2008.
3. Kim Sengupta, “How Britain’s plan to pacify south was hijacked,” The Independent, March 27, 2008.
4. Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt, and Stephen Farrell, “U.S. Cites Planning Gaps in Iraqi Assault on Basra,” The New York Times, April 3, 2008.
5. “US advice unheeded in Basra campaign: Petraeus,” Agence France Presse, April 11, 2008.
6. Press Briefing with Major General Kevin Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesmen, Operational Update, April 2, 2008; Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt,
and Stephen Farrell, “U.S. Cites Planning Gaps in Iraqi Assault on Basra,” The New York Times, April 3, 2008.
7. Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt, and Stephen Farrell, “U.S. Cites Planning Gaps in Iraqi Assault on Basra,” The New York Times, April 3, 2008.
8. Karim Jamil, “Fierce fighting erupts in Iraq’s Basra city,” Agence France Presse, March 25, 2008.
9. Sholnn Freeman and Sudarsan Raghavan, “Iraqi Forces Battle Gunmen in Basra,” The Washington Post, March 25, 2008.
10. James Glanz and Alissa J. Rubin, “Iraqi Army Takes Last Basra Areas from Sadr Force,” The New York Times, April 20, 2008.
11. “Iraq extends militiamen deadline,” BBC News, March 28, 2008.
12. Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt, and Stephen Farrell,“U.S. Cites Planning Gaps in Iraqi Assault on Basra,” The New York Times, April 3, 2008.
13. Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt, and Stephen Farrell, “U.S. Cites Planning Gaps in Iraqi Assault on Basra,” The New York Times, April 3, 2008.
14. Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt, and Stephen Farrell, “U.S. Cites Planning Gaps in Iraqi Assault on Basra,” The New York Times, April 3, 2008.
15. Press Briefing with Major General Kevin Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesmen, Operational Update, March 26, 2007.
16. Stephen Farrell and Qais Mizher, “Iraq Fires 1,300 Security Force Members Who Quit Basra Fight,” The New York Times, April 14, 2008. Section A.
17. Bill Roggio, “A look at Operation Knight’s Assault,” The Long War Journal, April 4, 2008.
18. Press Briefing with Major General Kevin Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesmen, Operational Update, April 2, 2007.
19. Press Briefing with Major General Kevin Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesmen, Operational Update, April 2, 2007.
20. Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt, and Stephen Farrell, “U.S. Cites Planning Gaps in Iraqi Assault on Basra,” The New York Times, April 3, 2008.
21. Erica Goode and James Glanz, Cleric Suspends Battle in Basra by Shiite Militia,” The New York Times, March 31, 2008.
22. Leila Fadel, “Iranian general played key role in Iraq cease-fire,” McClatchy, March 30, 2008.
23. Leila Fadel, “Iranian general played key role in Iraq cease-fire,” McClatchy, March 30, 2008.
24. Erica Goode and James Glanz, Cleric Suspends Battle in Basra by Shiite Militia,” The New York Times,March 31, 2008.
25. Quick Reaction Force 1 clears Quibla of criminal militias,”1st Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Force Military Transition Team Public Affairs Office, Multi-National Force-West, April 22, 2008.
26. “1st Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Force lives up to its name,” 1st IA (QRF) MiTT PAO, April 22, 2008.
27. Multi-National Force-IraqPress Release A080405b, “Coalition forces conduct airstrike in Basra, one criminal killed,” April 5, 2008; Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080411-07, “UAV destroys mortarposition, kills 6,” Multi-National Division South East PAO, April 11, 2008.
28. Qassim Abdul-Zahra, “Iraqi commander leads convoy into Mahdi Army stronghold in Basra in show of force,” Associated Press Worldstream, April 2, 2008.
29. Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080404-5, ISF kill 7 criminal members, detain 16 in 3 separate operations in Basra,” Multi-National Corps – Iraq PAO, April 4, 2008; Multi-National Force-Iraq Release A080404a, “Coalition forces conduct airstrike in
al-Halaf, six criminals killed,” April 4, 2008; Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080408-03, ISF recover weapons cache, kill 10 in separate operations in Basra,” April 8, 2008.
30.Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080408-05, “Iraqi Army distributes food and water al-Hayyaniyah,” Multi-National Division South East PAO, April 8,
31. “1st Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Force lives up to its name,” 1st IA (QRF) MiTT PAO, April 22, 2008.
32.“1st Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Force lives up to its name,” 1st IA (QRF) MiTT PAO, April 22, 2008.
33. Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080417-03, “General talks economic boost with local leaders (al-Quibla),” Multi-National Division South East PAO, April 17, 2008.
34.“14 wanted arrested, weapons and ammunitions seized in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, April 14, 2008.
35. “Iraqi forces arrest wanted persons, seize weapons in Basra- spokesman,” Voices of Iraq, April 19, 2008.
36. Bushra Juhi, “Airstrike kills 4 in Basra, 2 die in Sadr City clashes,” The Associated Press, April 16, 2008; “5 gunmen killed, wounded in airstrike in Basra,” Voices
of Iraq, April 16, 2008; Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080416-08, “Coalition UAV engages RPG team, kills four criminals,” April 16, 2008.
37. “Basra intel. officer assassinated,” Voices of Iraq, April 14, 2008.
38.“Two senior army officers injured by bomb in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, April 8, 2008.
39. Stephen Farrell and Qais Mizher, “Iraq Fires 1,300 Security Force Members Who Quit Basra Fight,” The New York Times, April 14, 2008, Section A; Column 0; Foreign Desk; Pg. 6.
40.Tina Susman, “Iraqi soldiers on raid rescue kidnapped British journalist,” Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2008, Part A; Pg. 4.
41. Tina Susman, “Iraqi soldiers on raid rescue kidnapped British journalist,” Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2008, Part A; Pg. 4.
42. Alissa Rubin, “Two commanders in Basra are sent back to Baghdad,” The International Herald Tribune, April 17, 2008.
43. “Iraq removes top commanders in Basra,” MSNBC News Services, April 16, 2008.
44. Amit Paley, “Iraq’s Top Commanders in Basra are Reassigned,” The Washington Post, April 17, 2008, p.A20.
45. Qassim Abdul-Zahra, “Iraqi PM removes commanders in Basra amid deteriorating security,” Associated Press Worldstream, March 24, 2008;
46. “Quick Reaction Force 1 continues Basra success in al-Huteen,” 1st IA (QRF) MiTT Public Affairs Office, April 26, 2008; Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080426-01, “Quick Reaction Force 1 continues Basrah success in al-Huteen,” Multi-National Division-Southeast PAO, April 26, 2008; “Iraqi authorities lift anti-US cleric’s loyalist facility in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, April 24, 2008.
47. James Glanz and Alissa J. Rubin, “Iraqi Army Takes Last Basra Areas From Sadr Force,” The New York Times, April 20, 2008.
48. Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080421-05, “Iraqi Army soldiers discover large cache with Iranianmarked weapons during Operation Charge of the Knights,” Multi-National Division - Southeast PAO April 21, 2008; Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080421-06, “Iraqi Army discover weapons cache in vehicle,” Multi-National Division - Southeast PAO, April 21, 2008.
49. “Basra Operations Commander: 324 wanted, suspects arrested in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, April 30, 2008.
50.Noah Barkin, “Iraqi troops face off with Sadr followers,” Reuters, April 18, 2008.
51.“Building occupied by Sadr office in Basra evacuated,” Voices of Iraq, April 19, 2008.
52. “Iraqi authorities lift anti-US cleric’s loyalist facilitiy in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, April 24, 2008;
53.“Campaign to remove pictures, slogans from public places in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, April 24, 2008.
54. “Iraqi President, Ninawa Delegation Discuss Security; Other al-Sharqiyah Reports,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 24, 2008.
55. “Security forces prevent Sadrist delegation from entering Basra,” Voices of Iraq, April 26, 2008.
56.“’Thar Allah’ party’s Husseiniya detonated in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, May 5, 2008.
57. Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080504-11, “Iraqi QRF 1 clears al-Latif,” May 4, 2008.
58.Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080504-11, “Iraqi QRF 1 clears al-Latif,” May 4, 2008.
59. Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080513-03,“Operation Charge of Knights enters new phase in al Qurnah,” May 13, 2008.
60. Bill Roggio, “Iraqi Army interdicting Iranian operations in the South,” The Long War Journal, June 1, 2008.
61.“Combined forces conduct raid operations in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, May 14, 2008.
100 During his confirmation testimony on May 22, 2008, General Petraeus indicated that the QRF 1 would move into Maysan province, upon their completion of security perations in Basra province.
62. During his confirmation testimony on May 22, 2008, General Petraeus indicated that the QRF 1 would move into Maysan province, upon their completion of security operations in Basra province.
63. “ 17 arrested in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, May 13, 2008; “Security forces arrest 11 wanted suspects, seize weapons in Basra,”Voices of Iraq, May 14, 2008; “Security forces arrest 31 wanted persons, seize weapons in Basra,” Voices of Iraq, May 16, 2008.
64. Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080525-09,“Operation Charge of the nights continues operations in Az Zubayr,” Multi-National Division South East
PAO, May 25, 2008.
65. Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080523-07, “Iraqi Special Operations Forces capture wanted financier,” Multi-National Corps – Iraq PAO, May 23,2008.
66. Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 2008-0601-09, “Iraqi Security Forces lead Operation Charge of the Knights in Abu Al Khasib,” Multi-National Division South East PAO, June 1, 2008.
67. Royal Air Force Cpt. R. I. Cole and U.S. Army Pfc. Eric Glassey, Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080503-01, “Medical supply delivered to Basra hospital,” Multi-National Division South East PAO, May 3, 2008;Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release
No. 20080506-11,” Iraqi leaders cut ribbon on grand opening of Jameat Market Basrah),” Multi-National Division - South East PAO, May 6, 2008; Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A080507b, “Khor al-Zubair Tech Center rehabilitation completed,” May 7, 2008; Marine 1stLt. Brian Block 1st Iraqi Army Quick Reaction Force MiTT PAO, Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080512-07, “Basra comes back to life,” Multi-National Force – West PAO, May 12, 2008.
68. Capt. Penny N. Zamora, Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080521-19, “Basra is now new city of hope,” Multi-National Division South East PAO, May
69. Capt. Penny N. Zamora, Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080521-19, “Basra is now new city of hope,” Multi-National Division South East PAO, May 21, 2008; Press Briefing with Major General Kevin Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesmen,
Operational Update, May 14, 2008; Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080518-03, “Tannumah District residents receive medical assistance,” Multi-National Division South East PAO, May 18, 2008.
70. Press Briefing with Major General Kevin Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesmen, Operational Update, May 14, 2008.
71. SB/SRE, “Maliki to tighten security in Basra,” Press TV, April 1, 2008.
72. Bill Roggio, “Iraqi military continues operations in Basrah,” The Long War Journal, April 2, 2008.
73. Sgt. 1st Class C. J. Sheely, Multi-National Corps-Iraq Release No. 20080531-09, “Iraqi Army recruiting in Basra,” Multi-National Division - Southeast PAO, May 31, 2008 .
74. Stephen Farrell and James Glanz, “More than 1,000 in Iraq’s Forces Quit Basra Fight,” The New York Times, April 4, 2008; Tribe helps al-Maliki win control of south; Rowan Scarborough, “Sheiks counter Iraqi extremists,” The Washington Times, May 23, 2008.
75. Sudarsan Raghavan, “Basra’s Wary Rebirth,” The Washington Post, May 31, 2008; Ned Parker, “Iraq operation gives Basra a reprieve,” Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2008; Stephen Farrell and Ammar Karim, “Drive in Basra by Iraqi Army Makes Gains,” The New
York Times, May 12, 2008.
76. Stephen Farrell, “Divining a Lesson in Basra,” The New York Times, May 25, 2008.
79. Sudarsan Raghavan, “Basra’s Wary Rebirth,” The Washington Post, May 31, 2008; Ned Parker, “Iraq operation gives Basra a reprieve,” Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2008.