Operation Arrowhead Ripper is still ongoing in Diyala province, but it sounds like Baqubah is mostly free of Al Qaeda. AQ has been pushed out into the farmlands north of the city. A small Shiite village named Sherween in the north part of Diyala province was one place AQ tried to relocate to. The AP had a story on it yesterday. Unfortunately for their readers, they put a wrap on it way too early and have now gotten the story totally wrong. AQ tried to take over the village and no CF or IA had a presence there, so AQ probably figured they could just walk in and set up shop. The villagers were having nothing of it and grab guns and attempted to do what they could to defend their city. That's pretty much as far as the AP wanted to go with it and evidently left their readers with "Al Qaeda is winning" perception. Had the AP just watched the situation awhile longer they could have nailed the story which is, CF and IA together quickly assembled a force and went to the village. Air strikes were called in to knock down the 3 bridges leading out of the area, and they now have AQ trapped. What's going on there at the moment is the story. I'm thinking this will probably go the way "Donkey Island" went a couple of weeks ago. How many AQ killed versus captured may be different, but this is an act we've seen before. Keep an eye on whatever news sources you use for Sherween village or Iraqi's attacking Al Qaeda. I'll include the wrap up to the story in a later Iraq roundup as soon as it surfaces.
I'm not exactly sure on the spelling of the village name as it's a "pick one and go with it" deal with most of this stuff. I'm guessing the issue has to do with the translation from one language to another, but not sure.
Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail is all over it in his Iraq report. While you're there, if you have any spare change you could drop in his tip jar, he'd really appreciate it. He's a highly valued reporter for us and he's trying to expand his operation to get us even more news.
While we're at it, same deal with Michael Yon. Due to the conditions he has to deal with he's constantly breaking camera lens, cameras, computers, and other badly needed items.
Both of them are doing what they do out of their own pockets. Well, pockets and tip jars.
* UPDATE *
I guess it was probably out there when I posted this, but it went "Donkey Island" alright. A joint US and Iraq task force working side by side with the villagers. 20 AQI killed and 20 AQI detained. 2 weapons caches and 12 improvised explosive devices discovered.