Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice.
Sunday, 9 October 2005.
Iraqi puppet army spokesman: US Operation "River Gate" was "colossal failure" cancelled due to heavy US losses that have not been made public.
Colonel Ahmad Salman, the spokesman for the Iraqi puppet army in al-Anbar province disclosed that the recent American "river gate" offensive mounted along the upper Euphrates valley in the west of al-Anbar had been a colossal failure that succeeded in attaining nothing significant but had to be called off after three days due to heavy American loses.
Colonal Salman told the correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam that the "river gate" offensive had succeeded in eliminating only 5 percent of the Iraqi Resistance's strength in the area.
The colonel added that the operation was cancelled three days after it began on orders from top experts in the Pentagon because the American forces were suffering heavy losses that were not disclosed to the media. The blame for the failure of the operation, Colonel Salman said, rested with officials in the US-installed Iraqi "government" who announced that the operation was going to be launched weeks before it began, allowing the Resistance plenty of time to prepare ambushes, booby-trapped cars, and bombs, and gave them a chance to move most of their arsenal out of the area where the American operation was to take place.
Asked about the extent of US or Iraqi puppet army losses in the offensive, Colonel Salman replied that as regarded the Iraqi puppet army, casualties were "three times the losses sustained in Tall 'Afar." As to the American Marine casualties, he indicated that he had no precise figures on American losses, but said that he knew that 17 high-ranking Marine officers and specialists were killed in the course of the "river gate" and "iron fist" offensives as a result of Resistance rocket barrages, car bombings, and ambushes.
The spokesman for the Iraqi puppet army noted that the operations had been halted so that the US and Iraqi puppet forces could regroup and organize a new offensive according to a carefully laid-out plan that would be carried out in the foreseeable future. Colonel Salman expressed doubts that the expected new offensive would be successful either, however, now that the US and Iraqi puppet forces had lost the element of surprise and because they had very little intelligence about the Resistance due to the fact that the residents of al-Anbar Province refused to cooperate with US and Iraqi regime forces.